As this series began, the Phillies ran into the Dodgers rotation just when it was hitting the point in its cycle they were praying to avoid. Yet, they cut down Clayton Kershaw last night, giving an unlikely spunk to the several thousand in attendance tonight enduring the wind, the rain, and the 29-minute delay they caused to start the contest.
The Phillies were engaging Aaron Nola, their best attempt at a proper duelist. Yasmani Grandal didn’t care and hit a solo shot in the third that gave the Dodgers the early lead just before. Play resumed following Grandal merrily orbiting Nola, and the pitcher continued undeterred. The trouble bled into the fourth inning as well, as a Cody Bellinger single and Curtis Granderson double made it 2-0. But Nola dug in and gave the Phillies seven innings, limiting the damage at two earned runs, two walks, five hits, and eight strikeouts, hanging a curve ball on the outskirts of the plate to hand a looking K to Cody Bellinger in the sixth.
With one out and two runners on, Rhys Hoskins came to the plate. With two strikes, Hoskins fouled off a Yu Darvish 97 mph heater down and away, sending a charge into the AB, which he completed with an RBI single to left field to the chagrin of the pitcher who was trying not to let him do that. The event caused Darvish to be yanked.
It was immensely satisfying. Facing reliever Tony Watson, Nick Williams reloaded the bases running on an infield hit, and Aaron Altherr returned to the plate with the bases loaded for the first time since breaking Clayton Kershaw. A perturbed Darvish twitched in the dugout, but instead of four runs, the Phillies settled for two outs on a double play ground ball, and left the field.
A second chance at damage came in the bottom of the seventh. J.P. Crawford cracked the triple the Phillies needed desperately the inning before to lead off. He pounded the bag after a head first slide while Hoskins and Galvis yawped in celebration from the dugout.
The score 2-1, the Phillies took far too long to tie the game, having started the inning with a runner on third and no outs. Jorge Alfaro seemed anxious to lay into one and went down in the count before getting tagged by a pitch and heading to first.
“Take a listen,” Tom McCarthy offered television viewers before cranking the sound up on a clip of a man’s hand being crushed by a Pedro Baez offering.
Maikel Franco, in a pinch hit appearance, popped out quickly and faced a light chorus of boos from the moistened peanut gallery. Cesar Hernandez worked a ballsy walk, but Galvis, with the bases loaded, swung at some bad pitches and managed to send a ball into a charitable wind gust that carried it out of the reach of anyone, except for a tumbling Curtis Granderson.
Having gifted the Phillies a second out and pulling a sac fly off the table, Freddy returned to the dugout and took his frustration out on the real culprit, his helmet. Odubel Herrera strode to the plate, and was subsequently taunted for taking too long to get in the box by a Dodgers dugout that had apparently run out of puzzles to do while they had been watching Yu Darvish deliveries. Herrera responded by drawing a four-pitch walk, finally bringing in Crawford as the tying run.
Those gathered in the evening’s damp were jubilant, and subsequently inconsolable when a high and slightly inside and nowhere near intentional Baez pitch came at Rhys Hoskins. It wouldn’t be the last.
Pitch of the at-bat, I mean. Hoskins took ten pitches, watching a 3-1 fastball fill the count and then calculating foul balls until Baez put one where he didn’t want to. Hoskins cleared the bases with a double.
Rhys Hoskins is 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs and a walk. He's seen 30 pitches in four plate appearances.— Ben Harris (@byBenHarris) September 20, 2017
ah there's nothing like a meaningless Mets/Marlins game in extras in September pic.twitter.com/phqM7NbskL— Mike Gianella (@MikeGianella) September 20, 2017
The Phillies settled for Altherr’s home run to come the following inning, giving them a 6-2 lead. Then Crawford drew a walk. The Phillies wouldn’t stop beating the Dodgers.
An inning later, Hector Neris and his disgusting hat came out for the save and got it, and this game ended with a rich stock of highlights: Beyond what’s been mentioned, Galvis had a slick hop-and-throw on a clutch double play ball. Hoskins made a diving stop at first base. Scott Kingery was in the booth and even got his picture taken with Chase Utley and the rest of the fellow Paul Owens Award winners in the house (Including this year’s other recipient, Thomas Eshelmann).
As they left the field after the final out, Hoskins and Crawford reenacted the post game celebration from their AAA days, which for at least one of them are over. Tomorrow night, they face Alex Wood, which at this point, after winning games started by Kershaw and Darvish, doesn’t seem fair. For the Dodgers.