Howard the Hero as Phillies Walk Off Against Indians; Phillies 4, Indians 3

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard played the hero once again as his eleventh inning leadoff homer off of Indians closer Cody Allen sent Philadelphia fans home a winner in a 4-3 victory over Cleveland on Friday night.

Howard sat back on the 3-2 pitch from the Indians usually reliable reliever, pitching in his second inning out of the bullpen after entering in a bases-loaded, one-out situation the inning before. With little leg lift at all, Howard deposited the win into the seats in right with the sixth career walk-off homer for the longtime Philadelphia first baseman. Howard had his first three-hit game of the season (and just second multi-hit game of 2016) and scored two of the Phillies’ four runs.

It was a well pitched contest between Philadelphia left-hander Adam Morgan and Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, as both pitchers suffered just one bad inning on the mound before handing the game over to their respective bullpens.

After leaving a runner on base in the first and two in the second, the Indians touched up the scoreboard in the top of the fifth with an unexpected contribution at the plate. After a groundout from Marlon Byrd and fly out from Juan Uribe, Kluber lined a double down the left field line off of his counterpart Morgan. He would score on a single to center from Rajai Davis to put the Indians on the board. Jason Kipnis, after falling behind 0-2, took a ball before placing the next pitch into the seats in right to give Cleveland a three-run lead.

Philadelphia quickly evened the score in the fifth after a leadoff double from Howard to start the inning off Kluber. Carlos Ruiz doubled to the wall in right to score Howard to cut the lead to two. Cesar Hernandez reached safely on an error charged to Mike Napoli at first that skipped off of his wrist and landed near second base, putting runners on the corners. David Lough got ahead in the count and singled to right to score Ruiz as Hernandez pulled in to third. Darin Ruf pinch-hit for the pitcher Morgan and grounded into a double play, but the tying run crossed the plate and it was a new ball game again.

The Phillies gave the Indians a scare in the bottom of the tenth against Indians reliever Jeff Manship. Akron native Lough singled to left but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice from Andres Blanco. Peter Bourjos lined a double off of the end of the glove of third baseman Jose Ramirez to put the winning run 90 feet away. Odubel Herrera was intentionally walked to load the bases and manager Terry Francona went to his closer Allen to get two outs. Allen struck out Freddy Galvis after seven straight strikes. Maikel Franco then grounded up the middle to Lindor, who made the flip to second to Kipnis for the force to get out of a potential game-ending situation.

“Cody came in and did such a good job to get out of that and give us another chance,” said Francona in the postgame interview. “He left a pitch, caught too much of the plate to Howard. That’s not the first time he’s done that.”

The Phillies (13-10) have now won four straight games, adding Friday’s walk-off victory to their three-game sweep in Washington over the Nationals. The Indians (10-10) have now dropped three games on their nine-game road trip in walk-off fashion and twice with the walk-off homer. After starting their road trip with a three-game sweep in Detroit, they fall to 4-3 with Friday’s defeat.

Kluber - AP Photo/Derik Hamilton
Kluber – AP Photo/Derik Hamilton


Kluber gave the Indians seven innings on the mound, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits on the night. He struck out six and made 90 pitches, 61 for strikes. All three runs allowed happened in the immediate half inning after the Indians staked Kluber to a 3-0 lead.


Kluber doubled in the fifth to start the rally, his second career hit, and later came around to score the first run of the night.

“It’s not that they’re not in good shape, because he’s in great shape. But It’s something they’re not used to,” said Francona when asked if Kluber’s time on the bases may have affected him on the mound in the next half inning. “He usually sits there and gathers himself. He was certainly a base runner. He’s the go-ahead run. You don’t see a guy slide like that often. It’s different.”

It was the first extra base hit by an Indians pitcher since CC Sabathia homered in an interleague game at Chavez Ravine against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 21, 2008. That homer came in his first at bat of the season and was the second of his career. He would hit another homer later in the season after his trade to the Milwaukee Brewers.


Davis extended his hitting streak to ten games with his single in the fifth.


All six Indians hits on the night came with two outs in the inning.


Napoli struck out four times in his five at bats in the game, earning him his second golden sombrero in the last eight days. Yan Gomes added three strikeouts of his own in four trips.


Philadelphia pitching struck out 18 Cleveland batters on the night.

Morgan - AP Photo/Derik Hamilton
Morgan – AP Photo/Derik Hamilton


The 26-year-old left-hander Morgan ran out of pitches in his season debut, but lasted five innings for the Phillies on Friday night. He allowed three runs, all during the quick fifth inning rally, on five hits, walked one, and struck out seven.

“Enough on his fastball, good changeup, and some breaking balls. Pretty good. He pitched a pretty good game for them,” said Francona about Morgan’s debut. “Other than the one inning really on both teams, there wasn’t a lot going on.”


With their three-run fifth, the Indians ended a scoreless string of pitching from the Phillies at 26 2/3 innings.


Phillies relievers struck out the Indians in order twice on the night. Andrew Bailey did it in his first inning of relief in the sixth inning, looking like the Bailey of old. David Hernandez replicated the feat in the tenth inning. In addition to that, Hector Neris struck out three of the four batters that he faced and retired.


The Indians activated right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Columbus. Lefty Ross Detwiler was designated for assignment to make room on the 25-man roster for Hunter.

The Phillies recalled Morgan from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and optioned pitcher Luis Garcia back to the IronPigs.


The Indians and Phillies will resume their series on Saturday night at 7:05 PM from Citizens Bank Park. Trevor Bauer (1-0, 4.76 ERA) will make his first start of the season for the Indians, filling the spot in the rotation for the injured Carlos Carrasco. Jerad Eickhoff (1-3, 4.07) will counter for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.

Photo: AP Photo/Derik Hamilton

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