A big game from Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto led the offense on this night.
Oh, and Andrew McCutchen. He’s good.
This games was pretty uneventful for the first four innings. Both Caleb Smith, the Marlins starter, and Aaron Nola hung zeroes up on the scoreboard, mixing pitches, scattering a few hits, but generally staying out of trouble.
That came to an end for Smith in the bottom of the fifth. Roman Quinn drew a one out walk, then advanced to second when Miguel Rojas bobbled a Jean Segura grounder and everyone was safe. That brought up Harper.
Harper had enough of the scorelessness and drove a 3-2 fastball into the bullpens, making the score 3-0. Realmuto followed it up with a solo shot and suddenly, it was 4-0.
The Marlins got one back in the sixth when Matt Kemp (!) doubled as a pinch hitter, then scored on a wild pitch two batters later. Rojas tried to make up for his error when he doubled home Jesus Aguilar in the seventh, driving Nola from the game, but the game didn’t get closer than that. That’s because in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies loaded the bases on a Segura single and walks to Realmuto and Scott Kingery, bringing McCutchen to the plate.
Now, Cutch has generally flown under the rader this simseason. While he was recuperating, Jay Bruce lit the league on fire, then entered into a platoon with McCutchen to start. When McCutchen starting hitting his stride, he entered the starting lineup for good. He’s put up decent numbers, but the contributions have largely been unheralded. Tonight, though, in this inning, he made his presence felt. Drilling a first pitch fastball into left field stands, he brought home all the runs on a grand slam, making it 9-2. The Marlins would get another in the ninth, but the game was well out of hand by then.
The Phillies are now one game behind Atlanta for the division lead and 2 1⁄2 back of St. Louis for the final wild card spot. They’ll welcome back Spencer Howard to the mound tomorrow night against Miami.