This game started out as a preview of what the Phillies might be acquiring in the form of Chris Archer. The rumors of the team making an early move to solidify the rotation have been loud and Archer’s name has been mentioned often, but as the game wore on, it was his counterpart, the one he could be replacing in the rotation that stole the show.
In a game as well pitched as this one was, it was important for the Phillies to get ahead first and get a lead since the performances of Arrieta haven’t exactly been....good. So naturally, in the bottom of the third, the Pirates used some sloppy defense to score the first run. A single from Archer was bookended by a groundout and a strikeout, meaning the team needed one out to end the inning harmlessly. Instead?
Error on the shortstop, inning continues.
So, of course, two batters later, Brian Reynolds singles home Archer and the Pirates take the lead. It would be the only run they’d get in the game. Arrieta was on his game today. He allowed only five hits all day and the one run, which was unearned. He kept the Pirates off balance all game, using his defense effectively.
As for the offense, they were stymied for much of the game themselves. They didn’t do a whole lot worth mentioning until they got into the sixth. Bryce Harper led off with a double and was sent home to score when J.T. Realmuto singled him home, tying the game at one. Realmuto would move to second on the play, which played a large part in what happened next. Jay Bruce struck out and that’s when the craziness started.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton decided to not pitch to Andrew McCutchen, intentionally walking in order to pitch to the struggling Scott Kingery. It worked, in a way, as Kingery flied out, but with a man in scoring position still, Adam Haseley singled and drove in Realmuto, getting what proved to be the winning run across.
It was all the team would need, since the bullpen took over the game and shut it down. Hector Neris continued his solid run of closing after a brief few hiccups and the seventh win in a row was safe.
Arrieta was wonderful as we have already stated. The bullpen continued its run of dominance and the Phillies have now moved into first place, a game ahead of the Mets and Braves.