Phillies 5, Padres 3, 10 innings
SAN DIEGO (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies are suddenly starting to feel at home on the road.
After losing six of the first seven games on a season-high 13-game road trip, the Phillies rebounded with a three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres.
“To come in here and win three against a good team is big,” Bell said. “It’s been a little tougher than any of us anticipated.”
With two outs and the bases loaded, Bell singled to right field in front of a diving Brian Giles to score Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco. The Phillies’ third straight win over the Padres kept them 4 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East.
Philadelphia won three straight games for the first time since July 3-5.
“Baseball’s a funny game,” Phillies manager Larry Bowa said. “There are some teams you play good or you get a break here or there, and there are other teams you can’t catch a break.”
In the 10th, Rollins reached on a one-out infield single off Hoffman (2-2) and Polanco followed with a ground-rule double that hit the warning track in left-center field and bounced into the stands. Hoffman intentionally walked Bobby Abreu to load the bases and then struck out Jim Thome.
Bell then came up and hit a 2-0 fastball off Hoffman to give the Phillies the lead.
“He’s such a great pitcher,” Bell said. “Any time you get a win when he’s in there, it’s a big win.”
The loss dropped San Diego to a season-high 6 1/2 games behind Los Angeles in the NL West.
“We’re being tested right now,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll find out what we’re made of.”
The Padres had a chance to go ahead in the eighth when they loaded the bases against Todd Jones. But after Giles’ one-out walk, a two-out double by Ryan Klesko and an intentional walk to Terrance Long, Jones struck out Ramon Hernandez to end the inning.
Akinori Otsuka worked out of a jam in the eighth that started when Rollins reached on an infield single. After a passed ball and a sacrifice bunt, Otsuka intentionally walked Abreu and then struck out Thome and Bell to end the inning.
Phillies starter Kevin Millwood left after two innings with inflammation in his right elbow. He allowed two runs on four hits with three strikeouts and one walk.
“It was a little sore in the pen,” Millwood said. “Once the game started, it got worse and worse. I’ve never been through this with my elbow, so it’s kind of new to me.”
The Padres received a solid start from Sterling Hitchcock, who made his first appearance in more than 10 months. Hitchcock has been sidelined with rib and groin injuries since spring training, when San Diego penciled in its former playoff star as the No. 5 starter.
The left-hander allowed three runs on four hits in six innings. Hitchcock, the 1998 NLCS MVP when the Padres advanced to the World Series, was on pitch count and left after throwing 83 pitches.
“The hair on the back of my neck was standing up the first inning going out there,” Hitchcock said.
Hitchcock was making his first start since last Sept. 27, when he pitched at Arizona as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Giles gave San Diego a 3-2 lead in the fifth with a sacrifice fly, but the Phillies tied it in the next inning on Polanco’s leadoff homer off Hitchcock.
Mark Loretta and Giles hit consecutive one-out doubles in the first, and after a walk to Phil Nevin, Long hit an RBI single with two outs to put San Diego ahead 2-0. The damage could’ve been worse, but Marlon Byrd made a diving catch on a liner by Hernandez to end the inning.
Long singled in his first two at-bats, making it five consecutive singles dating to Wednesday night when he singled in his final three at-bats.
Byrd made another outstanding catch on Khalil Greene’s leadoff fly ball in the second to right center-field that he had a long way to run before making a basket catch in the deepest part of the ballpark.
Hitchcock last pitched for the Padres in 2001 after he underwent Tommy John surgery on his left elbow on June 6, 2000. Hitchcock came back to start three games before he was traded to the New York Yankees on July 31, 2001. … The Phillies won the season series for the second straight season, 5-1. It’s the first time Philadelphia has won consecutive season series from San Diego since 1990-91.