Final: Phillies 12, Pirates 6
J.T. Realmuto didn’t start at catcher in Thursday evening’s series opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates, and early on, it looked like the game may already be in the loss column by the time he got a chance to pinch hit.
However, the Phillies battled back from a 6-0 deficit Thursday, and Realmuto turned in one of his best games off the bench to help the Phillies to their 79th win of the season.
The Pirates jumped out to an early lead in the top of the second inning.
In his first major league at-bat, Pirates pitcher Connor Overton blooped a ball into left field that landed in between Andrew McCutchen, Freddy Galvis and Didi Gregorius, allowing two runs to score:
The biggest blow of the inning came off the bat of Ke’Bryan Hayes, who tagged Nola for a three-run home run, giving the Pirates a 5-0 lead:
An inning later, Colin Moran seemingly put the game out of reach by hitting a 432-foot home run off of Nola, eliciting boos from the rain-soaked crowd at Citizens Bank Park:
But after seeing just 14 pitches in the bottom of the second inning, the Phillies bats woke up in a big way in the home half of the third.
Didi Gregorius has had a difficult 2021 season, but the slugging shortstop led off the bottom of the third inning by hitting a home run into the second deck in right field:
In total, the Phillies scored five runs in the bottom of the third inning off the duo of Overton and Cody Ponce. Nola was able to score on a passed ball, while Jean Segura, Andrew McCutchen and Brad Miller all drove runs in:
After a few quiet innings, the Phillies took the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, in about the most improbable fashion possible.
Realmuto pinch hit for Brad Miller and led the inning off with a single into right field. After consecutive groundouts by Freddy Galvis and Gregorius advanced Realmuto to third base, Joe Girardi elected to have Matt Vierling pinch hit for Andrew Knapp. The Pirates chose to walk Vierling, which set the stage for Ronald Torreyes to come up and hit one of the most shocking pinch-hit home runs in recent Phillies history:
An inning later, Realmuto added onto the Phillies lead with a two-run home run, his 16th of the season:
For good measure, Realmuto drove in two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning off of former Phillie Enyel De Los Santos, salting away the 78th win of the season.
By defeating the Pirates Thursday, the Phillies moved to within two games of the Atlanta Braves — who lost Thursday afternoon in Arizona — in the National League East race.
- Connor Overton started in a bullpen game for the Pirates Thursday, holding the Phillies scoreless and even driving in two runs across the first two innings. However, the 28-year-old ran out of gas in the third inning, which led to Pirates manager Derek Shelton pilling him after 2 1/3. Overton was responsible for two of the five runs that Pittsburgh pitching surrendered in the bottom of the third inning.
- Aaron Nola allowed six hits and six runs across six innings in the series opener. You can give the former All-Star props for keeping the Phillies in the game after the third inning, but the bottom line is so much more is expected of Nola, who now has a 4.64 ERA in 2021.
- Friday, Sept. 23 vs. Pirates at Citizens Bank Park
- 7:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
MORE FROM PHILLIES NATION
- Phillies Nation Top 20 Prospects: September 2021
- ‘Every Indication’ Is That Joe Girardi Will Return In 2022
- Mike Schmidt: ‘Bryce Harper Is Today’s Pete Rose With Power’
- Report: Phillies Hope That Adam Haseley, Alec Bohm Will Play Winter Ball
- 500 Strikeouts Later, Héctor Neris Remains An Integral Part Of Phillies Bullpen
- Brett Myers Is Trying To Make A Comeback To Philadelphia — But Not To Play Baseball
- ‘I’m A Little Different Than Most’: Meet The Phillies’ Eccentric New Pitching Prospect
- September Is Far From Aaron Nola’s Biggest Issue
- Phillies Reportedly Are ‘Favorites’ To Sign Highly-Touted Venezuelan Prospect
- Phillies 2021 Walk-Up Songs