Final score: Phillies 7, Diamondbacks 0
Maybe the Phillies just needed to get over the hump against the Diamondbacks.
One night after a roller-coaster 11th-inning win for their first victory in five attempts against the Snakes this season, the Phillies coasted to a much smoother victory over the NL West bottom-feeders on Saturday.
Underwhelming competition notwithstanding, it was one of the cleanest games the Phillies have played all season: Strong defense, excellent starting pitching, stress-free bullpen work and relentless offense helped the Phillies push themselves back above .500. And, with the NL wild card-leading Cincinnati Reds and NL East-leading Atlanta Braves both trailing when the Phillies sealed their victory, the win could mean a lot more.
It was the second straight encouraging night for the offense. If the Phillies want to bring that lineup back to life without Rhys Hoskins in the last month-plus of the season, much of that burden will fall on the top of the order. Odúbel Herrera and Jean Segura, two main offensive catalysts when the Phillies got hot before the All-Star Break, continued showing signs of a resurgence on Saturday.
Herrera led off the home half of the first with a scorching double off the right-field wall, and Segura’s ensuing infield single was key in ultimately leading to two early runs. The two were at it again in the fourth, perhaps in more direct fashion: Back-to-back shots to each hitter’s pull side doubled that lead.
Herrera’s extra-base knocks accelerated a torrid August. He’s hit .316 with a 1.001 OPS in the month, fresh off a .167 and .487 July. As for Segura — who entered Thursday with a .230 second-half batting average and .695 OPS — Saturday was the second baseman’s third straight multi-hit game.
Brad Miller whacked a leadoff triple to center field to begin the fourth inning and complete the Phillies’ team cycle. He couldn’t get the final 90 feet, though, as he was eventually doubled off to end the inning.
It hardly mattered. The way Kyle Gibson pitched in his sixth appearance as a Phillie — plus the way José Alvarado and Héctor Neris pitched in his wake — perhaps even the back-to-back homers weren’t absolutely crucial. (Or the back-to-back doubles from Bryce Harper and Didi Gregorius in the eighth, which raised the former’s OPS back above 1.000.) Gibson allowed three hits (his fewest as a Phillie) across six spotless innings, only facing one real threat in the fifth to earn the win.
Alvarado followed by punching out two in the seventh, Neris one-upped him by striking out the side in the eighth, four eighth-inning hits helped push the Phillies’ lead to seven, Sam Coonrod pitched a scoreless ninth and the Phillies set themselves up to do the impossible: win a series against the Diamondbacks.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Kyle Gibson: 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 99 pitches
Gibson has been everything the Phillies hoped for upon acquiring him at the trade deadline, and Saturday was another example. The righty used excellent fastball command to keep the Diamondbacks’ bats at bay, as Gibson only surrendered three hard-hit balls (at least 95.0 mph) all game. He’s gone at least six innings in each of his five starts with the Phillies (not counting his post-rain-delay appearance against the Dodgers Aug. 11), and he’s gone at least six innings in all of them. His ERA in those starts is 1.93.
Humberto Mejía: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO, 92 pitches
Mejía wasn’t particularly spectacular on Saturday, though he more or less settled in after the third. He wasn’t able to limit hard contact, surrendering 10 hard-hit balls (six hits among them), nor did he have sharp fastball command. It was just the fifth career MLB start for the 24-year-old, whose 2021 ERA sits at 4.91.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
The Phillies’ eight extra-base hits are the most they’ve had in a shutout victory this season, and tied for their third-most in any game overall. Much of that work was done by Gregorius, whose three doubles gave him his most extra-base hits in a game this year.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, August 29 vs. Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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