It took eleven innings, a brief rain delay, and the contributions of heroes both expected and unexpected, but the Phillies came away with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates that allowed them to capture their second straight series at PNC Park.
Newly acquired Drew Smyly got the start for the Phillies, and considering he had an ERA of 8.47 before his arrival, expectations were low. But surprisingly, he pitched well, limiting the Pirates to one run in six innings. Unfortunately, Pirates starter Dario Agrazal was similarly effective, matching Smyly with a six inning, one-run outing.
The game turned into a battle of bullpens, with neither team able to produce much offense, as ten innings came and went. The Pirates threatened in the tenth, getting a runner to third base with one out against Ranger Suarez, but with some defensive help from Maikel Franco, Suarez was able to escape.
With the game extended, Rhys Hoskins came to the plate in the tenth. Hoskins has struggled lately, and he’s certainly hit longer home runs in his career, but as long as the ball clears the fence, it counts all the same.
Suarez remained in the game for the bottom of the inning. It feels that the Phillies have often been burned by leaving a pitcher in the game after a stressful inning, but Suarez continued his emergence as one of the team’s best relievers by closing things out.
The Phillies have now won their first post-All-Star break series, and with two games looming against the last place Tigers, they should have an opportunity to further add to their win total.