Asking a team to win two games in a row isn’t a tall ask. Teams have been doing it for ages. It’s not something that is very hard, especially when that team sends their ace to the mound against another team that loses its best player to injury as the Brewers did with Christian Yelich. It seemed like the perfect time for the Phillies to begin winning games again.
Unfortunately, the start that the Phillies got off to didn’t portend great things. Aaron Nola struggled early with his stuff, giving up a leadoff double to Kolton Wong, then a one out single to Daniel Vogelbach to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead. They would load the bases with two outs, but Nola was able to wiggle out of it having allowed only the one run, putting the Phillies in position to stay close. Andrew McCutchen made sure that they didn’t need to wait long to get back even, homering to lead off the game for the Phillies offense on a long one to centerfield.
Andrew McCutchen - Philadelphia Phillies (3) Solo. pic.twitter.com/xSiA6iBZyJ— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) May 4, 2021
It seemed like once Nola saw that the game was tied, he went into ace-mode. He would set down 12 Brewers in a row, only having his streak broken by Wong again in the fifth when gave up a one out single. That wouldn’t do any damage as Nola got the next two hitters out.
All while Nola was dominating the Milwaukee lineup, the Phillies would put up some runs. The scoring would begin again when McCutchen came up with one out in the third and decided that he liked homering so much, he’d do it again.
Andrew McCutchen is taking on the Brewers by his damn self. Second homer of the game. pic.twitter.com/sAlNHlRdqv— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) May 5, 2021
Fortunately for the Phillies, they weren’t satisfied with only one run in that inning, no sir. J.T. Realmuto would reach on a two out error, followed by a single by Alec Bohm that sent Realmuto to third. Didi Gregorius would single in a run, then go to second when the throw went to try and (unsuccessfully) nail Bohm at third. That brought up Brad Miller, who took a first pitch from Eric Lauer and absolutely demolished it.
That gave the Phillies a seemingly comfortable lead, 6-1.
Now you gotta think: Nola is cruising, the offense is hitting, this should be an easy game the rest of the way, right? Ha, oh you.
Nola would immediately run into trouble in the sixth inning, allowing back-to-back leadoff singles to open the frame before getting Jackie Bradley, Jr. to go down looking for the first out. He would hit the next batter to load the bases and earn a mound visit from Caleb Cotham. He was nearing 100 pitches, but Joe Girardi would ride him and see what happened. His reward? Nola induced a shallow fly ball, followed by some gas on pitch #114 to end his outing for the night.
The Phillies wouldn’t score in their part of the sixth inning, which meant a new pitcher for the Phillies in the seventh inning. Enyel de los Santos, recently recalled, was summoned with a five run lead to show what he had, but alas, he wasn’t able to get in the game because.....well....
The #Phillies called in RHP Enyel De Los Santos to pitch the seventh, but apparently he isn't on the umpire's lineup card. So now he can't pitch. RHP David Hale is going to pitch.— Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki) May 5, 2021
An absolutely inexcusable mistake by Girardi, something that seems to be happening with alarming regularity lately, meant the team was forced to go with David Hale, who quickly proceeded to make things interesting by allowing the three batters he faced to all reach base, one of them scoring on a single that made it 6-2. Hale was mercifully removed from the game in favor of Jojo Romero, who did get two outs while allowing only one run and Bradley coming up. Bradley has struggled this year, but since this is the Phillies’ bullpen, he stood a chance. He would take advantage of that chance.
The Brewers, thanks to a “clerical error” that two different men in charge didn’t catch on the lineup card, pulled within one, 6-5 and put the pressure squarely on the Phillies.
Romero got the first out of the eighth inning before giving way to Sam Coonrod, who retired the next two hitters with relative ease. The Phillies couldn’t muster anymore offense against a very good Brewers bullpen, so that set the stage for tension filled ninth inning that belonged to Coonrod.
Now, we can all agree, Coonrod has been very good to start the season. I even wrote about how good he’s been to start the season. Would that mean the jinx was in?
Of course not! Though he made it a little scary, allowing men on the corners with two out, Coonrod finished the game off by getting Bradley to hit a lazy fly ball to left, ending the game and giving the team (gasp!) back to back wins for the first time since the beginning of the season.