Things haven’t gone exactly to plan for the Philadelphia Phillies this season.
But Tuesday night sure felt good.
A day after a 16-2 blowout at the hands of the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies looked in line for another loss to the National League leaders.
Phillies rally after blowing big lead
The Phillies took a 6-1 lead after a five-run outburst in the second inning at the expense of Dodgers starter Walker Buehler.
But Philadelphia’s bats went cold from there, and the Dodgers chipped away at the deficit before a three-run home run from Matt Beaty in the top of the ninth secured an 8-6 lead for the road team.
Phillies get to Jansen
With closer Kenley Jansen taking the mound, it looked like a setup for more disappointment for the Phillies.
Jansen retired Adam Haseley with a ground ball to start the inning. But it was downhill from there for the Dodgers’ three-time All-Star closer.
Andrew Knapp hit a pinch-hit double from the pitcher’s spot in the lineup and advanced to third on a Cesar Hernandez double on the next at-bat.
Harper finishes things off
Scott Kingery scored Knapp on a single to center field to cut the lead to 8-7 and set up Bryce Harper for some late-inning heroics.
Harper didn’t waste any time in the batter’s box, swinging at Jansen’s first offering and lining a rope to center field. Hernandez scored easily.
When Dodgers center fielder A.J. Pollock couldn’t corral the laser after it bounced off the turf, Kingery rounded third to secure the game-winning run in a 9-8 Phillies victory.
Sweet victory for Philadelphia
It marked a dramatic turnaround from Monday’s night’s ugly loss and a moment of catharsis for the Phillies, who have experienced frustration more than anything else in recent months.
“I’m just trying to get a cutter over the middle of the plate,” Harper told MLB Network of the first-pitch swing. “Down, over the middle. I got it, and got the best of it.”
Philadelphia secured the win without manager Gabe Kapler in the dugout. Kapler was ejected in the top of the ninth after Phillies relief pitcher Hector Neris plunked David Freese in the back with his first pitch after allowing the go-ahead home run to Beaty.
Kapler and Neris were both tossed.
Why Neris felt compelled to plunk Freese is unclear. Beaty didn’t appear to violate any of the many unwritten rules of baseball with his go-ahead blast. He didn’t flip is his bat. He didn’t take his time around the bases.
It seems Neris may have just been frustrated with giving up the lead and took it out on the next batter.
He can thank his offense for ensuring that the Beaty home run didn’t result in a Phillies loss.
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