Coming into this series, the Phillies had taken 2 out of 3 from the big, bad Dodgers. They were in first place by a few games. Sure, the Cardinals had won four in a row, but the Phillies were at home and they were hitting the ball.
Vince Velasquez has actually been pretty good this year, coming into this one with an ERA near 3. He was lasting deep into games, not getting his pitch count too high early on as he is wont to do. Today though, he got off to a rough start.
The Cardinals banged him around for three runs in the first, starting with his loading the bases with two singles and a walk. He struck out cleanup hitter (!) Brad Miller for the first out and could have gotten out of it with a simple double play. He got that groundball, but the only thing Didi Gregorius could do with it was get the out at first and let the first run score. Harrison Bader followed with a two-run single before the inning ended on a strikeout.
The Phillies would chip away though, starting with an Adam Haseley two-run home run in the second inning to bring the deficit to one, then Bryce Harper tied with a solo shot in the third. The Phillies then took the lead with a home run from Didi Gregorius in the bottom of the fifth as Velasquez continued to cruise along after his rough first inning. Like I said, he’s been good so he’s earned the benefit of the doubt thus far in the season. When he left for a pinch hitter in the sixth, with as well as the bullpen has pitched, you’d believe the game was well in hand.
Ranger Suarez entered in the seventh, got the first two outs rather easily before he walked Tommy Edman. Then Tyler O’Neill stepped up to the plate.
Suarez, who’s been quite good against righties this year, hung changeup to O’Neill, who did what you’re supposed to do with that type of pitch and gave the Cardinals a 5-4 lead. They’d pick up another one in the eighth that sealed the Phillies fate and the team from St. Louis had their sixth win in a row.
The team will hope to avoid the sweep tomorrow afternoon.