Who said the Phillies can’t beat first-place teams?

Who said the Philadelphia Phillies can’t beat first-place teams? With a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday afternoon, the Phils swept a three-game series from the National League Central leaders. A team that had come into the series at Citizens Bank Park on a five-game winning streak and having tasted victory in eight of their previous 10 contests. They had averaged six runs per game over those 10, but the Phillies held them to two runs for the series. The Phils needed pitching and defense in this series, as they only scored seven runs over the three games.

“We only gave up two to a really high-powered offense,” said Phillies manager Rob Thomson after his team improved to 27-9 at home this season. “It says a lot about our pitching staff. It was a great series from the pitching side and from the defensive side. We played great defense in all three games. So, it’s good to see. You gotta win games like that.

“I think winning close games like this where we don’t score runs. I think that’s huge. I really do.”

Nasty Casty!

The only runs the Phillies scored came in the fifth inning on a two-run home run off the bat of Nick Castellanos. To that point, the teams only had two hits combined. Aaron Ashby, the Brewers starter, walked the first two hitters of the inning after a double play left Garrett Stubbs on third base. Castellanos blasted an 0-1 changeup into the seats in left field.

“First off, the team success is far greater than my own personal success, “said Castellanos who drove in the game-winning run in the second game of the series. “Thanks to my teammates and how good they’ve been playing; it’s been easy to keep focused on the things that are important and that’s winning the game today.”

Aaron Nola was once again, excellent. He went seven innings and allowed just two hits, he didn’t walk anyone and struck out five.

In the seventh, William Contreras led off with a double. Then with one out, he was on third base on a groundball to Alec Bohm at third. Contreras broke for home, but he was out when Stubbs kicked out his left leg and perfectly blocked the plate to preserve the shutout.

“It’s been awesome,” said Nola of the defense. “Guys have been studs out there in the field and behind the dish.”

The final hitter Nola faced was former Phillie Rhys Hoskins, who was the tying run in that situation. Nola got him to pop to shortstop Edmundo Sosa after a six-pitch at-bat where Hoskins fouled off three balls.

“He gassed me right there,” said Nola, who allowed two or fewer runs in 10 of his 13 starts this season. “He never gives up at-bats, I know that about him, he fights to the last pitch, so it was fun, especially in a situation like that – a big spot in the game. It was pretty cool.”

Coming Up:

The Phillies head to England to take on the New York Mets, for 2 games this weekend in London Stadium.

“I’m very excited,” said Thomson. “It’s going to be a unique experience. I think all the players are excited. It’s going to be kind of like a playoff atmosphere. I can’t wait to get there.”

Rock Hoffman
Rock Hoffman

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).

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