Phillies nearly no-hit by Justin Verlander and Astros a day after clinching MLB playoffs

Day after clincher, watered-down Phillies lineup nearly no-hit by Verlander & Co. originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

HOUSTON -- The day after clinching their first playoff berth in a decade, the Phillies rested several regulars, played a lineup consisting mostly of reserves and still had to tangle with future Hall of Famer Justin Verlander, who is as good as ever at age 39.

The Phillies lost, 10-0, to the Houston Astros. They were outhit, 17-3. They did not get their first hit until opening the top of the ninth with three straight singles against reliever Will Smith.

Garrett Stubbs, who played for the Astros last season, broke up the no-hit bit on the day he received his 2021 American League championship ring from his former club.

The Phils were no-hit by the Mets back in April.

Verlander pitched five innings in his final regular-season start. He did not allow a hit, walked one and struck out 10, including eight in a row. He lowered his majors-best ERA to 1.75 and may have sewn up the American League Cy Young award.

Ranger Suarez, who will start Game 3 of the postseason, if necessary, did not inspire confidence with his last start of the regular season. He was tagged for seven hits, including three homers, and six runs in three innings of work. The plan was for Suarez not to exceed four innings and throw about 65 pitches. He threw 67.

Suarez entered the start with a 2.33 ERA in his previous 13 starts. Maybe the outing was just a bump in the road the night after the Phillies' playoff-clinching celebration. The Phils hope so.

Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm, Bryson Stott and Brandon Marsh were the only Phillies regulars to start. Harper batted leadoff because he was looking for at-bats. He had one of the hits against Smith in the ninth. Smith ended up striking out the side after the Phils filled the bases on three singles.

Manager Rob Thomson intends to play his regular lineup for five innings in Wednesday's regular-season finale. Bailey Falter will start against 16-game winner Framber Valdez.

Before Wednesday's game, reliever Brad Hand will throw in a simulated game to try to prove his health for a spot on the postseason roster. He is on the injured list with tendinitis in his left elbow.

The Astros improved to 105-56 with the win.

The Phillies are 87-74. San Diego's win Wednesday night sends the Phils to St. Louis for Friday's playoff opener.

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