Tuesday night's game between the Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays presented a lot to be unpacked, but let's attempt to break it down, shall we?
Philadelphia dropped the first of a two-game set to Toronto 18-11. It's not typically a good sign to see scores such as this this late in the season, but alas, it's September and they are the Phillies. They're bound to make it as difficult as possible.
The Phillies sent Kyle Gibson to the mound, who wound up allowing a career-high 12 hits in five innings of work, and was charged with seven runs.
From the first inning on, the Blue Jays kept piling on runs. They jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the third, and were held scoreless in just one inning: the fourth.
In their half of fourth, Philadelphia began chipping away at Toronto's daunting early lead against Jays' starter Ross Stripling. Bryson Stott's RBI single brought home Bryce Harper to make it 6-1.
The Blue Jays tacked on another run in the fifth to make it 7-1, but Dalton Guthrie launched his first career home run, a solo shot in the bottom half of the frame, to cut the deficit to five runs. His homer sparked a productive inning for the Phillies' offense.
A Rhys Hoskins double, and Harper and J.T. Realmuto singles brought the club within two runs with four innings left to play. Things were beginning to look up for a team who was tasked with climbing out of a 6-0 hole.
Unfortunately, the Phillies' scoring threat was ended when Harper was doubled up at second base after making a poor base running choice. Things like that simply can't happen, especially with a 10-year MLB veteran on the base paths.
Zach Eflin was brought in for the sixth inning, and he likely could have escaped the inning unscathed, but a Stott throwing error allowed George Springer, who led off the inning with a double, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to advance to second and third with no outs. Yet another thing that can't happen: lazy defensive mistakes.
By the end of the sixth inning, the Phillies were trailing by three runs. The game was still very much within reach. That wouldn't last long though.
Connor Brogdon entered in the seventh, and he continued to struggle. He surrendered two more runs on a Raimel Tapia triple and a wild pitch. The Phillies failed to score in their half of the inning.
Sam Coonrod was on the hill in the eighth, and he allowed four more Toronto runs to score in the inning to make it 14-5. A game that was once as close as two runs was now a nine-run deficit.
Just when you thought you couldn't take any more, Kyle Schwarber supplied just a bit more hope when he blasted his 40th home run of the year in the bottom of the eighth inning—the first Phillie to accomplish such a feat since Ryan Howard in 2009. His three-run shot made it 14-10. Within four runs, now? Hmm, it's possible.
Except, the Blue Jays still weren't done. They scored four more runs in the ninth inning off of Brad Hand, bringing their total runs to 18 and hits to 21. Garrett Stubbs was forced to finish out the inning.
Realmuto made things interesting in the ninth, hitting a solo home run to center field to cap off a 5-for-5 night at the plate. It wouldn't be enough though, as Philadelphia lost their fifth straight game.
Despite this, the Milwaukee Brewers lost to the New York Mets, thus keeping the Phillies lead over them for the final NL Wild Card spot at 2.5 games. Their magic number is 12.
They'll look to have a much more normal, competitive baseball game and go for the series split on Wednesday night at 6:40 p.m EDT. Zack Wheeler is set to make his return to the bump against Toronto's Kevin Gausman.
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