Bryson Stott makes Gold Glove-worthy save
Second baseman Bryson Stott has had some struggles at the plate during this postseason, hitting .237 overall with 13 strikeouts, but on Saturday he went 2-for-4 with an RBI. He knocked in the first run of the game in the top of the first inning, then played the double steal perfectly, drawing the throw to second that ultimately allowed Harper to score another run.
It was his glove on the defensive side of the ball that garnered the most attention Saturday, though, as he provided a gem of a play at a crucial moment of the ballgame.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, with ace Zack Wheeler still on the mound, trying to get through the end of the frame, the second baseman made a diving play on a ball hit by shortstop Geraldo Perdomo.
One teammate who didn't waste any time giving the Gold Glove finalist the credit he was due after the game was Harper:
At that point in the game, there was only one out after Alek Thomas hit a homer off Wheeler to start the inning. If Perdomo would've gotten on — and with bullpen action already happening in case of a jam — there's a chance Thomson wouldn't have let Wheeler finish the frame. As it stood, Wheeler reached 99 pitches after he recorded the final out of the inning.
Instead, thanks to Stott, there were two outs, no one on, and Wheeler only needed three more pitches to retire right fielder Corbin Carroll.
J.T. Realmuto adds insurance runs late
One of the big storylines coming into the day was the bullpen's performance in Games 3 and 4. Across both outings, the bullpen had given up seven walks in 8 2/3 innings, compared to three walks in six innings in Games 1 and 2.
On Thursday, the Diamondbacks clinched the 2-1 win with a walk-off hit, and on Friday, they used a three-run eighth inning to come from behind and take the 6-5 win. Closer Craig Kimbrel earned the loss in both games, only recording three outs while surrendering four earned runs on five hits and two walks.
Heading into Saturday’s pivotal Game 5, the team wasn’t sure who would be available to come out of the bullpen. Jeff Hoffman, Orion Kerkering, José Alvarado and Craig Kimbrel pitched in both games, with Kimbrel (two walks and five hits) and Kerkering (two walks and three hits) struggling with command against Arizona both days.
On Saturday, the team rode Wheeler through seven strong innings. When the right-hander came out for the seventh inning, the Phillies had Alvarado warming up in case he got into trouble. After going two scoreless innings Thursday, the left-handed reliever was brought into Friday’s game to record the final out of the eighth, tossing six pitches in the process. Still, the Phillies were trying to avoid bringing him into a third consecutive ballgame.
Wheeler escaped the inning on seven pitches, and in the top half of the eighth, J.T. Realmuto's clutch gene entered the chat.
Harper got to first on a fielding error by second baseman Ketel Marte, and a few batters later, Realmuto stepped to the plate with two outs and one on. On the third pitch, he drilled the ball over the wall in left field, extending the lead to 6-1.
As John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia noted, the long ball also ended a streak of 15 straight solo home runs for the ballclub. With the expanded lead and extra breathing room, the Phillies let Alvarado sit back down in the bullpen, giving the powerful lefty an extra day of rest as they head into Game 6 on Monday.