PHILADELPHIA — Nick Williams is sticking to his same, aggressive approach at the plate, no matter how pitchers are pitching to him.
With the way things have been going, why not?
Williams homered and had three more RBIs, Jerad Eickhoff pitched six strong innings and Howie Kendrick continued to increase his trade value with two hits and two RBIs as the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Sunday.
Williams has shined since his call-up on June 30. He hit a two-run, opposite-field homer in the fourth inning, his fourth of the season, to break a scoreless tie, and drove in another run during a four-run fifth that broke open the game.
“It’s the way I’m being pitched right now,” Williams said. “They keep trying to sneak balls away and I just said, ‘Well, I’m just going with that approach and . stick to my plan and have success.'”
Williams is hitting .309 with 15 RBIs in just 75 plate appearances this month. Ten of his 21 hits have been for extra bases.
“He’s aggressive and I like him,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. “He’s swinging the bat. He swings at some bad pitches but he doesn’t miss mistakes. That’s what makes him a productive hitter. so far.”
Kendrick had the big hit in the fifth to break a 2-all tie with a two-run single. He increased his batting average to .353, which will be especially attractive to contenders as the trade deadline approaches next Monday.
“If I were scouting for another organization I’d recommend (Kendrick),” said Mackanin. “I’d put in an inquiry. Not only is a good hitter, but he plays solid defense out there.”
Eickhoff (2-7) limited Milwaukee to three hits in six innings. He allowed two runs in the fifth on a bloop single by Jonathan Villar following back-to-back walks.
“That’s the kind of fastball command I want to have every time out,” Eickhoff said. “When I was missing I was just missing and was able to adjust and throw it back in the zone or out of the zone. It’s huge to have that to set up my curveball and slider as well.”
Eickhoff struck out six and chipped in with a pair of hits.
Luis Garcia pitched a perfect ninth for his first save of the season. Mackanin said regular closer Hector Neris was available but that he wanted to give Garcia a look.
The Phillies took the weekend series and have won consecutive series for the first time since late April.
They did most of their damage against Milwaukee starter Junior Guerra (1-4), who left the game in the fifth without recording an out. He was charged with five earned runs and allowed five hits and three walks.
“There were a bunch of 2-0 counts,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell. “By the time he left the game, it was pretty close with balls and strikes — almost 50-50. We have to have more strikes. It’s tough to pitch 2-0 or behind in the count. It’s going to cause you problems.”
The Phillies have scored five or more runs in seven straight games for the first time in a single season since 2005. Philadelphia also has homered in a season-best six consecutive home games.
Ryan Braun drove in the other Milwaukee run with a double in the eighth. He has a .397 lifetime batting average at Citizens Bank Park.
Milwaukee has lost seven of eight and its comfortable lead in the NL Central. The Chicago Cubs forced a virtual tie atop the division with a win Sunday night, the first time the Brewers hadn’t led the Central outright since June 6.
“We have to keep a strong mindset,” Guerra said through a translator. “When things go bad you can’t get down on yourself. You have to keep your head up, stay positive, work hard and hope things turn around.”
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta was reinstated from the 10-day disabled list. Peralta, who began the season in the Milwaukee rotation, was moved to the bullpen after struggling as a starter with a 6.08 ERA through his first 40 innings. Things didn’t get any better working in relief, as he allowed 16 runs and 11 walks in 13 2/3 innings. To make room in the bullpen, the Brewers designated RHP Rob Scahill for assignment.
Phillies: OF Aaron Altherr was originally expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a hamstring strain, but his recovery has been quick and now is expected back this week. Mackanin said likely Wednesday or Thursday.
Brewers: Following an off day Monday, RHP Zach Davies (11-4, 4.76) will pitch the opener of a three-game series in Washington. Davies is tied for second in the National League and fourth in the majors in wins.
Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (2-5, 5.14) will make his second start since returning from the disabled list when the Phillies welcome Houston to town for a three-game series beginning Monday.