PHILS INSIDER

Phillies survive another Neris meltdown, walk-off Yankees to get back to .500

PHILS INSIDER

All these walk-off wins are nice — and they certainly beat the alternative — but given their druthers, the Phillies would rather not get them this way.

No one in their right mind would.

For the second game in a row, closer Hector Neris gave up a home run in the top of the ninth inning to blow a lead, and for the second game in a row, the Phillies overcame it.

They rallied for a run in the bottom of the 10th to beat the New York Yankees, 8-7, on Saturday night in front of 38,450 at Citizens Bank Park.

Jean Segura became the first Phillie since Juan Samuel on June 21-22, 1985 to win consecutive games with a walk-off hit. Segura's infield hit against Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman scored Ronald Torreyes from third base.

By rule, Torreyes opened the bottom of the 10th on second base. He moved to third on a bunt by pinch-hitter Travis Jankowski.

The win was the Phillies' third straight on a walk-off hit as they improved to 31-31 to get back to .500 for the first time since May 22.

The last time the Phillies won three straight by walk-off? August 21-23, 2013.

It was easy to feel good about Wednesday night's walk-off win. Rookie Luke Williams clubbed a two-run homer, the first of his career, with two outs in the ninth to give the Phils a 2-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

But Thursday's walk-off win over Atlanta came after Neris allowed a game-tying solo homer to 2020 National League MVP Freddie Freeman in the top of the ninth and this one after he gave up two walks and a game-tying three-run homer to the Yankees' DJ LeMahieu, the 2020 American League batting champ.

 

Neris' struggles took none of the luster off the victories, in manager Joe Girardi's eyes.

"The bottom line is we won the game, right?" Girardi said. "Hector gave up a home run to the MVP last year, right? And LeMahieu is pretty good, too. The thing that hurt him were the two walks and that's what we have to take care of. 

"Hector, for the most part, has been really good for us this year. Closers go through it. We'll get him back on track and we'll go from there."

Girardi said his faith in Neris was unshaken.

"I had the pleasure of catching and managing the greatest closer of all time," he said, referring to Mariano Rivera. "I saw him blow saves. I did. The thing is, we've got to clear up the walks. That's what we've got to take care of."

Neris has blown four of his 13 save chances. He has struck out 33 and walked 11 in 25⅔ innings and opponents are hitting .191. He has allowed five home runs.

Clubhouses are not open to reporters so it was difficult to gauge what the two blown saves this week have done to Neris' confidence. Girardi was asked about his closer's psyche.

"I don't ever pretend to be a psychiatrist, but I'll make sure it's OK," Girardi said.

Archie Bradley got the win with a scoreless top of the 10th and showed his best fastball of the season, topping out at 95 mph.

Could he soon get a look at closer?

"That's the best Archie's thrown but I'm not making any changes," Girardi said.

Now, that doesn't mean someone else won't close if the Phillies have a save situation on Sunday. Neris threw 30 pitches — he was booed lustily after them — and will probably be unavailable. But starting Monday in Los Angeles, it sounds like he'll get the ball in a save situation. If there is one.

Aside from Neris' blown save, there was a lot of good in this game. The Phils had 14 hits and were 8 for 19 with runners in scoring position. Segura and Bryce Harper, who had been 3 for 18 on the homestand, both had three hits. Harper drove in two runs in a four-run first inning that chased Yankees starter Jameson Taillon. Alec Bohm had a pair of RBI singles. Odubel Herrera continued to produce in the leadoff hole with a pair of hits. He is batting .349 (15 for 43) in his last 10 games.

Vince Velasquez pitched five innings and allowed two runs.

The Phillies have won six of eight games since the calendar flipped to June. Aaron Nola pitches Sunday as the Phils go for the sweep.

"I think in all aspects, we're turning the corner," Velasquez said.

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