With the stench still fresh from game one, the Phillies took the field hoping to salvage a game from the doubleheader. Having the newly recalled Zach Eflin on the mound instead of a starry eyed rookie meant they stood a much better chance in this game. However, Eflin didn’t start out too well.
In the top of the first, Eflin gave up three straight doubles to start the game and before fans who had tickets to the doubleheader were able to sit back down, the Phillies were down 2-0. He’d get out of the inning without further damage, but you’d have to excuse fans for feeling like everything was going to come crashing down all over again. Luckily, Cesar Hernandez and Nick Williams got singles in the bottom half, giving some life to the team.
Enter Rhys Hoskins.
Hoskins seems to be on one of his hot streaks again and thank goodness. There really is no denying he’s still a streaky hitter at this point in his career, but those hot ones are something to behold. That home run would put the team up, 3-2. In the bottom of the second, relief ace Scott Kingery joined the party, snapping an 0 for 21 slide with a home run of his own.
With one out, Roman Quinn reached on an error, then advanced to second on a passed ball. Once there, his wheels were put on display as he stole third base with relative ease. Hernandez walked and was followed by an RBI single by Wilson Ramos, making the score 5-2. Williams followed with a ground ball that forced out The Buffalo at second and set the stage for a weird play. With Hoskins batting attempted what looked like a delayed steal that caused all sorts of confusion. Only a nifty slide at home by Hernandez that was confirmed by relay saved a run. Interestingly as soon as Hernandez got to the dugout, Gabe Kapler got him for a quick discussion, making us wonder if perhaps a sign was missed or misinterpreted. Either way, the score became 6-2 and remained that way for a few innings as Eflin cruised through 6 innings.
In that sixth, the Phillies struck again when Hernandez doubled in Quinn (who stole another base!), then Williams had a trapped ball call overturned giving him an RBI single and the Phillies an 8-2 lead after six innings. All was not so comfortable as the Mets scored two in the seventh on an RBI double by Amed Rosario and an RBI single by Michael Conforto, making it 8-4. The Phillies would get one back in their half of the seventh on back to back doubles from Carlos Santana and Maikel Franco, making it 9-4. The Mets being the Mets, they had to raise a little stink in the ninth, scoring one run before Kapler was forced to go to his closer. Thank goodness Seranthony came in to shut that down, ending the game before it got weird.
Eflin, after the first three batters, was great. He gave this team 6 2⁄3 innings of very effective baseball, something they sorely needed after last night’s bullpen game and this afternoon’s drubbing. Should the team make a postseason series, he’s probably ahead of Nick Pivetta at this point to be included in the rotation. It was also nice to see the first four batters go a combined 9 for 17 with five runs scored, six runs batted in and three extra base hits. If they can keep clicking, it’ll give the offense the shot in the arm they have needed.