At 7:16 I turned on the game in my car on the way home from grabbing dinner at Wendy's, the best fast food restaurant on the planet. The first thing I heard Scott Franzke say was "...it's a two-out RBI for Jayson Werth that puts the Nationals up 1-0." Fortunately, that wasn't a harbinger of things to come.
Things didn't get really interesting until the top of the third, when Brian Bogusevic drew a lead-off walk, and Cameron Rupp followed up with a single. Jerad Eickhoff laid down a bunt that dribbled in front of the plate, and Zimmermann picked it up. Wilson Ramos, the Nats catcher, instructed him to throw to third instead of first. When the Nationals look back at this game, they'll see this as the moment that things went wrong. Because Bogusevic was safe, Eickhoff was safe at first, and the bases were loaded. Aaron Altherr was swinging freely with his long, long arms, and looped one to center field. Michael Taylor dove for it but missed. The ball, which should go into some baseball equipment hall of fame, then kept going behind him... and kept going! The ball had enough roll to it on the ground that it would have kept going to the wall had Jayson Werth not picked it! Meanwhile, EVERYONE WAS SCORING. BOGUSEVIC SCORED. RUPP SCORED. EICKHOFF SCORED. AND THEN ALTHERR CROSSED THE PLATE FOR...
THAT'S RIGHT. AN INSIDE THE PARK GRAND SLAM.
WHAT EVEN IS THAT!!??!?!
Until now, I didn't think that could be a thing. But it is! And it happened to the Phillies! Aaron Altherr gets his first career grand slam on an INSIDE THE PARK HOME RUN. THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED. The only issue I have with that clip is Gregg Murphy's decided non-excitement at what's clearly one of the most exciting things to happen in awhile. Scott Franzke, the Phillies' radio guy, was really amped about it, and it was so much fun to listen to.
Every year, the Phillies like to give us something extra for our trouble. We watch 162 games of mostly bad baseball, and in return they give us a gem every now and then. Like last year with the combined no-hitter and Papelbon's crotch grabbing incident. This year, it's Cole Hamels' actual no-hitter and an INSIDE THE PARK GRAND SLAM, WHICH IS A THING THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED! TONIGHT! AND THE PHILLIES DID IT!
Aaron Altherr's night wasn't over, though. He hit a solo shot in the fifth inning, and then Darin Ruf joined in with a solo shot of his own.
I'm including this not so much for Darin Ruf's homer, or for the joke about exit velocity, but for Andres Blanco's unbridled enthusiasm at Ruf's home run. Look at him! Blanco isn't that excited when HE hits a home run! Ruf also doubled in the eighth inning and scored when Cody Asche hit a two-run homer to put the Philies up 8-2.
Jerad Eickhoff has struck out Bryce Harper three times tonight.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) September 26, 2015
Yes, it's time to talk about Jerad Eickhoff, who had yet another fantastic start. Seven innings, five hits, two runs, one walk, and 10 strikeouts. Tonight was the first double digit strikeout game of Eickhoff's career, the first of many. I will now proclaim my love for him and his very cute face, which will *also* happen many times in the future.
It was a night featuring the future. Young Phillies stars came out to shine tonight, and Darin Ruf was also there. He's always there. He'll be there tomorrow afternoon, when the Phillies face the Nationals at 3pm. Join us, and him, won't you?