Final Score: Phillies 8, Pirates 6
Just over 20,000 fans were in attendance for Friday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but even with a ballpark half empty (or half full), it’s finally starting to feel like the Phillies have a realistic chance at a Red October.
There were a few moments in this game that made even the most skeptical observers believe. Kyle Gibson didn’t have his best outing on the mound, but he hit a third-inning home run to give the Phillies an early lead. Joe Blanton was famously traded to the Phillies mid-season and hit a pretty big home run in 2008.
Didi Gregorius, the expensive free agent signing who has disappointed all season, hit a go-ahead three-run home run against a lefty in the bottom of the seventh. He came into the game batting .148 against left-handed pitching. Moments later, Fernando Tatis Jr. hit a go-ahead home run to put the Padres on top of the Braves 2,700 miles away in San Diego.
The ever reliable Héctor Neris was stretched to his limit and gave the team his most gutsy performance of the year. He threw 41 pitches, the most in an outing since August 2015, and got a bullpen short of trustworthy arms to the ninth. On the 41st pitch, Neris induced a ground ball to Ke’Bryan Hayes. The ball landed right in Neris’ glove. Instead of throwing over to first, Neris emphatically took the ball to the base and stomped on it for the final out.
The moment symbolizes just how important Neris has been to the Phillies over the past few months. He won’t be available Saturday and possibly Sunday, but when they need outs, Joe Girardi isn’t afraid to put the fate of the Phillies in Neris’ hands.
Shortly after Neris left the mound, Padres closer Mark Melancon got Ozzie Albies to fly out to the warning track for the final out of the seven-inning suspended game in San Diego.
At the moment, the Phillies are one game out of first place in the NL East. The Padres and Braves will play a regularly scheduled nine-inning game following the conclusion of the suspended game. If the Braves win, the Phillies will head into Saturday 1.5 games out of first place in the NL East. A Braves loss will get the Phillies to within 0.5 game. They are now 80-74 and one win away from clinching a non-losing season.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Miguel Yajure: 3 2/3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO, 2 HRs, 72 pitches
Sam Howard was the opener in this game and Yajure served as the “bulk innings” arm. Two home runs allowed in three innings isn’t exactly a tell-tale sign of a good outing.
Kyle Gibson: 6 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 6 SO, 73 pitches
Gibson’s outing on Friday was pretty similar to what Nola gave the Phillies on Thursday. He had a bad fourth inning, but cruised through every other inning. Gibson had an inning or two left, but he was taken out in favor of a pinch-hitter. Oh, and he hit his first career home run in the third.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
Bryce Harper hit his 40th double of the season in the fifth inning of Friday’s game. He’s the first Phillie to hit 40 doubles in a year since Odúbel Herrera hit 42 back in 2017.
- Herrera left the game in the top of the fifth with left ankle soreness. He was replaced by Matt Vierling in center field. Girardi said after the game that Herrera’s Achilles “grabbed” after taking swings in the cage between at-bats.
- Before Hayes’ at-bat against Neris in the eighth, Girardi went to the mound with the intention of taking him out and putting in Bailey Falter. Neris spoke about the moment he told Girardi to keep him in: “I said it straight ‘Give me another chance.’ I know I can get [the other guy] out. I wanted that.”
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Saturday, Sept 25 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at 4:05 p.m ET
- TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
- Radio: Sportsradio 94 WIP
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