Bailey Falter came into Sunday night hoping to eliminate his first-inning issues this season with a 1.149 OPS allowed.
Things didn’t go as planned once again for Falter, Jeremy Peña led off the first with a single right back up the middle, Alex Bregman walked on 6 pitches, and Yordan Alvarez on 4, loading up the bases with no outs.
Falter worked out of it only allowing a run. José Abreu grounded into a double play to make it 1-0 and Kyle Tucker barely missed an inside fastball for a flyout to right.
JT Realmuto answered right back in the second, taking a hanging sweeper into the Crawford boxes to tie the game.
In the bottom ½ of the second, David Hensley popped a curveball to center but Brandon Marsh couldn’t quite make the sliding grab. After 2 quick outs, Martin Maldonado took a hanging curveball to right that was just out of the reach of a leaping Nick Castellanos.
The Phillies threatened José Urquidy in the fourth, Trea Turner blooped a single into left and Kyle Schwarber walked. However, they just couldn’t bring anyone home, Castellanos flew out to right, Marsh to center, and JT popped out to first.
This sequence would haunt the Phillies the very next inning, Jake Myers took a hanging curveball to the Crawford boxes to make it 3-1.
Kody Clemens was the DH tonight over a struggling Jake Cave, likely signaling a future roster move when Bryce Harper returns. Clemens made his case stronger with a home run to left to cut the deficit in half.
Once again, the Astros respond right back off Falter. Bregman led off with a walk and Alvarez hit a 37.7 mph check-swing single to third base, beating the left-handed pull shift.
After an Abreu pop-out, Tucker got jammed on an inside fastball but it didn’t matter, a bloop single to left gave the Astros a 4-2 lead. Connor Brogdon came in to try and get them out of the inning. Hensley struckout and Myers hit a ground out to short.
Something wasn’t right with Urquidy in the sixth, he unintentionally hit Schwarber with a fastball out and missed badly on two pitches to Castellanos. After the Astros trainer came out, he was removed for Hector Neris. Castellanos struck out on a splitter, Marsh walked, and JT got jammed on a sinker and flew out to right-center.
The Phillies once again threatened in the seventh with back-to-back singles from Edmundo Sosa and Bryson Stott off Rafael Montero. With two outs, Turner swung and missed at three straight fastballs to end the inning.
In the Eighth, the Phillies catch a huge break. Schwarber walked and Castellanos moved him over to second on a swinging bunt. Realmuto recorded his second RBI of the night with two outs when Bregman got in-between on a chopper to third, 4-3.
The Phillies bullpen matched the Astros with Brogdon, Gregory Soto, and Luis Ortiz pitching scoreless outings. They did their part to keep the Phillies in the game.
In the ninth, Ryan Pressly looked as good as ever, striking out Marsh on a slider (bringing me flashbacks from Game 5), forcing Sosa and Stott groundouts to wrap things up.
Phillies fly to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers tomorrow night. First pitch is at 10:10 with Taijuan Walker facing Tony Gonsolin