The Phillies used a huge 3-run homer by catcher Cameron Rupp and a clutch 4-out Save from closer Ken Giles to escape the desert of Arizona with a 7-6 win over the host Diamondbacks, avoiding a sweep in the series at Chase Field.
While the afternoon temperatures in Phoenix soared past 100 steamy degrees for this getaway day game, the Phillies caught two breaks: first, it was a dry heat. And second, Chase Field has a retractable roof, which was closed, allowing for a comfortable, air-conditioned playing experience.
The hosts wouldn’t let the Phillies feel very comfortable within the confines of the game, however. Much as the first two nights, when the Snakes bats exploded for 13 runs in each game, they got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the first off Phils’ rookie starter Aaron Nola.
Each of the first three batters recorded singles off Nola, the third by Paul Goldschmidt bringing home Ender Inciarte with the game’s first run. When the next batter recorded an RBI ground out, it was 2-0.
Nola (3-1) would then settle down, recording the final two outs of the inning without further damage. After those three early hits and two early runs, he would ultimately last 5 innings, scattering 6 more hits and a pair of earned runs. He was typically around the zone all day, with 60 of his 83 pitches going for strikes.
With their starter settling in, the Phillies bats also began to produce, scoring single runs in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th to take a lead. In the 2nd, Jeff Francoeur led off with a single, Cody Asche followed with a double, and Cameron Rupp’s sac fly brought home Frenchy to make it a 2-1 game.
In the 3rd, Andres Blanco, playing 3rd base in place of Maikel Franco, who was sitting out after being hit by a pitch on Wednesday night, lined his 3rd homer of the season into the right field stands to tie the game. Then in the 4th, Asche again doubled, moved to 3rd on a single by Freddy Galvis, and scored when Rupp hit into a doubleplay.
The Dbacks got to Nola again to re-take the lead with a pair of runs in the home 5th, and Goldschmidt was typically right in the middle of things. His one-out triple scored Inciarte, who had led off with a single, to tie it at 3-3. Jake Lamb followed with an RBI single, scoring Goldschmidt and putting the hosts ahead 4-3.
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The top of the 6th would prove the difference-making offensive inning for the Fightin’ Phils. Ryan Howard led off with a double, and moved to 3rd when Francoeur followed with a base hit. That chased Arizona starter Chase Anderson (5-5) who lasted 5 official innings, yielded 9 hits, and was charged with 5 earned runs.
That brought Rupp to the plate for the game’s first pivotal moment. The burly catcher got a 1-1, upper-zone, outside fastball and drove it out over the right center wall for a huge 3-run homer that put the Phils on top by a 7-4 score.
This potent Arizona offensive attack wasn’t done yet. Goldschmidt, of course, led off the bottom of the 7th with a double, and scored one out later on a sac fly to cut the Phillies lead to 7-5. That set up the game’s 2nd pivotal moments in the bottom of the 8th, as the home side did everything in their power trying to tie it up, and even take a lead.
Jamie Romak led off with a single off Phils’ reliever Luis Garcia, and scored one out later on a Chris Owings RBI double to pull the Dbacks within 7-6. Inciarte then singled, moving Owings over to 3rd. Garcia then uncorked a wild pitch. Rupp retrieved the ball and fired to 2nd base, but Inciarte was safe.
Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA;
Philadelphia Phillies catcher Rupp (right) tags out Arizona Diamondbacks base runner Owings in the eighth inning at Chase Field.
(Photo Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
At that point, a bit of mayhem broke loose. The Phillies felt that time was out, but it had never been given. Owings saw an opportunity, and took off for the plate. Cesar Hernandez fired the ball home to Rupp, who applied the tag just before Owings arrived. The dramatic play was reviewed, the out was upheld, and the Phillies had a vital 2nd out in the inning.
The play was made even more pivotal by the fact that the always dangerous Goldschmidt, who Tyler DiSalle highlighted in a piece here at TBOH before the series began, was the next batter. Already with 3 hits, a walk, 2 runs, and 2 RBI on the day, he now came to the plate with a runner on 2nd and two outs, rather than 2nd and 3rd with just one out.
Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, who our Ethan Witte highlighted in a piece here at TBOH just prior to the game, then turned to his fireballing closer Ken Giles to try for a 4-out Save. On a 3-2 pitch, Giles proved the winner in an epic battle, striking out the Arizona slugger swinging for the final out of the inning.
In the bottom of the 9th, Giles recorded the first two outs before allowing a single to pinch-hitter David Peralta. With the tying run on base, Giles then battled Romak to a full count before striking him out swinging to end it, and secure his 7th Save in 7 opportunities since taking over the closer role.
With that big victory on the good side of the ledger, the Phillies moved to 17-6 since the MLB All-Star break, and now get to enjoy a day off.
The team will head to Milwaukee for a weekend set at Miller Park against the Brewers, who are in last place in the NL Central division, just two games ahead of the Phils in the overall MLB standings. After this series, the remaining 7 weeks of the 2015 schedule will be played in the eastern time zone.