You could say the Phillies got lucky to beat the Diamondbacks tonight, but you could say that the Phillies got lucky to win just about every game they have won and will win this season. Still, some wins feel like they’re derived from more repeatable process than others, like the Aaron Nola gem or the Odubel Herrera offensive showcase. Tonight’s win was decidedly not like those sorts of wins as this game was built on a foundation of rare occurrences that, while not entirely unrepeatable, are certainly not the sorts of breaks you count on going your way on any kind of consistent basis.
The Phillies should not have won this game, not with Zach Grienke starting for the Diamondbacks and Jerad Eickhoff failing to record a quality start for the Phillies. The Phillies got their first run of the game in the second inning when Jerad Eickhoff came to the plate with runners on the corners and two outs. The career .154 hitter knocked a single into right field to score Freddy Galvis from third.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Diamondbacks loaded the bases with no outs, but Eickhoff escaped after only giving up one run after two strikeouts and a sacrifice fly.
The top of the third began with an odd sequence in its own right. Zack Greinke came out for warmups, but before Peter Bourjos came up to lead off, he called for a break where he ran to the clubhouse either for a quick bathroom break or some chiropractic work:
The game is currently delayed because Zack Greinke needs a bathroom break. I think.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 29, 2016
Well, no. Now Zack Greinke is done. He is injured. What a bizarre sequence.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) June 29, 2016
So, after only two innings, the Diamondbacks ace was out of the game and Randall Delgado was in. The Phillies didn’t take advantage of that break for a couple innings when Maikel Franco took a pitch down the middle out to left center to put the Phillies up 2-1.
Meanwhile, Jerad Eickhoff continued to work around sub-optimal situations like he did in the second. In the fourth inning, Jake Lamb led off with a triple, but failed to score after Eickhoff got a weak fly ball from Yasmani Tomas, a strikeout of Wellington Castillo, and a groundout from Delgado. Then, after the Phillies took the lead in the top of the fifth, the Diamondbacks started with runners on the corners with no outs after Eickhoff his Nick Ahmed to leadoff and allowed a single to Jean Segura. He struck out both Michael Bourn and Paul Goldschmidt before getting Jake Lamb to ground out to end the inning.
Eickhoff’s luck ran dry in the 6th as Tomas led off with a big home run to left field and Castillo followed with a single. David Hernandez came in and got two strikeouts and a pop out to bail out the starter. He was one out away in the seventh from working through two clean innings when Jake Lamb, he of the triple and walk already, hit a long home run out to right to give the Diamondbacks the lead.
The Phillies weren’t able to respond in the eighth and were stuck facing the Diamondback’s closer Brad Ziegler in the 9th. Ziegler immediately got into trouble. Jimmy Paredes, pinch hitting for Hector Neris, doubled to left and scored after Andres Blanco followed with a grounder that got past a diving Segura at second. The Phillies loaded the bases with no outs after Odubel Herrera singled and Peter Bourjos drew a walk. Maikel Franco struck out, bringing Ryan Howard up with one out. After falling behind 1-2, Howard took a ball and fouled off a curveball to stay alive. He then took two balls, including ball four that tailed way off the plate, to walk in the winning run for the Phillies.
Jeanmar Gomez came in for the save and only needed 11 pitches to retire Ahmed, Segura, and Bourn 1-2-3 for his 21st save of the season. It was the Phillies first ninth-inning comeback of the season and it came on a Ryan Howard walk. You can’t predict baseball.
After taking the first two games from the Diamondbacks, the Phillies have clinched their first series win since mid-May when they took 2 of 3 from the Miami Marlins. They’ll go for their first sweep since they won 3 of 3 against the Cleveland Indians April 29th-May 1st.