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Crushed velvet grass: Phillies 2, Rays 1

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Jorge Alfaro and J.P. Crawford are tonight’s saviors as the Phillies take the first game from the Rays.

Philadelphia Phillies v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Every time I see any games or highlights from Tropicana Field, I think of a store that was in the Bangor Mall when I was growing up. It was called Deb, and it sold clothing for girls and young women in many sizes. It was like Wet Seal, but cheaper, and it sold a huge number of formal dresses during winter formal and prom time. I still had a few Deb dresses as of 2016, but when I moved from Connecticut to Ohio, I decided it was finally time to get rid of them so I gave them to the local charity shop.

I think of Deb because in 1996 or 1997 I bought a tank top from them that was made of cheap green crushed velvet. It looked exactly like the grass at the Trop.

Even on crushed velvet grass, the Phillies found a way to win. It took them 8 12 innings, but they did it. They won their fourth straight game, and brought themselves to a record of 7-5.

Vince Velasquez was so good. He was confident and controlled, allowing himself to make mistakes and not overcompensating when he did. It’s almost like having a start when the Phillies were almost incapable of losing their lead was beneficial! (Want to hear more about my theory? Subscribe to Hittin’ Season to hear me talk about this and many other important/non-important Phillies topics!)

Vinny went 6.2 innings, and he was a shining ray of beatific light. You know, for him. He wasn’t Cliff Lee prime or anything, but he was as good as he’s been in at least a year. He gave up just one run on four hits, one walk (seriously, just one walk), and struck out seven.

The Phillies had essentially no luck against Rays starter Jake Faria. They finally broke through in the sixth inning, when J.P. Crawford and his tweaked swing hit a doubled. Cesar Hernandez, who is almost always on base these days, walked, essentially giving the Phillies a free bonus at-bat. (Related: Cesar Hernandez is the best player on the Phillies, and it’s not even close.) Jose Alvarado replaced Faria at that point, and Carlos Santana singled right under the belly of an infielder.

In the end, El Oso was the Phillies’ savior. After Scott Kingery doubled with one out in the top of the ninth, Jorge Alfaro hit a single under the belly of an infielder to give the Phillies the lead.

Here’s Kingery’s double.

Here’s Alfaro’s game-winning single.

And here are my feelings about Jorge Alfaro.

Yeah, the Phillies struck out 13 (holy crap) times on Friday night. That’s not good, and that’s going to have to be dealt with at some point. But a win is a win. And hey! This factoid here is true!

In the end, a win in April doesn’t look any better than a win in June or July. And the Phillies need to hoard wins while they can, because their schedule looks pretty tough.

But they still have two more games against the Rays. And they showed tonight that they can handle that. I love the Phillies, guys.