On a searing hot Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies didn’t exactly scald the baseball, but neither did the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Pitching was the star of the day for the Phillies as they sweated out an important 2-1 victory to avoid being swept in the three-game series.
The Phillies (60-55) will maintain at least a share of first place in the NL East when they open a three-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night.
The Phillies were outscored 13-2 in the first two games of the series with the Dodgers and had just 13 hits, 12 of which were singles.
The offense was not much better on Thursday. The Phils had just four hits, but at least they got some power in the form of a first-inning homer by Bryce Harper. It was his 21st of the season and fifth in the last nine games.
The Phils built their lead to 2-0 on a two-out hit by Ronald Torreyes in the fourth. The godsend utility man has 30 RBIs.
Ranger Suarez made his third start for the Phillies. He is still transitioning from a reliever’s role, so his workload is being monitored closely. He pitched into the fifth and was removed at 82 pitches with a 2-0 lead.
With the exception of a wild pitch by Enyel De Los Santos that ultimately cost the Phils a run, the bullpen was strong all day.
Hector Neris pitched a scoreless sixth inning and Archie Bradley followed with scoreless work in the seventh and eighth.
Ian Kennedy worked a scoreless ninth to earn his third save since joining the Phils in a trade with Texas.
Phillies pitching held the Dodgers to three hits on the day.
Kennedy made the crowd of 26,122 nervous when he walked Corey Seager with one out and Cody Bellinger with two outs in the ninth.
Both walks came on full-count pitches that appeared to be in the strike zone but were called balls by home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez. Phillies manager Joe Girardi was irate over the second missed call and ended up being ejected for arguing.
After the walk to Bellinger, Kennedy hit the next batter, Will Smith, to load the bases before getting Billy McKinney on a fly ball to left to end the game and send the crowd home hot and happy.
The Phillies open a three-game weekend series against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday night — RHP Zack Wheeler (10-6. 2.45) vs. RHP Tyler Mahle (9-3, 3.78).
Saturday afternoon — LHP Matt Moore (1-3, 6.79) vs. RHP Luis Castillo (6-11, 4.53).
Sunday afternoon — RHP Aaron Nola (7-6, 4.35) vs. RHP Sonny Gray (4-6, 4.40).