Coming into this game, both teams were hot. The Phillies had won nine out of ten while the Marlins, quietly, had won seven out of ten, including taking a series in Houston from the Astros. The pitching matchup was one of top billing, Sandy Alcantara against Aaron Nola, both throwing the ball extremely well of late. They’re the type of games where, if they live up to it, can be both thrilling and and tense at the same time.
This one lived up to it.
Both started out extremely well, breezing through the first two innings. In the bottom of the third, the Phillies struck first when they got two runners on against Alcantara thanks to one out singles from Kyle Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins, bringing Bryce Harper to the plate. In his first at bat, Alcantara wanted nothing to do with Harper, walking him on four pitches. Here, Harper sized up a 100 mile an hour fastball he liked and ripped it for an RBI double, scoring Schwarber and giving them the lead.
Bryce Harper's NL-leading OPS is now 1.011. pic.twitter.com/BsulxFSKrv— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 14, 2022
It stayed that way into the fifth when the Marlins got back to back doubles from Jon Berti and Miguel Rojas to tie the game at one. Both pitchers then resumed cruise control, carving up their respective lineups like a pair of skilled surgeons.
The seventh proved to be Nola’s undoing when he allowed a single to Berti with one out, then a stolen base that looked close enough to challenge, but was not done so by the Phillies, turned out to have a big impact. Instead of walking or even pitching around Rojas to put runners on first and second, Nola chose to pitch to him, which proved to be a mistake when Rojas ripped a pitch that was right down the middle of the plate.
So nice he did it twice!— Just Baseball (@JustBBMedia) June 14, 2022
Miggy Ro trades places with Jon Berti AGAIN to give the Marlins and Sandy Alcantara a 2-1 lead. pic.twitter.com/EA1CaBU2Rz
The rate at which Alcantara was pitching, that looked like it might be enough for Miami to control the game, but in the eighth, the Phillies woke up a bit. Alcantara, still in the game despite approaching 100 pitches, walked Hoskins and Harper to begin the inning, meaning he had to face J.T. Realmuto.
Realmuto has struggled this year, there is no doubt. He’s below average in most rate stats, even in this depressed offensive environment, but in the course of his Phillies career, he has felt like someone the team could count on. Instead, he grounded into a double play that advanced Hoskins to third, but looked like it might extinguish the threat. However, the Phillies were given a reprieve when manager Don Mattingly decided to go with Steven Okert with Didi Gregorius coming up.
The move would backfire.
With Sandy Alcantara out (and not thrilled about things), Didi Gregorius came up big pic.twitter.com/qoAOsuiHqu— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 14, 2022
It was a huge hit from Gregorius, tying the game with Alcantara on the bench for the remainder of it, giving the Phillies a chance to take the lead.
Seranthony Dominiguez came on in the ninth with Corey Knebel still out, setting down the side with relative ease, bringing the Phillies up in the ninth with a chance to win going away. Matt Vierling broke his bat on a bloop shot with one out, then stole second with two outs and Hoskins at the plate, an absolutely massive play as it turned out. Facing Anthony Bass, Hoskins got a slider that he liked and ripped a single into the alley that scored Vierling and won this game.
Just an outstanding win by this team. Taking this game where the opposition had arguably the best pitcher in the league going for them, that’s a big win.