“It’s not how you start. It’s how you finish,” said Ken, the press box elevator operator at Citizens Bank Park, after his employer – the Phillies – rallied from four runs down in the eighth inning to beat the New York Mets 5-4 in the series opener between the two Nation League East rivals. Phillies with a big finish.
As Ken alluded to, it was a rough beginning for the Phils. The Mets put up three runs in the first, Alec Bohm struggled with errors in each of the first three innings, and Ranger Suarez, the Phils’ starting pitcher, lasted just two-and-two-thirds innings.
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However, the Phillies batted around in the eighth after only four hits and just six total baserunners in the first seven innings. J.T Realmuto hit a three-run home run, then Rhys Hoskins tied it with a double. He scored the winning run when DiDi Gregorius also had a two-base hit.
“This is a game that you fail a lot,” said Phillies manager Joe Girardi after his team scored their first win when trailing by four or more runs entering the eighth inning since they beat the Chicago Cubs 7-5 on August 15, 2019, after being down 5-0. “We failed offensively for like 16 innings, then all of the sudden, bang!”
Brandon Nimmo led the game off with a hit, and he went to third when Bohm threw the ball away on an infield single by the next batter, Starling Marte, who found himself on second base. Pete Alonso grounded out to Bohm with one out, and Nimmo scored. Eduardo Escobar kept the inning alive with a single down the right-field line that scored Marte. Then after a walk, Escobar was plated on a bloop single to the right by Mark Canha.
Bohm committed throwing errors on balls hit by the Mets’ leadoff hitters in the second and third innings as well; he made two plays in a row to end the second. Suarez and relief pitcher Nick Nelson struck out the final two Mets hitters to end a two-on, one-out threat in the third. After Nimmo was safe on an infield single in the fourth, Bohm started an excellent inning-ending double play.
“The win,” said Bohm, who has three hits and three walks in six plate appearances this season, “is what helps me feel good because I put us in a little bit of a hole. You saw those at-bats in the eighth inning. Everybody was locked in. Everybody had a great at-bat. It was really special.”
The Mets added insurance – or so they thought – in the seventh with two outs, James McCann, who had walked, came home when Francisco Lindor singled to the right past a diving Jean Segura.
After scoring 13 runs in the first 14 innings of the season, the Phillies tallied just one run over the next 18 innings, but they finally broke out in the eighth. Bohm walked, then pinch hitter Johan Camargo singled to right but was forced out by Kyle Schwarber. Mired in a 1-for-12 start, Realmuto blasted a full-count offering from Joely Rodriguez nearly to the first-level concourse in left field to make it 4-3.
Then with two out, Nick Castellanos walked. When Hoskins doubled to the left-field corner, Castellanos, who said he had no intention of stopping at third, scored from first. Gregorius’ two-bagger went to right-center to score Hoskins for the win. Phillies with a big finish.
Seranthony Dominguez got the win, his first since May 3, 2019, against Washington. Suarez allowed three runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out one. His 21-inning scoreless streak ended in the first inning. Nelson pitched four innings (“he saved the bullpen,” Girardi said) and allowed one run on one hit and one walk. Brad Hand got the save with two strikeouts in the ninth. Corey Knebel was unavailable to close because he had flu-like symptoms.
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).