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Wheely Good: Phillies 2, Pirates 1

Hit the ground runnin’, take a look around the Pitt

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Phillies’ six-game road trip kicked off with a win on the wrong side of the Commonwealth on Friday night (JK, yinz are cool).

Kyle Schwarber came into the night with five hits in eight at-bats against Pirates’ starter, Mitch Keller, including three doubles. Schwarber led off the game with another double off Keller and followed that up in his second AB with his first home run off of the righthander to open the scoring for the evening.

The two-run blast also brought home Brandon Marsh, who led off the inning by working a nice seven-pitch walk.

Schwarber would tack on three walks (two natural, one intentional) for a perfect on base percentage on the night, raising the ol’ OBP to a healthy .317 on the season.

Zach Wheeler was brilliant all night, sitting down the first ten batters he faced, including six punch outs, before conceding a one-out single to Pirates’ left fielder, Bryan Reynolds, in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a walk to former Phil, Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates would get one back on a double down the right field line by Pirates’ first baseman, Ji Man Choi.

Wheeler’s night was cut short in equal parts by god(s?) and the PNC Park grounds crew. With two outs and a 1-2 count to Pirates’ third baseman, Jared Triolo, a heavy rain began to pass through. First base umpire and crew chief, Brian O’Nora, made the tough call to suspend proceedings before Wheeler could attempt a strike three to end the inning. Not ideal from our side of things but it was heavy enough that it was probably the safe way to go.

The rain would pass through quickly, giving Wheeler a short enough window to stay warm and come back in the game. However the grounds crew ran into some issues with the tarp, which they could not pull all the way to cover the first base line.

Jeff Hoffman came in to pitch when play resumed, so Wheeler was credited with a line of 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 1 R, 11 K on 90 pitches. Hoffman delivered one slider to poach what would have been Wheeler’s 12th strikeout to end the seventh inning.

Hoffman would strike out the leadoff man in the bottom of the eighth inning before allowing a single to Pirates’ pinch hitter, Josh Palacios. Rob Thomson brought in Gregory Soto to get the lefty-lefty matchup against slugger, Jack Suwinski, who Pirates’ manager, Derek Shelton pinch hit for with righty Connor Joe. Quite the chess match.

Soto would allow a single to Joe to put runners on first and second before inducing Reynolds to hit a grounder to second for an inning-ending double play.

Phils would load the bases in the top of the ninth but couldn’t get any runs across the plate. The one-run margin was all they would need as Craig Kimbrel locked down the ninth inning for his 17th save in 18 opportunities.

For their part, Pirates’ pitchers also racked up the Ks, fanning 12 batters.

Trea Turner was back in the lineup after his two-day sabbatical intended to recover his mojo. Other than a nice play and throw to get the final out in the fifth inning, his struggles continued with an 0-5 night at the plate. Over the last 10 days, Turner has four hits in 33 at-bats.

Despite going 0-5, he did manage to reach first base twice, thanks to just beating out a fielder’s choice in the fifth inning and a Pirates’ fielding error in the ninth.

The month of July can’t end soon enough for Nick Castellanos. He went 0-4 with three strikeouts tonight, dropping his average for July to .169.

Aaron Nola will oppose Pirates’ youngster, Quinn Priester, tomorrow night as the Phils’ look to extend the win streak to four and collect their second straight series victory.