It wasn’t pretty, and it surely wasn’t as clean as one would hope. Phillies pitching gave up a whopping 18 runs in game one, but a solid bullpen backed six scoreless innings from the Zack Wheeler-Noah Syndergaard tag team, salvaging the series split and earning the series split.
In the first of two from Philadelphia, Kyle Gibson got the start for the Phillies, and his September struggles continued. He allowed twelve hits and seven runs over five innings, bringing his season ERA up to an unattractive 4.71.
While the Phillies’ offense was firing on all cylinders, their bullpen gave many fans 2020 flashbacks. Zach Eflin, Connor Brogdon, Sam Coonrod, and Brad Hand allowed ten runs combined over just 3.1 innings in relief.
J.T. Realmuto led the Phillies’ offense with five hits, one a home run, and Kyle Schwarber pitched in with three RBI. The Phils’ fifteen hits were negated by their three errors in the field and the 18 runs allowed by Phillies’ pitching. The 29 runs scored between the two teams set a record for the most runs in a major-league game at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies came close to taking a lead in the fifth and eighth innings, but it was not enough to slow down the Blue Jays’ offense, leading to an 18-11 Jays win.
Zack Wheeler finally made his return to the mound to warp up the season series with Toronto, and he could not have been much better. He threw four scoreless innings on just 58 pitches, and his velocity was better than it was prior to being injured. He touched 99.0 MPH with one of his fastballs, a season-high.
Noah Syndergaard threw two scoreless innings out of the bullpen, and the rest of the Phillies relievers were solid outside of Seranthony Dominguez, who has struggled in recent weeks. After a bloop single and an error, Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. took Dominguez yard to break the scoreless tie in the eighth.
The Phillies, though, shot right back in their half of the eighth. J.T. Realmuto led the inning off with a homer, and the bottom of the lineup played some small ball to follow. Kyle Schwarber knocked in the game-tying single with two outs in the eighth, sending the game to extra innings following a scoreless ninth inning.
Andrew Bellatti escaped a tight jam in the top of the tenth, and Matt Vierling walked it off with a chopper up the middle.
“I made the swing, saw it go up, and knew immediately,” Vierling told the NBC Sports Philadelphia broadcasters in his postgame interview about his walk-off single. “The biggest thing is getting that win, [we] definitely needed it. It gives us a little momentum. I think we really needed that one, and we grinded all night.”
Not the same Seranthony
Seranthony Dominguez has allowed just 16 runs all season, yet nine of them have come in the last 3.2 innings, dating back to August 17—the day before he was put on the injured list.
The concerning part is that his issue hasn’t been the same thing every time. In his most recent outing, he had trouble commanding the strike zone. But in other recent appearances, he’s left sliders over the plate and seen a dip in velocity.
When one thing isn’t working, it’s usually easy to work through. But when multiple issues have arisen since his injury in mid-August, his pitching becomes concerning.
“As time goes on, he’ll be fine,” interim manager Rob Thomson told the media.
The Phillies are beginning a four-game series against the Braves on Thursday.