After a string of dominant pitching performances, it was the offense’s turn to flex its muscle.
Philadelphia’s J.P. Crawford keyed a six-run second inning in a 9-4 rout of Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field on Saturday. It was the fifth straight victory and seventh win in the last eight games for the Phillies.
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“We are all playing good baseball right now,” Crawford said. “It’s been great.”
Crawford finished the day 2-for-3 with a home run, a double, two RBIs, two runs and a walk. Over his current four-game hitting streak, Crawford is batting .385 (5-for-13).
Every Philadelphia starter — with the exception of Maikel Franco, who scored a run and drove in another on a sac fly — had at least one hit on Saturday.
The Phillies’ offense exploded in the top of the second against Rays ace Chris Archer. Nick Williams led off with a towering double off the wall in center. Scott Kingery followed that up with a double of his own — a hot shot down the third-base line just out of reach of Matt Duffy. After a walk to Franco on five pitches, Crawford lined a double just inside the right-field foul line to plate Kingery. Cesar Hernandez followed that with a single to left. Carlos Santana singled to right. Odubel Herrera singled to center.
Rhys Hoskins nearly made it four straight singles but Rays first baseman C.J. Cron made a nifty diving stop and throw to get the forceout at second. Hoskins, however, beat out the relay throw for the double play, allowing Santana to come in to score and give the Phillies an early 6-0 lead.
“I think it’s difficult to square a guy like Archer up consistently, any time, let alone have it all come in one big inning,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “Up and down the lineup, we had contributions and a lot of loud contact.”
The Phillies’ offense wasn’t done. Hoskins and Williams led off the fifth with consecutive singles to set the table for an RBI double by Kingery and a sacrifice fly by Franco. Kingery finished the day 2-for-5 with two RBI doubles. His six doubles this season is tops in the Major Leagues among rookies.
The outpouring of run support made it easy for starter Jake Arrieta to pick up his first win of the season. Arrieta, making just his second start after signing with Philadelphia late in Spring Training, tossed 6 2/3 solid innings, allowing two earned runs while scattering seven hits. He walked two and struck out one.
“He was an absolute animal out there today,” Kapler said. “Awesome job.”
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
After launching his second home run of the season in the top half of the fourth inning, Crawford showed off his skills with the glove in the bottom of the frame. The slick-fielding shortstop timed a full-extension leap to snag a line drive off the bat of Carlos Gomez to take away a hit and quell a Rays rally.
HE SAID IT
“We’re rolling right now. We’re clicking right now. Everybody’s upbeat and having a blast and that is exactly what I want to see moving forward.” — Arrieta, on the team’s attitude
The Phillies will wrap up their once-a-decade stop at the Trop with a 1:10 p.m. ET matinee against the Rays on Sunday. Right-hander Ben Lively (0-1, 5.56) will take the mound for the finale. Lively will try to bounce back from a shaky outing in which he gave up nine hits to the Reds. The Rays will counter with a scheduled “bullpen day” led by Ryan Yarbrough. All players will don No. 42 jerseys in honor of Jackie Robinson Day.
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