The Phillies traveled to Buffalo for the first time since 1885 to play a doubleheader with the Blue Jays, who have been exiled from the Rogers Centre in Toronto due to the Canadian government expressing valid concerns with COVID-19.
Heading into the later innings of the seven-inning contest, the Phils were hanging on to a two-run lead. Unfortunately, the bullpen was unable to hold on and the Phils lost on a weak, walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh. Philadelphia’s bullpen ERA stands at 7.92.
The 3-2 defeat kept the Phils from reaching the .500 mark, which would have given them an opportunity to have a winning record at days end. Meanwhile, the win for Toronto was their fourth straight as they moved to 11-11 on the season.
- Bryce Harper got the Phillies on the board first. After both Andrew McCutchen and Rhys Hoskins struck out to start the inning, Harper took the first pitch he saw to the opposite field for his sixth homer of the season.
- Harper became the first Phillie since 1885 (135 years) to hit a home run in a major league game in Buffalo.
- Spencer Howard gave up a lead-off single in the first, but induced a groundout and struck out the final two batters of the inning.
- The Phils added to their lead in the third. Roman Quinn led things off with an infield single then stole second and reached third on an error by Blue Jays catcher Reese McGuire. Todd Zolecki notes that Quinn is currently the fastest runner in Major League Baseball. Andrew McCutchen followed Quinn’s at-bat with a single to center, scoring him from third and extending the lead to 2-0. The Phillies had an opportunity to tack on more, but J.T. Realmuto grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second.
- Spencer Howard tallied five strikeouts through his first three innings of work.
- The Blue Jays pulled starter Chase Anderson in the fourth and gave the ball to Julian Merryweather for his big league debut after six years and 370 innings in the minors. He struck out Alec Bohm for his first major league strikeout.
- In the fourth, Toronto finally got on the scoreboard. Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Joe Panik singled to start things off. Two batters later, Reese McGuire singled to load the bases with one down. Santiago Espinal lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Guerrero Jr. and cutting the Phils lead in half. That would spell the end of the day for Spencer Howard. Blake Parker walked Cavan Biggio before getting Randal Grichuk to ground out and end the inning.
- Parker ended up getting the first two outs in the fifth before being replaced by Jose Alvarez. Parker has now thrown 5.1 scoreless innings since rejoining the Phillies with eight strikeouts. Alvarez got the final out in the fifth, but it came at a cost. He was hit by a 105+mph liner right in the groin/thigh area.
- The Blue Jays evened things up in the bottom of the sixth against Tommy Hunter. Billy McKinney hit a single to lead-off the inning and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Reese McGuire. McKinney reached third on a groundout from Rowdy Tellez and then scored on a Cavan Biggio double over Bryce Harper’s head in right.
- The Phillies were unable to respond as Jays reliever Jordan Romano struck out the side in the top of the sixth.
- Deolis Guerra took over for the Phils in the ninth and gave up a one-out single to Teoscar Hernandez. Guerrero Jr. looped a single to center, moving Hernandez to third and putting runners on the corners with just one down. Lourdes Gurriel Jr. slapped a grounder over the head of Alec Bohm and into right field to score Hernandez and win the game.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Spencer Howard: 3 2/3 IP 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5K, 67 pitches
Howard located his fastball well over the first couple of innings, hitting 97 mph on the gun more than a few times. Because he only lasted 3 2/3 innings, he could not earn his first big league win. Still, this was a positive start for Howard, who reached a new career-high in strikeouts with five against Toronto. Howard also lowered his ERA by 1.71 runs.
Chase Anderson: 3 2/3 IP 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 78 pitches
Anderson’s short outing was the longest of his season to this point with his previous two starts lasting two innings each. He started the season on the IL with an oblique injury and is still ramping up his innings count. Things could have gone much worse for Anderson, who got out of a two on, no out jam in the third, but all in all kept things within reach for the Jays.
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Gurriel Jr. came into the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and gave the Blue Jays the victory in game one with a walk-off single in the seventh.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Doubleheader Game 2: Thursday, Aug. 20 vs. Toronto Blue Jays, Sahlen Field
- NBC Sports Philadelphia
- SportsRadio 94WIP
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