Final Score: Phillies 4, Brewers 3
You can exhale, everyone.
Coming off two consecutive gut-punching losses, the Phillies needed a win on Monday. It wouldn’t be easy — they’d have to do so without Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the starting lineup, and they’d need a quality outing from the oft-frustrating Vince Velasquez.
But the Phillies eked out a 4-3 win over the visiting Milwaukee Brewers, relying on contributions up and down the lineup and six strong innings from Velasquez to do so.
The city of Philadelphia’s collective heart rate spiked at the end, as things certainly got dicey. The Brewers made it a one-run game in the eighth and loaded the bases in the ninth after a leadoff double, but Héctor Neris’ 40th pitch — a splitter — missed Lorenzo Cain’s bat, and Phillies fans could let out a sigh of relief for the ages.
- The Phillies’ bad vibes picked up right where they left off from the previous couple of days. Cain hit a ball very, very far — 446 feet, to be exact — off Velasquez in the first inning to put the Brewers up early.
- Velasquez wound up putting two more men on base with one out in the inning, but a Caleb Cotham mound visit seemed to help calm the right-hander, who retired the next two batters to limit further damage.
- With Hoskins and Harper out of the lineup, three-hole hitter J.T. Realmuto seemed to know he’d have to pick up the burden for the Phillies’ offense. He got started on that task right away, cranking a two-run homer to left to put the Phillies up 2-1 after a Brad Miller single. It traveled 417 feet from home plate, well into the second deck. Unlike Hoskins’ double last night, the railing was irrelevant on this one:
- Velasquez worked around a Luis Urías leadoff double in the third to keep the Phillies in front. Even the most pro-DH Phillies fans were glad to see Adrian Houser step to the plate with one out and Urías on third, as the Milwaukee pitcher’s strikeout went a long way in helping Velasquez escape unscathed.
- Roman Quinn hit his second triple in as many at bats dating back to Sunday, driving in Odúbel Herrera in the bottom of the second. It one-hopped the wall in left, but Quinn took third without a play because Christian Yelich misplayed it and — in case you didn’t know — Roman Quinn is very fast.
- The ever-athletic Velasquez drove in Quinn with a groundout to first immediately after the triple. With the infield playing in, it likely wouldn’t have been enough to score the average runner, but there wasn’t even a throw as Quinn dove across for a 4-1 lead.
- Velasquez got Daniel Vogelbach to ground out to strand runners on first and second in the third inning. It was the first of 21 consecutive batters retired by Velasquez and Houser combined.
- Sam Coonrod struck out the side on 13 pitches in the top of the seventh inning. He’s turned out to be a nice addition by the Phillies so far, as his ERA dropped to 1.38 on the season.
- Matt Joyce was ejected for arguing a full-count strikeout with runners on first and second and two outs in the seventh inning. It was a blessing in disguise for the double-switch-loving Joe Girardi: Connor Brogdon took Joyce’s spot in the lineup and Andrew McCutchen moved to left.
- Brogdon — who hasn’t quite looked like himself since allowing two three-run homers in one inning against the Giants — loaded the bases with no one out in the eighth and excited after a sac fly. Neris came in and induced an RBI fielder’s choice out, then picked Avisail Garcia off at first to end the inning. The Phillies’ lead was trimmed to one. It could’ve been a lot worse.
- To call the ninth inning dicey is quite an understatement. Neris allowed a leadoff double to Vogelbach, and after recording two outs, a walk and an infield single used up all their wiggle room. But Girardi stuck with Neris to record the final out, and his faith paid off, as Cain struck out to end it and give Neris a five-out save.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Adrian Houser: 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 95 pitches
Like Velasquez, Houser settled in after the first couple innings — he retired 14 of his last 15 hitters after Quinn’s triple — but the first couple innings did him in. Two of his runs were unearned after Herrera reached on an error, but Herrera’s was one of six balls in the first two innings hit at least 100 mph against Houser — and one of nine overall.
Vince Velasquez: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 98 pitches
Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Vince Velasquez
Give credit where credit is due. Two batters in, it looked like it might get ugly. But Velasquez gave the Phillies what they needed on Monday, settling in after the first inning to hold the Brewers in check through six.
No, he wasn’t the epitome of efficiency, but he found a way to go deep and do so at a high level. He retired the final 10 hitters he saw, lowering his ERA to 4.91 — and 3.77 as a starter.
His ability to put the ball in play on an 0-2 count to drive in the Phillies’ fourth run — one they’d need — shouldn’t go understated either.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Tuesday, May 4 vs. Milwaukee Brewers
- 4:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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