The Phillies began a six-game homestand with a dramatic 6-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in 11 innings on Monday night.
Sean Rodriguez won it for the Phillies with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the 11th.
Rodriguez had previously been 1 for 20 with 11 strikeouts in the month of August.
Rodriguez hit a 1-2 slider from reliever Michael Feliz. Rodriguez had swung through the previous two pitches, both sliders.
The Phillies entered the day 1 ½ game back in the NL wild-card race. They are 68-62.
What a miss
The win came after some wasted chances late in the game.
The Phillies got two walks and a base hit from pinch-hitter Andrew Knapp to load the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning for the top of the order.
A fly ball would have won the game, but Rhys Hoskins popped up to second base against reliever Chris Stratton.
Bryce Harper then came up, worked a full count and struck out swinging to end the threat.
In the 10th, the Phillies got the first two runners on base and came up empty after J.T. Realmuto was doubled off second on liner to centerfield by Jean Segura. Segura’s liner looked like a potential game-winning hit off the bat, but Pirates’ center fielder Starling Marte made a terrific catch at his shoe tops and fired to second to get Realmuto.
Hoskins hears it
Hoskins is in a hellacious slump. He is just 9 for 78 (.115) this month and 23 for 140 (.164) since thee All-Star break. He was 0 for 5 in this game with three strikeouts. He heard a smattering of boos after striking out in the eighth. He heard a lot of loud boos after popping out in the ninth.
The Phillies worked some two-out magic in coming from two runs down to take a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the eighth. Harper, just back from paternity leave, homered and Corey Dickerson belted a two-run homer against his former team to give the Phils the lead.
The lead did not last long as Hector Neris gave up a solo homer to Josh Bell in the top of the ninth.
The lefty-hitting Dickerson has made a huge impact with his bat recently for the Phillies. He has 11 RBIs in the last six games.
Big impact II
Realmuto legged out an infield hit to keep the eighth inning alive for Dickerson and his two-run homer. The Phillies’ catcher also gunned down two Pirates trying to steal second in the late innings. Realmuto has thrown out 32 runners this season.
Phillies starter Jason Vargas pitched one-run ball over the first six innings and took a 2-1 lead to the mound in the seventh. He allowed the first three batters of the inning to reach base on a single, an RBI double and a walk. Manager Gabe Kapler went to the bullpen and Jared Hughes gave up two-run single as the Pirates took a 4-2 lead.
Musgrove tough again
Pittsburgh starter Joe Musgrove held the Phils to two runs over six innings, both coming on a long homer by Brad Miller. Musgrove has given up just two earned runs in 12 innings against the Phils this season.
Cesar Hernandez did not start. The move was “a response, not a punishment,” to Hernandez’ not running out a ball in Sunday’s game (read more). Hernandez did enter the game in the top of the seventh inning when Scott Kingery exited with what the team called abdominal soreness.
Jay Bruce’s elbow strain has improved to the point where he’s taking batting practice. He took some big swings and showed power in early hitting Monday. Manager Gabe Kapler said Bruce would play for Double A Reading in Trenton on Friday and Saturday. He could be activated from the injured list as soon as Sunday. Bruce will likely be used just as a bat off the bench, and DH, in September. That bat could be valuable.
The Phillies send another lefty to the mound on Tuesday night when Drew Smyly (2-6, 6.99) takes on Pittsburgh lefty Steven Brault (3-3, 3.98). Smyly pitched six innings of one-run ball against the Pirates in July.
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