Welcome to Philly, Asdrubal Cabrera.
The Phils' newest everyday player led them to a four-game sweep over the Marlins with a dramatic, game-winning home run in the eighth inning Sunday.
Cabrera untied things with a high drive to right field, his second homer in as many days and his 20th of the season. It made Pat Neshek a winner after his 1-2-3 top of the eighth.
With the 5-3 win, the Phils have won five games in a row after suffering four straight losses.
Sunday's game was scoreless entering the bottom of the sixth, when the Phillies scored three two-out runs to give Aaron Nola a lead. In a prime spot to wrap things up, Nola and Seranthony Dominguez gave it all back in the next half-inning.
The Braves and Nationals also both won on Sunday. Atlanta came back from a late three-run deficit to beat the Mets in extras.
At 63-48, the Phillies are 1½ games ahead of the Braves and six ahead of the Nats. The Phils are just three wins shy of last year's total, and they're on pace for a 92-70 finish.
Not Nola's best day
An example of Nola's greatness is that he didn't have his best stuff or command on this afternoon, he was squeezed by the home plate umpire and yet still hadn't allowed a run when the seventh inning began.
The seventh started with a ball clanging off Nola's glove for an infield single. Derek Dietrich followed with a two-run homer.
Nola allowed two runs on seven hits over six innings with two walks and two strikeouts.
The three times that Nola has had Larry Vanover as a home-plate ump, he's walked eight batters in 17 innings. Very un-Nola-like.
In 23 starts, Nola is 12-3 with a 2.37 ERA.
Odubel comes up clutch
He's had a miserable few weeks and had an ugly start to his sixth-inning plate appearance, but from one pitch to the next, from one second to the next, you never know what's coming from Odubel Herrera.
After falling behind 0-2 by flailing at sliders off the plate, Herrera delivered a clutch two-run single in between short and third to put the Phils on the board.
Herrera batted sixth on Sunday, the lowest he's hit all season. Herrera had batted third in each of his last 44 starts but ceded that spot to Nick Williams.
Perhaps the timely knock will result in some much-needed positive momentum for Herrera. Since June 25, he's hit .212 with a .280 on-base percentage.
Dominguez blows the lead
Seranthony Dominguez came on for Nola in the seventh inning, the earliest he has appeared in 18 outings since mid-June. Manager Gabe Kapler went to Dominguez in that spot because the Marlins had their three best hitters — Brian Anderson, Starlin Castro and Justin Bour — due up with nobody out.
Dominguez struck out Anderson and Castro but was taken deep to center by Bour. He finished the frame by striking out Martin Prado but the damage was done.
It may seem like Dominguez is not pitching as well as he was earlier in the season, but he's consistently avoided big hits like Bour's. Over his last 15 appearances, Dominguez has a 1.65 ERA and his opponents have hit .113. He has, however, walked nine in 16⅓ innings.
Tommy Hunter ended up with the save, his second of the year.
Home run reliance
The Phillies have become a very home-run-dependent team lately. Since the All-Star break, 48 of their 80 runs (60 percent) have come via the home run. That's 19 percent higher than in the first half.
The Phillies also have the fewest productive outs — i.e. groundouts or flyouts that advance runners, sacrifices — in the National League.
It's why they can look like world-beaters on a night like Saturday and go completely silent a game or two later.
The Phillies head out West for a six-game road trip through Arizona and San Diego. After this trip, the Phillies have just one series left outside the Eastern time zone: Sept. 24-27 in Colorado.
Another important series this week takes place in D.C., where the Nationals will host the Braves for four games beginning Tuesday.
The pitching matchups in Arizona will be a challenge, particularly the last two games.
Monday night at 9:40 — Jake Arrieta (9-6, 3.32) vs. Zack Godley (12-6, 4.46)
Tuesday night at 9:40 — Nick Pivetta (6-9, 4.75) vs. Zack Greinke (12-6, 2.96)
Wednesday afternoon at 3:40 — Vince Velasquez (8-8, 3.80) vs. LHP Patrick Corbin (8-4, 3.31)
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