Bryce Harper and Jean Segura were returning to the lineup tonight, bringing with them the hope that the offense would start to wake up and gather some consistency. The team has been searching for a way to get runs in more than one inning during a game, so adding two of your better hitters seemed like a good idea. They would do that tonight and so much more.
Facing Charlie Morton, the hope with the team was that they’d be able to scratch across a few runs during his outing, keeping the game close with Zach Eflin on the hill dealing his own kind of command. Fortunately for the Phillies, they did a whole lot more than just scratch across runs in the first inning. Andrew McCutchen would ground out to lead off, then was followed by a strikeout by Rhys Hoskins. However, thanks to a “wild pitch”, the ball got away from the catcher and Hoskins reached base. Harper would walk to follow, then both moved up 90 feet on a single by J.T. Realmuto. Alec Bohm singled next, keeping the line moving and putting the Phillies ahead, 1-0. Didi Gregorius would hit an infield fly, but Segura would save the inning with a two RBI single through a vacated second base thanks to the shift and the score became 3-0. Odubel Herrera followed with a tracer to the right center field stands, shocking Morton and the Braves with a six run first inning.
Odubel Herrera - Philadelphia Phillies (1) 3-run. pic.twitter.com/Vk2ZPStAbW— MLB HR Tracker (@hr_mlb) May 8, 2021
That home run seemed to be the one that broke the Braves’ back, but with Eflin coming up with two outs, you’d think that Morton would get out of it right?
Eflin would walk and Morton’s night would end without his getting out of that inning. Josh Tomlin would replace him and get out of the inning, but the damage was mostly done.
In the bottom of the second, Atlanta would get on the board with a home run by Dansby Swanson, eliminating any chance of back-to-back shutouts by Phillies pitchers, but it didn’t really matter much. They would get that run back in the top of the third when consecutive singles from Gregorius, Segura and Herrera loaded the bases. Eflin would strike out, but McCutchen would ground into a fielder’s choice that put the lead back to six runs, 7-1.
Staying that way until the fifth inning, the Braves would get a leadoff double from Swanson that was almost squandered when the next two hitters failed to drive him in, but with someone like Ronald Acuna on the roster, there is always a chance of danger lurking. Acuna would single to bring home Swanson and the Braves would make it 7-2, similar to a person in a rainstorm trying to light a match to get some fire started.
The Phillies would snuff that out with reckless abandon. The sixth inning saw an RBI single from Bohm, the seventh saw an RBI single from McCutchen and the eighth saw three runs plated when Harper doubled, Realmuto homered and Gregorius scored on another fielder’s choice. The home run by Realmuto is the 99th of his career, giving the team yet another hitter on the cusp of #100.
JT Realmuto to the seats! #Phillies #RingTheBell pic.twitter.com/tePCw90Pnl— The Sports Throne (@SportsThroneHub) May 8, 2021
All while this is going on, Eflin is just cruising along, minding his own business and scattering a few hits here and there, not getting any real threat from the Braves other than the runs they scored in the second and fifth innings. Girardi would pull him at 99 pitches in the seventh inning with two outs, a somewhat curious move, but one that can be understood since the team was up by seven at the time.
When the dust settled, the Phillies had sixteen hits on the night, including four from Segura and three from Realmuto. Multi-hit games from McCutchen, Harper, Bohm and Herrera also contributed to the win by the Phillies, their fifth in a row. The pitching set down the final 11 batters Atlanta sent to the plate, making it a nice, clean game for the team, one that they needed after all the close ones they have played in.
These two teams will face off again tomorrow night, one where the offense hopefully shows up yet again.