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Demote this! Phillies 6, Pirates 5

Sean Rodriguez hit a game-winning home run, because of course he did

Just as we all expected, Sean Rodriguez was the hero.
Heather Barry

This was a weird one. It felt like a loss when the Pirates scored four runs in the seventh inning to take a 4-2 lead. It felt like a win when Bryce Harper (new dad strength!) and Corey Dickerson homered in the eighth to put the Phillies back on top. And when Hector Neris gave up a game-tying home run to Josh Bell in the ninth, it felt like we might be in for a long night. But thanks to Sean Rodriguez’s home run in the bottom of the 11th, it ended up being a 6-5 win.

It’s safe to say that Phillies fans are feeling a little better about Rodriguez than they were earlier in the day. To accommodate Harper’s return, Maikel Franco was demoted (on his birthday!) and many fans questioned why Franco was sent down instead of Rodriguez.

The Phillies bench as a whole has been vilified lately, but they contributed quite a bit to the win. Brad Miller started the Phillies scoring with a solo home run in the fourth, and in the bottom of the ninth, their reserve players did their best to win the game.

While the Phillies deserve credit for the comeback victory, the Pirates seemed just as determined to lose. Reliever Chris Stratton allowed six runners to reach base across the ninth and tenth innings, but somehow the Phillies were unable to get any of them home. (Although it certainly looked like he should have walked home the winning run in the ninth.)

Meanwhile, it felt like every time the Pirates got a runner aboard, they attempted to steal against J.T. Realmuto with predictable results.

Realmuto threw out three runners and contributed three hits. The rest of his game was so good, that I’ll forgive him getting doubled off second base in the tenth.

If the Phillies are going to reach the playoffs, it will likely be on the backs of stars like Harper and Realmuto. But it’s nice to know that the bench players are capable of chipping in every once in a while too.