The Philadelphia Phillies modest four-game winning streak came to an end on Saturday night at the hands of the world champion Kansas City Royals.
The Phillies set off a ton of fireworks last night for the residents of South Philly and their fans attending the game at Citizens Bank Park with the defending world champion Kansas City Royals.
Unfortunately for those fans in attendance, that post-game Independence Day extravaganza was pretty much all they would see in the way of fireworks last night.
Kansas City starting pitcher Danny Duffy tossed a gem, scattering seven hits across his 8.2 innings, striking out eight and walking no one, with 77 of his 110 pitches going for strikes.
Duffy’s pitching heroics snuffed out the Phils’ modest four-game win streak, and evened up this three-game weekend series at a game apiece.
The Royals offense nearly blasted Phillies starting pitcher Aaron Nola out of the game in the top of the 2nd in what appeared to be a fifth consecutive start for the right-hander in which he didn’t reach the 5th inning.
Four singles and a towering three-run homer off the bat of Kendrys Morales plated the Royals’ runs.
Morales, who is a horrific defensive player and is strictly a DH most of the season for Kansas City, has been used in right field in this series, keeping his power bat in the lineup. KC has only paid for his defensive ineptitude a couple of times, but that power has shown up.
The powerful switch-hitter blasted this one out as a lefty against Nola, and would later rip an 8th inning solo shot as a righty off Adam Morgan to make it a 6-1 game.
For his part, Nola not only settled down after the first Morales blast, it all suddenly clicked back in for him. He retired 10 consecutive batters, striking out tough left-handed bats Morales and Eric Hosmer to end his night.
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Getting Nola straightened out of his recent funk was the key tonight. Despite the rough 2nd frame, those final 3+ innings of dominance have to give him and the club renewed hope moving forward.
“I felt like my old self,” Nola said per MLB.com contributors. “I felt like that’s what I’m used to doing. That’s what I usually do: command my fastball and my breaking ball and my changeup. Those last three innings are definitely a help for me.”
In the bottom of the 9th, Carlos Ruiz was hit by a Duffy pitch was one out, and he moved to 2nd base on a defensive indifference call. Then with two outs, “Chooch” rolled on home on a Cesar Hernandez RBI single.
The Phillies and Royals will play the deciding game in their weekend set in another late-afternoon affair at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday. The Atlanta Braves will then travel to South Philly for three games early in the coming week.