Zack Wheeler delivered another gem and Kyle Schwarber made history as the Phillies easily handled the Padres for a 5-1 win in the series’ rubber match. Wheeler delivered six innings of one hit ball while Schwarber started the game with his 10th leadoff home run of the season, setting a new franchise record.
Jimmy Rollins previously held the record for leadoff homers with 9 in his 2007 MVP season.
The Phillies had an opportunity to add more in the first after Schwarber’s blast, as they loaded the bases with no outs and forced Padres starter Michael Wacha to throw 28 pitches. But Bryson Stott flew out to Fernando Tatis Jr. in short right field and J.T. Realmuto and Brandon Marsh both struck out to end the inning.
It didn’t matter.
Fortunately for the Phillies, one run was all Zack Wheeler needed. Wheeler was perfect through 3.2 innings, dominating San Diego with his fastball that ended the day with 27 swings and 12 whiffs on 52 pitches. His fastball velocity held throughout the start, averaging 95.7 MPH and topping off at 97. Wheeler’s last fastball of the day was a swinging strike to Juan Soto in the sixth at 95 MPH.
Zack Wheeler's 2Ks in the 2nd. pic.twitter.com/wedO01LAd7— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) September 6, 2023
The Padres finally broke through with a walk from Soto in the fourth on a borderline call in a full count. Manny Machado followed with the first hit of the day for San Diego, a broken bat single that put runners at the corners. But Wheeler was able to get Xander Boegarts to ground out to end the only real threat he faced. He also got a little help from Brandon Marsh on a rare ball hit to the outfield where Marsh robbed Gary Sanchez of at least a double and possibly a home run in the fifth inning.
Wheeler has now thrown three straight quality starts and has 10 in his last 12 starts dating back to the beginning of July.
Bryce breaks through
Philadelphia seemed like they were going to continue their trend of stranding runners on base after failing in the first inning. Edmundo Sosa led off the fourth with a single and advanced to second on a passed ball after Jake Cave struck out. Schwarber walked, reaching base for the second of three times in the game, before Alec Bohm lined out to right.
That brought the newly beardless Bryce Harper to the plate in the midst of an 0-20 slump since hitting his 300th home run. Harper fell behind in the count 1-2 before ripping a 106.5 MPH double into the gap to plate two runs, including Schwarber from first base.
Bryce Harper sans beard ends his 0-20 slump— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) September 6, 2023
Knocks in two runs with a double
J.T. Realmuto homered in the fifth for his 18th of the season and his third of the road trip. He entered the game with a .951 OPS on the road this season compared to .601 at home.
Marsh singled and Sosa walked before Cave hit a ball that got under the glove of Boegarts to plate another run, making it 5-0.
Bullpen held up.
Seranthony Dominguez was first on in relief of Wheeler and pitched a quick 1-2-3 inning on just 11 pitches. Jeff Hoffman entered in the eighth and allowed three base runners on a hit by pitch, a single, and a walk, but worked around it to throw a scoreless inning with two strikeouts and a pop up to the catcher from Tatis. Matt Strahm got the first two outs of the ninth quickly before a double by Boegarts and a single from Garrett Cooper broke up the shutout but was then able to get Jose Azocar to strikeout to end the game.
The Phillies are off tomorrow before returning home to face the Marlins in a three-game series. It should be noted that Miami placed both Sandy Alcantara and Jorge Soler on the injured list earlier today. Cristopher Sanchez will take the ball in Game 1 for the Phillies.