The Phillies opened a crucial day by winning their suspended game against the Marlins, 4-2, in 10 innings.
J.T. Realmuto hit a walk-off, two-run homer off of Marlins reliever Yimi Garcia. There was a runner on third with one out so the game was going to end in that spot regardless of whether the ball went over the wall.
"I didn’t really care either way," Realmuto said after celebrating with teammates. "I knew I won the game so that’s why the fist pump came out immediately."
Saturday’s game was halted in the top of the 10th when Jose Alvarado had a 1-1 count on Jon Berti with a runner on second base. There was a torrential downpour in South Philly and after the second rain delay of the night, the game was suspended and resumed Sunday afternoon prior to the teams’ series finale.
Alvarado picked things up by striking out Berti and delivering a 1-2-3 inning to put the Phils in position to walk it off.
"He’s a blast. When he’s filling up the strike zone, he’s virtually unhittable," Realmuto said.
The fourth and final game of the weekend between the Phillies and Marlins pits Zack Wheeler against left-hander Braxton Garrett, who’s pitched all of 19 big-league innings. Wheeler has allowed one earned run in his last 14 innings to the Marlins and has had double-digit strikeouts in three of his last five starts against them.
The Phillies are 0-3-2 in their last five series against the Marlins and 1-6-2 in their last nine. With a win in Game 2 Sunday, they'll snap that long skid.
The Phils woke up Sunday with the ability to end the day one, two, three or four games out of first place in the NL East. The best-case scenario of two wins over the Marlins and a Mets loss to the Pirates could have the Phils as close to the top of the division as they’ve been since May 19.
Beyond that, the Mets are vulnerable right now. In their first weekend back from the All-Star break, they placed Jacob deGrom on the injured list with forearm tightness and lost Francisco Lindor for weeks with an oblique strain.
The Mets have lost four of their last five games to the Pirates, who are 20 games under .500. They’ve blown ninth-inning leads in two of the last three, and on Saturday allowed nine runs in the final two innings of a game they led by six runs in the eighth.
The trade deadline is less than two weeks away and the Phillies will not be selling. They’ve played well enough lately to put themselves in position to catch the Mets, who have spent 69 of the season’s 90 days atop the NL East. The Phils knew the month of July was important to convince the front office that buying made more sense and they’ve responded by winning three straight series and going 9-4.
The Phils were three outs from winning Saturday’s night game without issue when Ranger Suarez blew a two-run lead and a monsoon followed. After about 50 minutes, the game was suspended and resumed prior to Sunday afternoon’s series finale. It was the first suspended game at Citizens Bank Park since Game 5 of the 2008 World Series.
"The reason we were playing today is on the offense, it’s not on Ranger," Realmuto said. "We should have spread it out, created more distance."