The Philadelphia Phillies ended their four-game losing streak with a rollercoaster 8-5 win over the Cleveland Guardians. Craig Kimbrel blew his first save of the year in the ninth before Bryce Harper put the Phillies ahead with a single up the middle in the tenth. They added three more runs before Yunior Marte walked a tight rope in the bottom of the tenth to hold on.
After taking an 8-4 lead in the top of the tenth, reliever Jeff Hoffman entered in the bottom half of the inning exactly one inning removed from his excellent extra innings showing against San Diego when he threw two scoreless innings. This time however, Hoffman was not able to record an out and allowed two walks and an RBI single to cut the lead to 8-5 and load the bases with no outs.
Marte then came into the game to face the teeth of the Guardians lineup, starting with Jose Ramirez. Marte was able to battle back from a 3-1 count, with some assistance from Ramirez, to get a flyout to short right field that didn’t score any runs. Josh Naylor then popped up to third base on two pitches before Marte was able to induce a routine groundout from Myles Straw to lock down the win and end the Phillies’ losing streak.
The Phillies were able to load the bases in the first inning with two outs but scored only one run on a balk by Cleveland opener Xzavion Curry. Curry walked three in the inning and threw just nine total strikes, but the Phillies weren’t able to drive anymore in.
Phillies starter Aaron Nola then promptly gave up a lead-off home run to Steven Kwan in the bottom of the first. Nola then allowed another home run to Andres Gimenez in the second inning that gave the Guardians a 2-1 lead. It was the 23rd home run Nola has allowed on the season, worst in the N.L. and four away from tying his career high of 27 long balls allowed in 2019.
Rebound and finishing strong
Nola allowed one more run on a groundout to Jose Ramirez in the third, but then he was able to settle in. He finished with just those three runs allowed in 7 IP with no walks and 7 strikeouts. Nola retired 11 of 13 after allowing the RBI groundout and the only two hitters to reach were singles before Alec Bohm’s throwing error in the seventh. After a wild pitch that moved the runner to second, Nola then got a fly out and a strikeout of pinch hitter Ahmed Rosario to end the inning and strand the then tying run at second to finish his day.
It wasn’t his best showing and the home run problems persisted, but Nola was able to keep the Phillies in the game long enough for their offense to finally come alive.
The Phillies offense went down in order twice after their first inning scoring threat. Curry retired seven in a row after the balk before being replaced in the fourth by Michael Kelly who worked around a walk and two stolen bases from Bryson Stott.
Brandon Marsh led off the fifth with a triple and Kyle Schwarber legged out an infield single after a Jake Cave strikeout to cut the Cleveland lead to 3-2. Trea Turner then ripped a double to left field that put runners on second and third with one out for Bryce Harper. Harper tied the game on a bizarre RBI groundout where he appeared to think it went foul and didn’t run while Schwarber scored from third in the confusion.
uh ... what just happened?— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) July 23, 2023
(We have a tie game!) pic.twitter.com/hVchZnEVlC
Brandon Marsh would later add another run on an RBI single in the sixth that was reminiscent of the Phillies botched flyball that led to their 1-0 loss on Saturday night. Jose Ramirez couldn’t hold onto the ball and it dropped between three Guardians, allowing J.T. Realmuto to score to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead.
A different streak ended
Gregory Soto worked around some wildness and a walk to throw a scoreless eighth before Craig Kimbrel took the mound for the ninth. Kimbrel allowed a single to Josh Bell to lead off the inning before inducing a double play ball. It looked like Kimbrel was on his way to his 17th save of the season until David Fry launched a fastball that wasn’t elevated enough over the left field wall for a home run.
It was Kimbrel’s first blown save of the season and the first run he’s allowed since June 8th, snapping a streak of 16 straight scoreless appearances.
Today was Craig Kimbrel's first blown save in 17 attempts. He had been continually protecting the slimmest of leads. Only 1 of his last 7 appearances has come with the Phillies up by more than a run.— Corey Seidman (@CSeidmanNBCS) July 23, 2023
Better late than never
The Phillies offense was finally able to put up a big inning in the tenth that started with a Trea Turner walk followed by a Bryce Harper single up the middle to score ghost runner Johan Rojas to make it 5-4. Harper had been excellent at first base all day, skillfully fielding the position and turning two double plays.
Start polishing Bryce Harper’s Gold Glove pic.twitter.com/xeGMvL9tIS— Crossing Broad (@CrossingBroad) July 23, 2023
Harper then stole second base, putting runners on second and third with no outs for Nick Castellanos, After a strikeout, Bryson Stott was intentionally walked to set up bases loaded and one out for J.T. Realmuto, who laced a fly ball to right for a sacrifice fly that scored Turner from third. Stott finished the day 0-1 with four walks, three steals, and a strikeout.
Alec Bohm would then add much needed insurance with an RBI single the other way that pushed the lead to 8-4 before the nerve-racking bottom of the tenth.