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Phillies, new star Johan Rojas look to take series from Padres


Johan Rojas had quite a memorable debut for the Philadelphia Phillies

Rojas was called up from Double-A Reading and contributed an outfield assist, three hits, two RBIs and a number of stellar defensive plays in center field as the Phillies swept a doubleheader from the San Diego Padres on Saturday

The Phillies will now look for their third straight victory when they host the Padres in the finale of a four-game series on Sunday

“It’s really hard to describe it,” Rojas said on a postgame interview on NBC10. “All I can tell you is my family enjoyed it as much as I did.”

“He gets great jumps on the ball,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson added

Kyle Schwarber homered and drove in three runs and Bryce Harper hit a solo home run and double in the 9-4 victory in the nightcap. The Phillies won 6-4 in the opener

Harper’s blast to center field in the fourth inning was only his fourth of the season and his first since May 25. That was a span of 166 plate appearances.

Harper returned extremely early from Tommy John surgery in November and could even be playing first base in the next series against the Milwaukee Brewers.

“Everyone was rooting for him,” Thomson said. “They knew he wanted to hit one. It’s been a while.”

“I don’t go out there to hit homers,” Harper added. “I just want to hit the ball hard.”

The Phillies will hand the ball Sunday to right-hander Zack Wheeler (7-4, 4.05 ERA)

In Wheeler’s last start before the All-Star break, he allowed seven hits and three runs in six innings against the Miami Marlins. Wheeler is 3-1 with a 2.06 ERA in seven career starts against the Padres

Following a three-game winning streak, the Padres will now aim to avoid a three-game skid on Sunday

The Padres managed six hits, two by Juan Soto, and went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position with six left on base in the nightcap

“This was a miserable day,” Padres manager Bob Melvin said

Fernando Tatis Jr. suffered a twisted ankle on the warning track and is considered day-to-day, according to Melvin. In addition, left-hander Adrian Morejon injured his right knee trying to field a bunt by Rojas. His status for Sunday is unclear.

Manny Machado and Soto looked to be struggling a bit physically, though Melvin didn’t mention them specifically.

“We’re a little banged up across the board,’ Melvin said. “We have some guys playing hurt.”

“Tomorrow is a must win for us,” added Machado, who did hit his 300th career home run in the first game Saturday. “We have to go 110 percent.”

Right Seth Lugo (3-4, 3.39) is scheduled to start Sunday for the Padres

In Lugo’s last start, July 5 against the Los Angeles Angels, he gave up five hits and two runs — one earned — in six innings.

Lugo is 3-2 with a 4.19 ERA in 33 career games with five starts against the Phillies

It would be beneficial for Lugo to pitch deep in the game since the San Diego bullpen gave up 10 earned runs over 6 1/3 innings in the doubleheader sweep.

“We’ve gone through a tough stretch,” Melvin said. “It wasn’t just today with our bullpen here for the last couple weeks, so unfortunate.”

–Field Level Media


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