Like many Phillies games this season, the series finale with the San Francisco Giants at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night was like two different games in one. Ultimately, the Phillies break a five-game losing streak with a 6-5 victory.
For five innings nothing much happened except Aaron Nola looked like he was continuing the form he showed in his last start. Nola pitched into the ninth inning against the world champion Atlanta Braves, which also happened to be the last game the Phillies won. The Phils had dropped five in a row, including three straight in extra innings going into the contest. Nola allowed just one hit, and his teammates scratched out two runs in the first five frames.
To the Action
Three consecutive singles scored Bryson Stott in the third. Two of the three hits were by left-hand hitters (Stott and Kyle Schwarber). This season, lefties were just 2-for-28 with 14 strikeouts against the Giants’ starting pitcher Carlos Rodón. For this game, four of the six hits he allowed were by southpaws.
In the fourth, Odúbel Herrera scored an improbable second run, with one out. He walked and would’ve been picked off, but Wilmer Flores threw the ball away and Herrera scampered to third. When Johan Camargo rolled one to third, Herrera broke for home but scurried back to third to avoid being out at the plate. This all set up a safety squeeze when Nick Maton. Maton was just recalled from Lehigh Valley to replace Jean Segura (out 10 to 12 weeks with a broken finger). Nick dropped down a bunt and Herrera was safe at home.
In the sixth, is when game two started. Nola, who had retired 15 in a row, allowed five straight hitters to reach. Back-to-back doubles by Donovan Walton and Jason Vosier allowed one run to score, and a bloop single to left by Tommy La Stella tied the score. With two strikes on him, Nola hit Mike Yastrzemski then Flores broke the tie with a three-run home run to left. It was his second long ball of the series and seventh round-tripper at CBP in 124 career at-bats.
“I am surprised,” said manager Joe Girardi when asked if he was shocked at how quickly things came apart for Nola. “His stuff was really good up to that point. His pitch count when that inning started was 58, so it wasn’t fatigue, it just got away from him.”
“I made some bad two-strike pitches,” said Nola, who is now 3-4 with a 3.91 ERA. “They got me down the left field and right field line [for the doubles] and just hung that curveball to Flores.”
In the Phillies’ sixth, Herrera beat out an infield chop then with one out, Maton proved he could hit the ball far as well. He deposited reliever Jarlin Garcia’s offering into the first row of seats in right field to make it 5-4. Stott got the second infield hit of the inning when Walton couldn’t handle his line drive to second. Next up, Schwarber was sitting on a three-oh green light and crushed a fastball that was right down the middle of the plate for the second two-run homer of the inning and more importantly a 6-5 lead.
“I had the green light the other day,” said Schwarber, “and I took it. That’s all I could think about was, if it’s there, I’m not taking. It was nice to get that out, get a couple of points on the board, take the lead and here we are with the win.”
The bullpen effort consisting of Christopher Sánchez, Brad Hand, and Corey Knebel was nine up, nine down. Phillies break a five-game losing streak.
Thursday is an off day for the Phillies, their first since May 16th. They’ve played 16 games in that span. Bryce Harper was a late scratch from the lineup with “right forearm soreness.” Girardi said the team doesn’t think it’s serious. Segura will need surgery on his right index finger which he broke in the seventh inning of Tuesday night’s game. Sánchez was also called up and to make room for him Roman Quinn was designated for assignment. The Los Angeles Angels are in town starting Friday for a three-game series. It will be Millville, NJ native Mike Trout’s first appearance at CBP since 2014.
Rock Hoffman has been covering sports in the Philadelphia region for over 30 years. He’s been the co-host of a radio show – SportsPage – on the Delaware Valley Radio Network (WRDV.org) in the time. He’s reported on games involving all the Philadelphia teams at the profession and collegiate levels. During his career he’s provided coverage for a Super Bowl, an All-Star Game, NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament games as well NFL, MLB and NHL playoff games. Additionally, he’s the College Football Editor for Football Stories Magazine (FootballStories.com).