Altherr, Kingery, Phillies win 6th in row

Sweep AL East team for first time since 2003

The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) - - SPORTS - By Mark Didtler

ST. PETERS­BURG, FLA. » The Philadel­phia Phillies have put to­gether an im­pres­sive early-sea­son run.

Aaron Altherr hit a three­run 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 tworun 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 (20) 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.

TRAINER’S ROOM

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.

REMEMBERING JACKIE

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.

CHRIS O’MEARA — THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Philadel­phia Phillies right fielder Aaron Altherr, right, high-fives sec­ond base­man Scott Kingery af­ter they de­feated the Tampa Bay Rays in a base­ball game Sun­day in St. Peters­burg, Fla.

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