Final Score: Phillies 3, Pirates 0
This team just keeps on fighting. Led by Ranger Suárez, Matt Vierling and Bryce Harper, the Phillies have won their fifth in a row, and their ninth in the last 11 games. With win No. 81, the Phillies have guaranteed a non-losing season for the second time in three years. Barring an 0-7 finish, they are on the cusp of their first winning season since 2011.
The Phillies are also 13-10 in the month of September. If they win just one more game, it will be their most wins in a meaningful September since 2012, when Charlie Manuel’s banged-up squad won 17 games that month.
With just over 28,000 in attendance at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies appeared focused, collected and confident in all facets of the game. Suárez was just about as dominant as he could be, tossing his first career complete-game shutout. He has excelled in every role he’s been put in this season, arguably putting him right behind Harper and Wheeler in the power rankings for team MVP.
Vierling opened the scoring in the third inning, depositing his first Major League home run into the bushes in dead center field. It was the highlight of a 2-for-3 day for Vierling, who also added a walk.
Two batters later, Harper put another baseball in the bushes, hitting his 34th home run of the season. It was his 82nd RBI, and 98th run scored on the year.
Brad Miller added the Phillies’ third run in the fifth inning with a single against the shift, scoring Jean Segura.
That was all the Phillies needed, as the Pirates racked up just four hits against Suárez. The Phillies are now 81-74, and will embark on the dreaded bullpen game tomorrow afternoon.
For now, though, all eyes turn to San Diego, as Vince Velasquez squares off against the Braves. Despite wearing a Padres uniform, it is perhaps his most pivotal start yet for the Phillies’ playoff chances. If Velasquez puts the Padres in a position to win, the Phillies may wake up tomorrow just a half-game out of first place in the National League East.
Shibe Vintage Sports Starting Pitching Performance
Ranger Suárez: 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 SO, 87 pitches
With the bad news of Archie Bradley returning to the IL, and Sam Coonrod dealing with a thumb injury, the Phillies needed innings from Suárez today. What they got was their most efficient start in years.
With 13 pitches through two, 39 through four, and 52 through six, it was clear that Suárez had big plans this afternoon. The man simply did not make mistakes. For the few times that the Pirates made solid contact, Suárez was confidently backed up by his infield defense, who turned three double plays.
Wil Crowe: 4 2/3 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 2 SO, 2 HRs, 95 pitches
On July 30 against the Phillies in Pittsburgh, Crowe turned in perhaps his best start of the season. Guiding the Pirates to a 7-0 win, Crowe stymied the Phillies offense, good for six scoreless innings. It remains the only time this season he has gone six scoreless.
This time around, the Phillies gave him trouble from the get-go. He had to work out of jams in each of the first two innings. In the third, he allowed the Vierling and Harper home runs. The Phillies simply did not let him get into any rhythm.
Phillies Nugget Of The Game
With his home run today, Harper has set the Phillies franchise record for extra-base hits after the All-Star break with 46. Chase Utley (2005) and Ryan Howard (2006) previously shared that record, with 45.
Ticket IQ Next Game
- Sunday, Sept. 26 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park
- 1:05 p.m. ET
- TV: NBC Sport Philadelphia
- Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP
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