2021 Postgame Recaps

Phillies drop wild, gut-wrenching affair in the worst way possible

Hector Neris blew a save Friday. (Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire)

Final Score: Braves 8, Phillies 7

The Philadelphia Phillies have been around since 1883, but a select few games throughout the franchise’s history have been weirder, wilder, stupider and more senseless than their 8-7 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Truist Park on Saturday.

Regardless of how the rest of the season plays out, it will likely go down as the most asinine game of the year, barring something unforeseeable. It will also go down as a game they led 3-1 with no one on and two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Pablo Sandoval’s game-tying two-run homer off Héctor Neris was just the tip of the iceberg, as what ensued from that point on was a remarkably imperfect storm of frenzy and hysteria with a cherry of heartbreak on top, as the Phillies built a 7-4 12th inning lead in the most Little League way possible, only to have it erased before they could record an out in the bottom half of the frame.

After having multiple chances to clinch the weekend set and pick up their sixth consecutive victory, the Phillies move to 5-10 away from Citizens Bank Park this year and set up a rubber match on Sunday Night Baseball.

Top Plays 

  • If Jean Segura hits and first inning runs were the themes of Friday’s game, the Phillies picked up on Saturday right where they left off. Segura whacked the first pitch of his first at-bat just over the wall in left field, and though the umpiring crew momentarily lost it in the glare, the result was a 1-0 lead for the Phils. It was Segura’s fifth hit in six at bats off the injured list:
  • For the second straight night and the fourth time in their last six games, the Phillies jumped on the opposing starter for multiple first-inning runs. After a Bryce Harper walk and J.T. Realmuto double put ducks on the pond with one out, Alec Bohm picked up a productive groundout to drive Harper in and move Realmuto to third. A Didi Gregorius strikeout would leave Realmuto there, however.
  • Andrew McCutchen drove in Brad Miller with an RBI single in the second inning. The same hit would’ve scored Odúbel Herrera — who walked right after Miller — from second if Vince Velasquez had been able to move the runners over, but he struck out on a foul bunt. Segura grounded into a double play to strand the runner on third.
  • Velasquez walked the first two batters of the second inning, then bounced back with two consecutive big strikeouts and got Christian Pache to line out to second, ending the threat. Not only did Velasquez escape a potentially ugly inning unscathed, but he also set up opposing pitcher Ian Anderson to lead off the third.
  • Anderson’s three-pitch strikeout set the tone for that inning, as Velasquez retired the side on just six pitches. It was a much-needed quick frame after he threw 42 pitches in the first two innings.
  • McCutchen banged up his left wrist trying to make a play on a fly ball from Ozzie Albies right on the left field line with one out in the fourth. McCutchen got to the spot, but with almost no space between the foul line and the wall, he momentarily took his eye off the ball and it hit him square in the wrist. He was shaken up and got a visit from the trainers but stayed in the game. Albies tripled, but Velasquez stranded him.
  • McCutchen showed his wrist was OK by leading off the fifth with a single, and Segura followed him up by a single off the second base bag to put runners on the corners. However, Harper grounded into a 1-6-3 double play and Realmuto struck out to waste the opportunity.
  • Freddie Freeman had been 1 for his last 31 when he stepped to the plate in the sixth, so naturally, he cranked a solo shot 416 feet to deep right-center field to put the Braves on the board and cut the Phillies’ lead to two runs:
  • Grant Dayton struck out Harper swinging to end the seventh inning, stranding runners on the corners.
  • Sam Coonrod — who got the final two outs of the sixth — recorded two outs in the seventh, then allowed a single to Ehire Adrianza and hit Ronald Acuña Jr. in the hand to put two runners on. Acuña was in some serious pain and left the game immediately before José Alvarado got Freeman to roll over to first, ending the threat. It should be noted that the double switch to put Alvarado in also removed Segura, who was 3-for-4. Nick Maton came in at second.
  • Alvarado put Marcell Ozuna on second after a walk and a wild pitch, but he settled in to induce an Albies groundout before punching out Austin Riley and Dansby Swanson to escape the inning and keep the Phillies ahead by two.
  • Pablo Sandoval hit a pinch-hit two-run home run with two outs in the ninth to tie the game. It was reminiscent of his pinch-hit home run to tie the game in the seventh inning on Opening Day in Philadelphia, but this one was unquestionably more gut-wrenching. Héctor Neris was cruising through two batters but walked Adrianza and brutally missed his spot on this 1-2 to Sandoval:
  • Will Smith walked McCutchen to put two runners on in the 10th, but he proceeded to strike out Rhys Hoskins and get pop-ups from Harper and Realmuto to hold the score at 3-3 and give the Braves a golden opportunity to win it in the 10th.
  • The Phillies needed a heroic outing from Brandon Kintzler, and they got one. He got Albies to ground out, then intentionally walked Riley and Swanson to load the bases with one out. With a five-man infield, William Contreras grounded a ball to Bohm, who got the force out at the plate, then Kintzler struck out Cristian Pache to send the game to the 11th.
  • Maton came up clutch in the 11th inning, launching a double off the wall in right center to score Realmuto, the automatic runner, from second and give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. The hit came with two outs after Bohm and Gregorius had struck out.
  • Connor Brogdon came in for the bottom of the 11th and induced a high bouncer to Gregorius, but the shortstop threw it wide of Bohm at first, allowing the tying run to score.
  • Brogdon eventually got out of the inning. Albies grounded out to send the game to inning No. 12, which felt like inning No. 112.
  • If the first 11 innings were weird, the top of the 12th was downright madness. McCutchen led off by lacing a blazing grounder at Riley, but it went off his chest to put two runners on. Next, Andrew Knapp hit a sacrifice bunt that Contreras misplayed, loading the bases. Harper then hit a comeback for a tailor made double play, but Jacob Webb’s throw went wide of Contreras at the plate, two runs scored and the Phillies took a 6-4 lead. After a Realmuto RBI single, the Phillies could’ve piled on even more, but Bohm grounded into a double play and Gregorius grounded out to force the Phillies to settle for a 7-4 lead:
  • If you thought that was that and turned off the TV, you made the right call for all the wrong reasons. Enyel De Los Santos, one of the few pitchers left in the Phillies bullpen, gave up a walk and a single to start the 12th before Contreras — aided by a misplay in left from McCutchen — brought all three runners home to tie things. Pache then hit a sacrifice bunt to Scott Kingery, who awkwardly hesitated and tried unsuccessfully to get the lead runner out at third. Adrianza — still with no outs — then singled to right to end one of the weirdest games in recent memory and hand the Phillies a gut-wrenching loss.

Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance

Vince Velasquez: 5.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 6 SO, 90 pitches

Velasquez again was not the most efficient pitcher ever, but he got big outs when he needed to, working out of key jams in the second and fourth innings to limit the damage. His retiring the side in the first, third and fifth innings were crucial in allowing him to provide some length. He lowered his ERA to a respectable 4.18 on the season — 3.20 as a starter.

Ian Anderson: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 7 SO, 94 pitches

Anderson settled in after the first couple innings, allowing no hits in the third, fourth and sixth and fielding his position nicely to escape the fifth inning spotless. But Anderson didn’t begin the game with great control of his changeup, and it sunk him early on to put the Braves down early. His ERA is now 3.46 on the year.

Phillies Nuggets Player of the Game: Ehire Adrianza

It felt as if everyone on both teams did everything in their power to lose this game except for Adrianza. He ended up with the walk-off hit, but that alone didn’t make him the player of the game. Remarkably, in an affair that went 12 innings and saw his team score eight runs, he was the only Brave with a multi-hit game, tallying three on the night. His second hit put the ball in play and led to the Gregorius error to tie it in the 11th, and his walk with two outs in the ninth to bring Sandoval to the plate as the tying run should not go unnoticed.

Ticket IQ Next Game

  • Sunday, May 9 vs. Atlanta Braves
  • 7:08 p.m. ET
  • TV: ESPN Sunday Night Baseball
  • Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP


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