PHILS INSIDER

Matt Moore turns jeers to cheers in brilliant win over Reds

PHILS INSIDER

You just never know in the crazy game of baseball.

One day, you're booed off the field.

The next, you're cheered like a conquering hero.

Matt Moore has experienced both ends of it this week. 

The left-hander pitched six no-hit innings in leading the Phillies to a much-needed 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday afternoon.

The performance came just four days after he faced four batters and was tagged for three hits and three runs while pitching in relief in a 5-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Moore was booed lustily as he walked off the mound after that appearance, which left his ERA at an unsightly 6.79.

He was pressed into starter's duty Saturday -- because the Phils have three other starting pitchers on the injured list -- and heard nothing but cheers from the crowd of 25,100.

The win left the Phils at 61-56. They entered the day tied for first place in the NL East with Atlanta. They will look to win the series Sunday behind Aaron Nola.

Moore walked two and struck out eight in his six innings of work. He was removed at 76 pitches because he had not started since July 27 and manager Joe Girardi wanted to protect his arm.

"God, he was outstanding, and I hated to take him out," Girardi said. "We just felt like we couldn't push him any further. He was brilliant. I loved the way he was throwing, and they were in a tough part of the order. If the circumstances were different and he was more built up, as well as he was throwing, maybe you go a little further.

 

"The big thing is, I can't get caught up in the emotion. I have to do what's right for the team. I understand people would like to have seen (the no-hit bid). I would love to have seen it. I wish he would have been built up. I don't want to pull him there, but for the good of our team, I felt it was the right move and that's what I'm supposed to do.

"I told him, 'We need you to make another start and I can't hurt you.' He understood. We have a long way to go. We need people to step up and he stepped up today."

How unexpected was Moore's gem? 

In his previous two starts, July 22 and 27, respectively, he gave up 13 hits and 12 runs in 10 innings.

He was removed from the rotation -- for the second time this season -- after that.

The bullpen preserved Moore's masterpiece, but not the no-hitter. Hector Neris sailed through the seventh, but Archie Bradley allowed a solo homer to Tyler Stephenson in the eighth to lose both the no-hitter and the shutout. Bradley allowed a second hit in the inning before Ian Kennedy closed out the win in the ninth.

The Phillies' bats, quiet lately, finally made some noise with eight hits, including two homers, a triple and a double. Ronald Torreyes, starting again at third base in place of slumping rookie Alec Bohm, smacked a solo homer to left against Cincinnati starter Luis Castillo in the third inning. J.T. Realmuto doubled home a run with two outs in the sixth and Travis Jankowski had a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh. Bryce Harper tripled home a run in the eighth, scoring on an error and Andrew McCutchen added a solo homer as the Phils pulled away.

Moore had an important sacrifice bunt preceding Realmuto's big double in the sixth. By that time, Moore had thrown his last pitch of the day. The pitcher received an appreciative ovation as he headed back to the dugout after the bunt.

On the mound, Moore used a four-pitch mix and everything worked. His fastball averaged 93.3 mph and topped out at 94.6 mph. He also used a changeup, curveball and cutter. The changeup was a weapon. He got seven swing-and-misses with the pitch and finished off four of his strikeouts with it.

Moore will get another start Friday night in San Diego because Zach Eflin (knee tendinitis) is not ready to come off the injured list.

The Phils would surely take another unexpectedly brilliant start if he's got one in him.

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