The Phillies turned a close game into a laugher late with eight runs in the eighth inning, answering Friday’s non-competitive loss with one of their best games of the season Saturday afternoon.
They beat the Red Sox, 11-2. They led by a run from the third inning through the seventh before the first eight batters of the eighth inning reached and scored.
Rhys Hoskins’ two-run double in the eighth opened the floodgates.
Jean Segura had three hits and drove in three runs out of the leadoff spot. He hit a leadoff homer a day after hitting a leadoff triple.
Five Phillies had multi-hit games. The Phils are 4-2 on their road trip and have scored 55 runs, an average of 9.2 per game. They've homered 15 times and have 30 extra-base hits in those six games.
"We’ve gotten healthy and you can really see the length that the lineup has," Hoskins said. "With all the health issues that we’ve had, these days at the (All-Star) break are going to be important for us. I don’t think just because we’ll have four or five days off that the good at-bats will disappear. It’s more about the lineup being healthy and staying healthy and seeing what we can do."
The Phillies are 43-44 with one game left before the break. They picked up a half-game on the Mets, who split their doubleheader against the Pirates Saturday. The Mets lead the Braves by four games and the Phillies by 4½. The NL East was shaken up significantly Saturday when Braves superstar Ronald Acuña Jr. tore his ACL. He's done for the season.
The Phils rank in the top seven in the majors since June 1 in runs per game and OPS. Their offense began to heat up right around the time MLB cracked down on foreign substances.
"We’ll find out over time," manager Joe Girardi said when asked if it's a coincidence. "So far, there’s obviously more runs being scored, more hits, more balls in play, less batters hit, and velocity was actually up a little bit. It’s interesting, we’ll see if the correlation continues. But the early answers are that it probably has affected it."
Bailey Falter was crucial in the win, retiring the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings with three strikeouts. He rebounded from a poor outing his last time out Tuesday against the Cubs, when he allowed five runs in 1⅔ innings in a game the Phillies led comfortably. Aside from that one appearance, Falter has a 2.25 ERA and 1.13 WHIP in 16 innings.
Girardi intentionally stayed away from Falter in Friday’s loss because he knew he’d need length behind Matt Moore Saturday. Moore gave up two runs in 4⅓ innings.
Alec Bohm hit a two-run shot in the second inning. Bohm has hit .310 with five doubles, two homers and 15 RBI in his last 26 games. He exited the game in the eighth inning and was placed in COVID protocol, according to Girardi.
"We’ll know more as time goes on," he said. "That’s all I can give you right now."
The Phillies’ final game before the All-Star break is Sunday afternoon at 1:10. Aaron Nola (6-5, 4.53) looks to end a disappointing first half on a high note. Old friend Nick Pivetta (7-3, 4.09) pitches against the Phils for the first time.