The Phillies out-slugged the Brewers in a game that dragged on interminably.When starter Charlie Morton was pulled in the top of the second with a hamstring strain, the Phillies were staring at a bullpen game having spotted Milwaukee a 1-0 lead. You could be forgiven for predicting a dismal loss at that point, even as the bullpen has shown signs of improvement of late.
Well, it was a dismal loss, but for the Brew Crew. The Phils jumped all over Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson, to the tune of six runs over four innings. In the third, already down 1-0, Odubel Herrera walked (in another nine-pitch plate appearance), stole second, and was scored on Ryan Howard's single against the shift. Darin Ruf, Carlos Ruiz and Tyler Goeddel followed with more, and three runs scored on the four straight singles, bringing up a social media intern with an improving sense of humor.
A two run-home run by Ryan Braun, and fielder's choice by Domingo Santana brought Milwaukee back on top 4-3, but they would give it away quickly. In the fourth, then, Cesar Hernandez led off with a walk, and Herrera singled to left, bringing up Maikel Franco.
Things settled down at that point, thankfully for the bullpens, at least. In the sixth, Philadelphia would add another run, when, surprise surprise, Herrera singled, this time to center, and stole second, again. Franco then drove him in, again, with a single.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Brewers tried to make things more interesting by clawing back two runs, with a mammoth home run by Chris Carter and sac fly from Aaron Hill, but in the ninth, the Phils sealed it up. Ruiz singled to lead off, and Hernandez drove him in with a double, bringing up Herrera.
Side note: Odubel Herrera had a three hit game, with two singles, a home run, two walks and two steals. Today's outburst raised his season OBP to .442. The Phillies have not had a player with an OBP over .400 for a full season since Chase Utley and Pat Burrell both in 2007. Now, it's 18 games, not a full season, but Herrera is certainly showing that he can hit with the best of them--but he's doing it in all dimensions (he's even walking (17) more than he strikes out (16)!). Not bad for a Rule V pick that nobody else wanted.
Other side note: Franco is a badass third baseman. Everyone who was excited about moving him to first to replace Howard should watch this and then never think that thought again.
How'd the bullpen do? Well, they allowed five runs, which isn't great under normal circumstances, and this team can't rely on an offensive outpouring like this every day. Still, when your starter goes one inning, making it out with only six runs is a bonus. Brett Oberholtzer allowed most of the damage, but Dalier Hinojosa was especially weak, with two runs allowed in two-thirds of an inning. Andrew Bailey made his Phillies' debut with two strong innings, David Hernandez came through with two more, and Elvis Auaujo and Totally Not the Designated Closer Jeanmar Gomez recorded the last four outs. Finally, it felt like a win.
It was a long game, though. Four hours for nine innings is unusual, and there were a lot of pitches thrown: 387, by both teams. Still, if you think this was rough:
never baseball pic.twitter.com/CCdbUSRH1w— Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) April 24, 2016
That's a game that ended in the 18th... as the first half of a double-header. They started the "nightcap" somewhat late.
With the win, the Phillies improve to 9-9, firmly in third place in the NL East. We're not great at the whole tanking thing, it turns out. Going for the series sweep tomorrow will be Jerad Eickhoff on the hill against Milwaukee's Wily Peralta.