Baseball / Sports

Philadelphia Phillies' Jonathan Papelbon pitches against the Seattle Mariners on Monday, Aug. 18, 2014, at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia. (Ron Cortes/Philadelphia Inquirer/MCT)

Jerome Williams sharp in start, Phillies beat Mariners, 4-1

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Jerome Williams understood he was running out of chances, so he decided to put his trust in his new catcher.

Following the lead of Carlos Ruiz has made a major difference for Williams, who made his second straight strong start Monday since the Phillies claimed him on waivers from the Texas Rangers on Aug. 10.

Williams allowed one run on three hits in seven-plus innings of a 4-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners at Citizens Bank Park.

In his debut with the Phillies last Tuesday, Williams allowed two earned runs in 5 1/3 innings and didn't earn a decision in a 7-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

The 32-year-old Williams began the season with Houston and had a 6.23 ERA in 26 relief appearances. He was released July 10, picked up by Texas, and had a 9.90 ERA in two starts.

When asked the reason for his early success with the Phillies, Williams had a one-word answer: "Chooch."

That, of course, is Ruiz's nickname. Ruiz is known for his ability to handle a pitching staff and he has a major convert in Williams.

"Working with Chooch, it's the first time I am doing things I never did before this year," Williams said. "He has confidence in me to do it and I have confidence to go out there."

So what is the new game plan?

"Obviously, my game plan wasn't working earlier in the year and that is why I am on my third team," Williams said. "So we are just using the same weapons I have but moving the ball anywhere and everywhere."

That has proven successful

"I never really did that earlier this year, and now it's working so I am going to stay with it," Williams said.

Williams was candid in admitting that listening to his catcher was much better than listening to himself

"I was hoping I could have turned it around earlier, but obviously I was hardheaded and didn't do that," he said. "I think right now with Chooch behind the plate I am not shaking him off at all. I am trusting him."

With Jimmy Rollins getting the night off, Ruiz batted second and walked his first three times. He scored the first run on Marlon Byrd's third-inning double.

Andres Blanco, who started for Rollins at shortstop, hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning off reliever Dominic Leone to extend the Phillies' lead to 4-0.

The 30-year-old Blanco is known more his glove and is certainly not noted for his clout. This was only his fourth career home run. It was his first since July 1, 2011, when he was with the Texas Rangers.

Blanco missed all of last year while recovering from shoulder surgery. A switch-hitter, he began this season at triple-A Lehigh Valley and was recalled by the Phillies on June 29.

He has played sparingly but provides the defensive versatility that manager Ryne Sandberg is seeking. This season he has played second base, shortstop and third base for the Phillies.

"I have now recovered 100 percent and came back in the big leagues and I feel proud of the job I am doing and am thankful to the organization" Blanco said.

Williams is also grateful for his chance.

He was lifted after he hit Chris Taylor with a pitch to open the eighth inning. There was a little suspense in the inning, but with runners on second and third, Ken Giles ended matters with consecutive strikeouts of Robinson Cano and Kendrys Morales.

Jonathan Papelbon earned his 29th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

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