Phillies came back late to defeat the Blue Jays on a Matt Ferrling song that originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Wednesday night’s Phillies game had two stories.
The biggest one.
and the truly big one.
The big job turned out well as Zach Wheeler returned from one month on the injured list and made four healthy points-free runs.
The truly One big one turned out for the better.
After rallying for three runs at the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the game, Phillies sprinted through the winning inning in the bottom 10th on Novice Matt Ferling’s fifth strike of the night and beat the Toronto Blue Jays, 4-3, in front of a raucous crowd of 29,363 at Citizens Bank Park.
The win, on the 58th anniversary of Chico Ruiz’s infamous burglary, felt like a save for the season. It cut short a five-game losing streak and allowed the Phillies to maintain their 2½-game lead over Milwaukee in last place of the wild card game.
There are 14 games left in the regular season.
“Huge win,” Wheeler said. “These guys have done it again. It’s fun to watch. That’s what good teams do. Anytime you’re feeling down, keep playing hard and have that faith.”
The Velez’s attack battled through the night. The team was 0 for 7 with the contestants in the scoring center for the first seven rounds. Bryce Harper left the bases loaded in the fifth and the runners in the seventh corners.
Toronto smashed a goalless tie against Seranthony Dominguez for the eighth place lead. Wyatt Merrifield led with a powerful punch and Bryson Stott fouled Phillies. Then Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit Homer from three runs on a 1–0 fastball that clocked 99 mph on the gun.
Playing with some desperation, Velez tied the match at the bottom of eighth place. JT Realmuto drove with Homer, the owner of the number 21. Jean Segura was distinguished by two singles. Rookie Dalton Guthrie drove him home in one piece. Vierling kept the inning alive with a key kick and Kyle Schwarber tied the match with a single right kick.
“We kept the message the same all night,” Ferling said. “Keep on grinding and stay positive. When we went down three times, we hit the dugout and everyone was still positive. Our squad is good at staying positive and looking on the bright side. Anytime, with our squad, we know we have a chance to tie the game.”
David Robertston escaped going ahead in the ninth minute and Andrew Pilati did his best Houdini tradition to wave his way out of bases jam at the top of Season 10.
The winner of the Vierling match was a ball hit hard in the middle through a penalty kick.
Five hits and a match winner. Vierling became the first Phillie to do so since Milt Thompson in 1987.
Vierling was attacked by his teammates after his first game of his career. He will need a new shirt for Thursday’s game against Atlanta. This was torn from his back.
“There is nothing much better than that,” he said. “We were grinding all night.”
The Phils took the field knowing that the Milwaukee had defeated the Mets. The loss would have reduced Phils’ lead over Milwaukee to 1½ and caused panic among the fan base.
“I know everyone is looking at it,” Ferling said of Brewers’ score and the standings in general. “We look at it. But we don’t talk about it. We just keep going, we keep working, we keep playing. That’s a testament to our leadership. All of these games are like supplement matches.”
Wheeler, Noah Sendergaard and Jose Alvarado scored goalless in the first seven rounds, keeping Phils in the game while the offense did nothing.
Wheeler was a huge bright spot. He’s lost five, he’s starting to recover from an infection in his right elbow/forearm and he’s kept short on leash.
On his first start since August 20, he threw 58 throws in his four innings. He struggled to control the slider and his curve ball, which was not entirely expected given that they both “feel” the pitches and could be negatively affected by the holiday. Wheeler’s four-stitch speedball was exceptional. He threw 31 of them and 16 scored at 98 mph or higher. It topped out at 99 mph. His average speed of 97.9 mph was 2 mph higher than his season average, a sure sign of arm strength and health.
“I felt good, I felt strong, and I felt healthy,” Wheeler said. The rest helped.
Sealer Wheeler twice more before the regular season ends. He could jump 15 throws per outing, if all goes well, and be ready to take a heavy load on the post-season opener — if Phillies gets there.
The magic number that will stand up to Milwaukee in a playoff game is 11.
Now that they’ve cut their losing streak in five games, the Phils need to keep winning. Next is Atlanta for four games in Philadelphia. The Braves swept the Phils last weekend in Atlanta. Ranger Suarez plays Max Fried in the opening game Thursday night.