Citizens Bank Park is seeing a lot of homers lately, isn’t it? Coors Field might get jealous. But altitude has nothing to do with it, and this epidemic of dingers can’t be solved with a humidor. It’s all Philly Power, and the reeling Angels got a firsthand look at it tonight.
Taijuan Walker started the game in inauspicious fashion, hitting wunderkind Nolan Schanuel with a pitch and allowing a single up the middle to Shohei Ohtani. Two outs, via strikeout and popup, provided encouragement. But Luis Rengifo singled to score Schanuel, and once again the Phillies trailed in the first. Old friend Mickey Moniak bunted, an odd decision that nevertheless paid off as he reached safely and loaded the bases. Another former Phillie, Logan O’Hoppe, made good contact, but good fielding by Trea Turner ended the inning.
The Phillies came out to face Lucas Giolito, who had to deal with that most dreaded of things for a pitcher: Leadoff Kyle Schwarber. Schwarber couldn’t repeat his first inning heroics from yesterday. But Trea Turner played Substitute Schwarbs, knocking one over the left field wall to knot the score up.
With 2 outs in the top of the 4th, Randal Grichuk walked and Schanuel doubled to put runners on second and third. Walker pitched to Ohtani, but the call to intentionally walk him came after a few balls. Brandon Drury knocked one up the middle, with the ball taking a bad hop to dart just past the glove of a diving Turner, and the score was 3-1.
Turner walked to start the Phillies’ half of the 4th, and that brought Bryce Harper to the plate. He did what he does, which is to say he came up big: a homer to right to once again tie the game. The Phillies put a couple more baserunners on through walks, but couldn’t send any of them home.
As the broadcast team openly mused that Moniak wanted to show the Phillies just what they had missed by trading him, said former Phillie used a combination of a good liner and blazing speed to get a one-out triple in the 5th. Whether or not revenge was on his mind, it was an impressive display of his talent. However, a popout and a strikeout stranded him. That gave the Phillies another opportunity to take their first lead of the night, and they took advantage. Jake Cave singled, and Trea Turner continued his second-half tear by hitting his second homer of the night and giving the Phillies a 5-3 lead.
After getting two outs in the top of the 6th, Walker was replaced with Matt Strahm, ensuring a fresh arm against Ohtani. Strahm ended the inning by getting the superstar to strike out on a foul tip. The Halos made their own pitching change, with Aaron Loup taking over for Giolito in the 6th; he navigated through the half-inning without allowing a run. Other than the insertion of Johan Rojas for Jake Cave, the 6th ended quietly for the Phils.
Things got hairier for the Fightins in the 7th, with singles from Brandon Drury, Luis Rengifo, and Moniak scoring one and chasing Strahm. Jeff Hoffmann came into the game with 1 out and runners on first and second. He induced a flyout from O’Hoppe and a grounder from Hunter Renfroe to preserve the narrowed lead.
Dominic Leone came in after two outs in the bottom of the 7th, and issued a pass (intentional) to Harper and another (not intentional) to Castellanos. Stott made good contact, but a nice catch from Moniak ended the inning.
Gregory Soto came out of the bullpen for the 8th and put the Angels down in order, ending the inning by taking a nice flip from Harper to put Ohtani out at first. Alec Bohm opened up the bottom of the 8th by doubling. Marsh grounded a ball that glanced off of the glove of the diving Drury, sending Bohm home and extending the Phillies’ lead to 2.
Kimbrel was sent out to finish it off. Drury lined out to right, Mike Moustakas flew out to center, and Rengifo grounded into a 6-3 putout. Game over, and 4 straight wins for the Phillies.
The Phillies continue the series against Los Angeles tomorrow night at 6:40. Expect more dingers.