The doubleheader was disappointing. Given the opportunity to take both games of the twinbill, the offense fell flat on its face during game two. And with the Mets losing to the Pirates on Friday, the Phillies crept 1⁄2 game closer to the division lead even with the loss. It was a good night standings-wise. So entering Saturday three games back, they had another chance to make up some ground.
The first inning started out well. Jean Segura walked, then hustled his way to third when Bryce Harper grounded a ball to Miguel Rojas that he misplayed, leaving third base uncovered thanks to the shift. Segura outraced Jazz Chisholm, Jr. to the base and the team had runners on the corners. Andrew McCutchen would loft a flyball to the outfield and score Segura, giving the Phillies the early lead. Rhys Hoskins would follow with a ringing double to right center, scoring Harper from first and building the lead to 2-0.
From there, starter Vince Velasquez went onto cruise control. He has been very good lately against the Marlins and after some first inning hiccups, he settled in nicely. The only trouble he would run into was in the fifth when, in a steady rain, he lost some control with two outs and allowed two baserunners to threaten the lead. The Marlins smelled blood and sent Garrett Cooper up to pinch hit. Velasquez steadied the ship and induced a groundball that would end the threat before a delay was called in the bottom of the inning.
The issue for the Phillies all night would be a situation like what happened before the delay. Travis Jankowski led off with a single, then got to second on a sacrifice bunt by Velasquez. After the rain delay, John Curtiss, now pitching for the Marlins, threw a pickoff attempt into centerfield, allowing Jankowski to scamper to third. The issue was the Phillies couldn’t bring him in. It’s something they have struggled with all year, building on a lead they already have. It would come back to bite them.
Hector Neris and Archie Bradley would give the team three solid innings of relief, turning it over to Ranger Suarez in the ninth. Suarez has been so, so good this year. Tonight, he was not. He gave up an opposite field single to Marte, then faced Jesus Aguilar.
JESUS AGUILAR TWO RUN GAME TYING BOMB IN THE NINTH WE BELIEVE pic.twitter.com/pnquzvHwSs— Jared Carrabis (@Jared_Carrabis) July 18, 2021
Suarez would wiggle out of the remainder of the ninth and the Phillies would meekly go down in their half, meaning the game would go to extra innings.
Mother Nature had different ideas.
The game would get suspended and not be completely until Sunday with the ghost runner on second and Jose Alvarado on the mound. Alvarado got out of his inning with ease, setting the Phillies up with Jankowski on second.
Segura bunted him to second and J.T. proved why he’s the best catcher in baseball.
A big win for the Phillies, who’ll start their next game probably by the time you read this.