Phillies Walkoff to Back Harang Gem
By Matt Veasey
The Phillies (6-11) won in walkoff fashion over the Atlanta Braves (8-8) on an unseasonably cold Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. The win ensured that the outstanding starting pitching effort from Aaron Harang would not prove entirely fruitless.
Harang, who has easily been the Phillies best pitcher over the first few weeks of the 2015 season, thoroughly dominated Atlanta. He went 8 strong innings, allowing just 2 hits, striking out 6 and yielding just 1 walk.
“It all starts with Harang, did a super job for us for eight innings…got down a couple nice sacrifice bunts. He did everything he could to help himself tonight,” said Phils skipper Ryne Sandberg.
Another key for the Phillies on this night was their defense. Coming into the game, the Phils had the worst defense in MLB, while the Braves defense was the best. That script was completely flipped. The Phillies played airtight defense, and turned clutch double plays. Meanwhile, the Braves fumbled the ball, making 4 errors.
Still, the game was scoreless headed to the home 9th because the Phillies simply could not come through with a clutch hit. They went 1-13 with runners in scoring position, and left 11 men on base. But finally in that 9th, they didn’t leave one on. That was largely due to some hustle from shortstop Freddy Galvis.
“Galvis instincts on the basepaths right there at the end. Real alert play.” ~ Sandberg.
Galvis led off the bottom of the 9th with a clean base hit to center field. Cesar Hernandez then came up to pinch-hit for reliever Ken Giles (1-0), who had come on for Harang and pitched a scoreless top of the 9th. Hernandez laid down a nice bunt towards 1st base, moving Galvis into scoring position.
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Back for a second to Giles appearance in what would traditionally have been the closer role, pitching the top of the 9th in a tie game at home. That he was out there instead of closer Jonathan Papelbon elicited some puzzled speculation, but Sandberg resolved that question quickly in the postgame interview: “Pap was home in bed all day, he was sick.”
Apr 24, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA;
Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Galvis (13) is pied with shaving cream after scoring the game winning run on a fielding error against the Atlanta Braves in the bottom of the ninth at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies won 1-0
. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
So back to the 9th inning. Ben Revere stepped to the plate, and Braves catcher A.J. Pierzynski was promptly charged with a passed ball on a pitch from reliever Jim Johnson (1-2), moving Galvis to 3rd as the winning run with less than two outs. Revere then dropped a nice bunt towards 1st, and when Freddy Freeman fumbled it, Galvis slid home with the game-winning run.
So the Phillies mercifully sent home the diehard 21,164 fans who had braved this unseasonably cold Friday night in late April, and sent them home with a walkoff victory to warm the cockles of their Phils-loving hearts. The team has still scored just 3 runs in their last 27.1 innings. But on this night, one was all it took.