After failing to even score in Ryne Sandberg’s first two games at the helm, the Philadelphia Phillies finally delivered their interim manager his first big league win.
They will try to make it two in a row for the first time in a month when they open a four-game set against the visiting Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Philadelphia (54-69) was shut out by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday and Saturday before taking Sunday’s finale 3-2 in walkoff fashion. After reaching on Hanley Ramirez’s throwing error in the ninth inning, Casper Wells scored the winning run when Ramirez bobbled a potential double-play grounder hit by Michael Young.
“We’ll take it right now and hopefully build from that,” said Sandberg, who took over after Charlie Manuel was fired Friday. “Hopefully it will give us momentum for the rest of the homestand.”
Carlos Ruiz collected a season-high four hits and Darin Ruf added his sixth homer in 15 games for Philadelphia, which hasn’t posted back-to-back victories since a three-game winning streak around the All-Star break from July 13-19.
“It’s nice to get a win, in general,” said Ruf, whose team improved to just 5-21 since July 20 - the worst record in baseball over that stretch. “Hopefully we can get rolling and get (Sandberg) a few more as well.”
With baseball’s hottest team leaving town, the Phillies now turn their attention to the Rockies (58-67), whom they have outscored 114-60 during a 16-3 run at home, excluding playoffs.
Philadelphia has won 28 of 36 regular-season meetings between the teams despite Colorado taking two of three at home in June.
The Rockies have been outscored 80-35 in losing 11 of 13 on the road and gone 7 for 50 with runners in scoring position their last eight games there. Colorado went 1 for 9 in such situations Sunday in a 7-2 loss at Baltimore.
“Yeah, pretty much what it usually comes down to when you don’t score enough runs,” first baseman Todd Helton said.
The Rockies now turn to Jeff Manship (0-2, 7.20), who has dropped both his starts since getting called up Aug. 8. After yielding two runs in five innings in a 2-1 road loss to the New York Mets, Manship was tagged for a career-high six runs in five innings Tuesday in a 7-5 defeat to San Diego.
“I’m telling myself out there, ‘you’re flying open,’ but I’m just not making the adjustment. That’s probably the most frustrating thing,” he told MLB’s official website. “Plain and simple, I wasn’t executing anything. All I can take out of this outing that was positive was I was able to get to the fifth and save the bullpen.”
Manship, who spent the first four years of his career with Minnesota before signing a minor league deal with Colorado this offseason, is 1-3 with a 6.08 ERA in eight starts. He has surrendered four runs in two relief appearances spanning 7 1-3 innings versus Philadelphia.
The Phillies give the ball to Ethan Martin (1-2, 6.28 ERA) for his fourth start since getting called up Aug. 2. The right-hander allowed three runs and six hits - including a two-run homer - in five innings Tuesday in a 3-1 loss at Atlanta.
“I’m just trying to leave a good impression,” said the 24-year-old Martin, who is filling in for injured starter Jonathan Pettibone. “Of course I want to be here and do good. Whatever they have planned, I just want to leave a good impression with them.”