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Weathering the Storm: Phillies 3, Orioles 2

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It wasn’t easy, but another strong start by Zach Eflin lifted the Phillies to a third straight win.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Philadelphia Phillies Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

A game against Alex Cobb and the Orioles should have resulted in an easy victory for the Phillies. Maybe it was due to the storm that delayed the start of the game by more than an hour, but there was little easy about the 3-2 win on Tuesday night.

Despite facing Cobb - who has been awful in 2018 - the Phillies’ offense was mostly quiet. Rhys Hoskins doubled home two runs in the third, and Andrew Knapp drove in another with a triple in the fourth, but that was all they could manage.

The good news is that while Cobb pitched well, Phillies’ starter Zach Eflin was even better. After going 5-0 in June, Eflin showed that it wasn’t just a fluky month. He allowed only two runs, and one of them might have been prevented if Nick Williams hadn’t committed an error in right field.

Despite cruising through seven innings on just 82 pitches, manager Gabe Kapler chose to pinch hit for him in the bottom of the seventh, leaving the final two innings to the bullpen. The bullpen immediately made us question that decision.

Tommy Hunter was first up and sandwiched a single between two outs. Kapler called upon Seranthony Dominguez to record the third out, which is normally a formula for success, However, Dominguez was not particularly sharp on this night and walked two batters to load the bases. (He also threw two wild pitches, but the walks essentially negated them.)

With Chris Davis - perhaps the least valuable player in baseball this season - at the plate, Dominguez should have been able to escape the jam easily. But as I’ve said, very little was easy on Tuesday. It required an exceptional play from Maikel Franco (as well as Carlos Santana) to get the final out.

In the ninth inning, despite an error by Cesar Hernandez that put the tying run on second base, Dominguez was able to strike out the final two batters to preserve the victory.

It certainly wasn’t easy, but difficult wins count just as much. With Aaron Nola scheduled to face struggling rookie starter David Hess in Wednesday’s matinee, it seems like they have a chance to record yet another victory. But I have a feeling, it won’t be easy.