It was Zack Wheeler night on Wednesday and it could not have come at a better time. Despite facing a historically bad Baltimore Orioles team, the Philadelphia Phillies struggled to drum up any offense in the three-game series.
After dropping the opener, the Phillies came back on Tuesday night to win in extra innings. With Wheeler on the mound Wednesday and the NL East on the line, they could not afford to lose.
Wheeler had a solid outing and despite being on a "soft" pitch count of 100 pitches, he was still able to pitch six innings of one-run ball. He compiled nine strikeouts and just two walks over the course of the evening. He lowered his season ERA to 2.79 and helped keep the Phillies in striking distance despite another lackluster offensive performance.
It took the Orioles scoring first in the sixth to kick Philadelphia's offense into gear, but once the team started going, they didn't stop rolling.
Andrew McCutchen helped jumpstart the offense with a two-run moonshot in the bottom of the sixth that gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead.
In the seventh, Jean Segura was able to get Matt Vierling home on a sac fly. Later that inning, J.T. Realmuto singled home Brad Miller, who doubled earlier in the inning, continuing his heroics from last night.
Perhaps the most impressive half inning of the entire night was the top of the eighth. Both Vierling and NL MVP candidate Bryce Harper had incredible defensive plays to extinguish Baltimore.
Vierling made the first out of the inning off of an incredible snag of a line drive. It was easily the defensive play of the game, and it set the tone for the rest of the inning.
The third out of the top of the eighth came when Harper hosed Orioles catcher Pedro Severino at home with an outfield assist. The MVP chants could be heard from the Citizens Bank Park crowd as the right fielder's campaign is stronger than ever.
Things were looking very dicey for Ian Kennedy in the ninth. After getting the first two outs, he then issued back-to-back walks. Kennedy was finally able to shutdown the Orioles to secure a Phillies series victory after a mound visit to retire the final batter, Ryan Mountcastle.
At the time of writing, the Atlanta Braves are currently beating the Arizona Diamondbacks 3-1, meaning that making up any ground in the NL East race this evening is unlikely.
Final Score: Phillies 4, Orioles 3
The Phillies will host a four-game series against the Pittsburgh Pirates starting Thursday. It is a must-win series for Philadelphia in order to keep their postseason dreams alive.
Aaron Nola (8-8, 4.48 ERA) is scheduled to take the mound in the first game against Connor Overton (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
Rain is scheduled in the forecast for tomorrow, so stay tuned to Inside the Phillies for all your game time information!