Admit it: You wrote this one off as a loss. After the game was delayed by an hour due to rain, and then Nick Pivetta started off by giving up home runs to two of the first Cardinals batters, it felt like this was going to be a long, dreary night for the Phillies.
Paul Goldschmidt with his 11th dinger.— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) May 29, 2019
Marcell Ozuna with his 15th long-ball.
Off to a great start! pic.twitter.com/Vp2uDbZIyH
And then something unexpected happened: Pivetta improved. After Marcell Ozuna’s home run, Pivetta retired the next eleven batters. By the time he exited the game after five innings, what initially appeared to be a disastrous outing turned into a decidedly not-horrible performance.
Nick Pivetta is done after five innings. He really recovered after a bad first inning. 5 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 6 K. It's something.— Matt Gelb (@MattGelb) May 29, 2019
Pivetta helped his own cause when he singled in the bottom of the third, and came around to score on a double by Bryce Harper. Harper’s hit cut the deficit to one run, and Cesar Hernandez gave the Phillies the lead with a mammoth home run into the upper deck.
Cesar Hernandez with 7 RBIs in last 8 games pic.twitter.com/EIPIl21QSP— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) May 29, 2019
This wasn’t a good night for the “Sign Craig Kimbrel!” crowd as the Phillies’ bullpen contributed four shutout innings to preserve the win. Edgar Garcia and Seranthony Dominguez combined to cover the seventh and eighth innings, and Hector Neris continued his season-long dominance in the closer role.
Hector Neris is up to 34 K in 94 batters faced (36.2%) as he crosses 32 IP— The Good Phight (@TheGoodPhight) May 29, 2019
One of 7 pitchers in MLB with a K% over 36 in 32+ innings
The end result was a feel-good win that marked the team’s largest comeback of the season. In recent years, that rough first inning would have doomed the Phillies to an uninspiring loss. But in 2019, the Phillies are showing us that it’s not necessarily how you start, but rather how you finish.