The Phillies were struggling.
Having lost four in a row at home had knocked them out of first place in the division and they were bound to face a solid A’s team in an interleague matchup. They had the shaky Jake Arrieta on the mound, so confidence was not high. Which Arrieta would turn up?
However, a hero would emerge. Two, in fact. Two of the unlikeliest heroes on the team.
It didn’t start off well, a common refrain this season for the simPhillies.
Arrieta walked Matt Olson with two outs, then gave up a two-run home run to the other Matt, this one’s surname being Chapman and the Phillies were in a quick 2-0 hole. That hole would get a bit deeper in the second inning when Stephen Piscotty homered to widen the lead for the A’s to 3-0. The Phillies, on offense, were stymied by the opener in the form of Joakim Soria for two innings before Mike Fiers took over.
Arrieta would settle in from there, not allowing another run for the remainder of his start, eventually going seven strong innings. The offense would begin their climb back into the game in the fourth when Andrew McCutchen walked to open the proceedings, then moved to second on a one out walk to J.T. Realmuto. Scott Kingery would rip a two-out single that scored McCutchen and gave the Phillies their first run of the game. It would stay that way into the seventh. Jay Bruce walked to leadoff, bringing up Kingery.
Kingery hasn’t been all that great this year in sim land, but on this game, he was the offense. He slammed Fiers’ 0-1 pitch into the left field seats and suddenly the game was tied at 3, sending virtual Citizens Bank Park into delirium.
The Phillies’ bullpen, which had been getting hammered as of late, held this lead throughout the remainder of the game. A combination of Victor Arano, Hector Neris, Adam Morgan and Robert Stock would combine for five innings of one hit ball, striking out eight and not allowing a walk. This dominance allowed the Phillies to send runners to the corners when Adam Haseley and Neil Walker singled in the twelfth, bringing up Andrew Knapp. Knapp took a Yusmeiro Petit pitch, drove it to the warning track, scoring Haseley and ending the ballgame.
The Phillies moved to 2 games behind Atlanta in the division. They and the A’s face off tomorrow afternoon at 4:05.