Phillies step foot on pedal, smash Pirates to regain control of joker

PITTSBURGH — The Phillies didn’t hit Powerball Thursday night, but they hit their magic number.


When the Phillies score four or more points, they’re tough to beat. They scored their fourth run in the second inning Thursday night and beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, 8-7, behind Zack Wheeler at PNC Park.

Victory was harder than it should have been.

It was an 8-2 game heading into the ninth. Jeurys Familia was scored for five runs in the set, forcing Seranthony Dominguez to step in for the stoppage.

“You have an 8-2 lead, you don’t think you’ll need your closer, but it happens sometimes,” manager Rob Thomson said.

“But I think we played very well. We swung the bats well. Everyone had a shot. We played very good defense.”

The Phillies are 24-2 the last 26 times they scored four or more points and 43-16 for the season on those occasions.

Not too bad.

Victory over the Pirates, in Game 1 of a key four-game series days before the trade deadline, left the Phils 52-47 this season, tied with St. Louis for control of third. and last NL wildcard spot. The Phils actually have the upper hand over the Cardinals based on the season series win between the two teams.

The Phils arrived in Pittsburgh on the heels of a 7-2 win over Atlanta on Sunday. The Pirates entered the game with eight losses in their previous 10 games and had 18 games under the .500 mark. On top of all that, they are the worst offensive team in the National League. It all added up to a shift in favor of the Phillies, but that didn’t guarantee anything. Earlier in the week, the Phillies were swept away by the Chicago Cubs, another NL Central team with a poor record and no chance of making the playoffs.

Thomson warned against taking the Pirates lightly when he said on Sunday: “Don’t take anything for granted. Go ahead, play your game. You go out front, put your foot on the pedal and run over people.

The Phillies wasted no time getting out in front. They had four straight hits, including a two-run triple from Darick Hall and an RBI single from Nick Castellanos, in scoring three runs in the first inning against Pittsburgh starter Zack Thompson.

Alec Bohm had one of the hits in the first inning. He added an RBI single in the second.

Bohm hit third in the order as Thomson rested catcher JT Relamuto. Bohm has swung the bat brilliantly over the past month. He’s hitting .418 (36 for 86) in his last 23 games and is riding a 13-game hitting streak. Bohm also had terrific defensive play at third base behind Wheeler in the fifth inning.

“Simplicity, not trying to do too much,” Bohm said of his recent home plate success. “Seeing the ball over home plate and swinging on it. And the swing works well. I’ve been on time more often than not lately and I think that leads to success.

“You are only as good as the courts you swing on. So keeping it simple and being on time are the two keys for me.”

Wheeler congratulated Bohm after the game.

“He’s a good, solid hitter,” the pitcher said. “He hits the ball well to the opposite court. He is very disciplined. These guys are tough to play against just from experience, guys who can get the ball into the opposite field. And he also widens the power gap, so it’s good to have one of those guys on your team.

Giving Wheeler a four-point lead in the second inning is like giving a hungry dog ​​a T-bone. He doesn’t give up.

The right-hander went seven innings and allowed only three hits and two runs. He walked three and struck out eight. He didn’t allow a run until the seventh when he allowed a two-run homer to Cal Mitchell.

In his last 16 starts, Wheeler has pitched 101 innings and allowed just 23 earned runs for a 2.05 ERA.

The funny thing is that Wheeler said he’s been “out of breath” in his last two starts. He allowed just three runs in 14 innings in those starts. He should be really good when he figures out why he’s on a tick.

“I couldn’t tell you,” he said of his tiny gap. “I try to understand.”

The Phillies beat the Pirates, 15-7. Castellanos had three hits for the Phillies. Kyle Schwarber smashed his league-leading 32nd home run.

Good way to start a series, except for the part about having to use your closest in what was a six-point game early in the ninth. Thomson didn’t worry about it. He said Dominguez would still be available Friday night.

Lefty Bailey Falter goes for the Phils in that one. Left-hander Jose Quintana will pitch for the Pirates. The Phillies are looking to add starting pitchers before Tuesday’s trade deadline. Quintana is very available and could be a potential candidate for the Phillies.

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