Stubbs' walk-off homer rescues Phillies, wins them a series


After delivering eight-plus innings of one-run ball that on any other day would have made him the star of the game Wednesday, Kyle Gibson shared something that he picked up years ago from CJ Glander, his coach back at Greenfield Central High School in Indiana.

"Baseball is a game of when," Gibson said. "I was taught that by my high school coach.

"It's about when you get the big hit, when you make the pitch, when you make the nice play."

This little bit of wisdom fueled Gibson's faith that the Phillies, after a mostly frustrating day at the plate, would find a way to score the runs needed to beat the Miami Marlins.

It took until the Phillies were down to their last strike, but they did find a way to win -- in dramatic, can-you-believe-it fashion.

Garrett Stubbs ended up as the star of the day when he launched a three-run homer into the right-field seats with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Phillies to a 3-1 win.

Stubbs, the Phillies' backup catcher, was in the lineup because J.T. Realmuto got the start off after a night game Tuesday. 

The Phillies squandered a four-run lead in the seventh inning of that game and a one-run lead in the ninth inning and lost, 11-9. 

Wednesday's rebound win was the team's 11th in the last 13 games and 10th in 12 games under new skipper Rob Thomson. The Phils have won four straight series under Thomson.


"Topper is the man," Stubbs said. "He's keeping the good energy up. I think you can see it in the dugout."

Before Stubbs' heroics, it wasn't looking good for the local nine. Gibson pitched brilliantly, giving up just a solo homer off the left-field foul pole to Miguel Rojas and not walking a batter while pitching into the ninth. Run support was an issue. Miami lefty Daniel Castano, called up when scheduled starter Pablo Lopez was scratched with a wrist injury, pitched 6 2/3 scoreless innings and consistently got big outs with Phillies runners on base.

The Phils were a ghastly 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position when the lefty-hitting Stubbs came to the plate with Alec Bohm (one-out single) and Realmuto (pinch-hit walk) on base with two outs in the ninth.

Facing Miami lefty Tanner Scott, Stubbs worked the count to 2-2 and unloaded on a slider. It was gone off the bat and though Stubbs had only homered twice previously in his big-league career, both this season, he knew it was gone. He admired the flight of the ball for a second or two then spiked his bat, shouted toward the dugout and ran around the bases as his teammates piled joyously out of the dugout.

"It was a pretty cool moment to even get the opportunity to be in that position," Stubbs said. "The guys had some great at-bats before for me to even have the chance to hit a homer."

Asked to describe the feeling of connecting for his first walk-off hit in the majors, Stubbs struggled -- then delivered.

"I couldn't tell you," he said. "There was a lot of excitement and a lot of adrenaline. By the time I got home, everyone was crowding me and I felt like I was going to throw up. The adrenaline was awesome.

"I just tried to do the best I could to put a good swing on the ball and if it goes out, it goes out."

Though it was frustrating for the fans to see Phillies hitters start the day 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position and waste a leadoff triple by Rhys Hoskins with the heart of the order coming up in the sixth, the players remained even-keeled leading up to Stubbs' big hit.

"If you stay on your plan and if you keep giving yourself opportunities, you'll come through at some point," Gibson said.

In other words, you'll have your when moment.

"I'm really happy for Stubby," Thomson said. "We kept battling and grinding right till the end."

Gibson's ability to keep the game close was huge in the win. So was Connor Brogdon's work in the top of the ninth.

Now the Phils face a test as they head to Washington for five games against a Nationals team that has the worst record in the NL. There can be no let-up for these Phils, not after the hole they dug that led to Joe Girardi's firing. They need to keep winning series.


"The message I've said is these are major-league teams, anyone can beat anyone," Thomson said. "We need to be consistent in our preparation and lay it all out there.

"Winning in your division is huge. We need to go down there and play some good ball. Getting the win today is huge. It gives us back a little momentum getting on that train for Washington."