ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies have put together an impressive early-season run.
Aaron Altherr hit a three-run homer, Scott Kingery had a three-run double and the Phillies won their sixth in a row, topping the Tampa Bay Rays 10-4 Sunday.
“We’re rolling right now and having fun with it,” Kingery said. “I think one of the big things is everyone is positive out there no matter if we’re down a couple runs or up a couple runs.”
Kingery’s two-out drive off the center field wall capped a four-run burst in the third inning that put Philadelphia ahead 4-2. The rookie has 12 RBIs over his last eight games.
Philadelphia took a commanding 10-3 advantage during a five-run eighth when Maikel Franco hit a two-run single and Altherr homered off Andrew Kittredge.
Altherr went 1 for 5 and raised his average to .083 (3 for 36) with his second homer.
“I think it’s the start of something good,” Altherr said.
Altherr took away a two-run hit from Denard Span with a diving catch in right to end the sixth with the Phillies leading 5-3.
“Even if he didn’t get the big hit, the play in right field was tremendous,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “The read, the break, the laying out and the positioning were all spot on.”
Reliever Yacksel Rios (2-0) went 1 1/3 scoreless innings as the Phillies swept a series of at least three games from an AL East team for the first time since June 2003 at Baltimore.
Span homered and had two RBIs for the Rays, who have lost six straight at home.
Span hit a leadoff homer during a two-run first and walked with the bases loaded in the eighth.
Tampa Bay Gold Glove center fielder Kevin Kiermaier left after one inning with a sprained right thumb, which happened while sliding into second base, and appears headed to the disabled list.
“I don’t want to get too far ahead of it, but he’s going to be out,” Rays manager Kevin Cash said. “There’s a chance he’s going to miss a chunk.”
Kiermaier will have an MRI exam Monday.
“I don’t think the odds are in my favor, to be quite honest,” Kiermaier said.
Phillies starter Ben Lively lasted just four innings, allowing three runs and seven hits.
Ryan Yarbrough (0-1), making the start on the Rays’ fifth bullpen game this season, gave up five runs, three hits, two walks and hit a batter in 4 2/3 innings.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (strained right lat) has resumed throwing off a mound and could be back next month.
Rays: Cash said RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right elbow surgery) may return in late May. … 1B Brad Miller (strained left groin) is expected to start a minor league rehab assignment this week.
Negro Leagues players Dennis Biddle and James Cobbin took part in a pregame ceremony honoring Jackie Robinson on the 71st anniversary of the Hall of Famer breaking baseball’s color barrier. Biddle joined the Chicago American Giants at the age of 17 in 1953.
BAD WEATHER, NO PROBLEM
With a half-dozen games postponed around the majors Sunday, there were no issues inside the domed Tropicana Field even as severe weather prompted a tornado warning for the ballpark area during the middle innings. There was an announcement made at the stadium that local police and fire officials were monitoring the situation.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (1-0) and Braves RHP Mike Foltynewicz (1-1) are the starters Monday night at Atlanta in the first of three games between the teams. Philadelphia is seeking its first seven-game winning streak since September 2012.
Rays: LHP Blake Snell (1-1) will start at home against Texas LHP Martin Perez (1-1) in the opener of a three-game set Monday night.