It was a long, wet day, but the Phillies came away from Saturday’s marathon with a series win over one of the best teams in baseball.
Conditions were clear in the 45 minutes leading up to the scheduled 4:05 p.m. first pitch but the game’s start was delayed by more than two hours because of the threat of weather.
The skies opened in the fourth inning and a tied game was halted again for 45 minutes.
Zach Eflin felt no ill effects from the stop-and-start. He settled in to allow just one hit after the first inning and picked up his third win of the season as the Phillies beat the Padres, 4-2.
Eflin’s evening could have been even better. In the first inning, a sharply hit ball by Fernando Tatis Jr. bounced off of Didi Gregorius’ glove and Manny Machado followed two batters later with a two-out home run. The Tatis ball was initially ruled an error on Gregorius then later changed to a hit.
The Phillies tied the game in the second inning against Padres ace Yu Darvish on a pair of home runs absolutely crushed by Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. Harper’s caromed off the scoreboard in front of the second deck in right field. Hoskins’ was pulled to left.
All 14 of Harper’s home runs have been solo shots. The MLB record to start a season is 17 straight solo homers by Felipe Alou in 1966.
Harper put the Phillies ahead for good in the sixth with a sacrifice fly after J.T. Realmuto tripled. It was a big swing for Realmuto, who had been mired in a 3-for-36 slump with zero extra-base hits. Throughout the skid, Realmuto had made a habit of popping out weakly to the right side, doing so 13 times in a 32-at-bat span from June 23 through Saturday.
The Phillies tacked on an insurance run later in the sixth on Hoskins’ RBI double. Hoskins had an impressive at-bat after Eric Hosmer extended it by missing a popup in foul ground. Other teams have capitalized on those sorts of mistakes by the Phillies all season and this was the reverse.
It was an impressive showing by the Phillies’ offense against Darvish, who entered with a 2.44 ERA and 0.94 WHIP. The Phillies had two doubles, two homers and a triple off of Darvish, who had not allowed five extra-base hits in a game since his first start of the season.
Perhaps most importantly, the Phillies’ bullpen, which had allowed 41 runs in its last 37⅓ innings, finally had a clean night. Bailey Falter and Archie Bradley faced the minimum in the seventh and eighth innings, and Ranger Suarez picked up his first career save with a clean ninth a night after blowing one by allowing Jose Alvarado’s inherited runners to score.
The task was not easy in the ninth for Suarez, who faced Tatis, Jake Cronenworth and Machado but retired them 1-2-3.
The Phillies have won three of their last four to improve to 39-41. They have only their third win streak of at least two games since May 13. They trail the Mets by four in the NL East.
Sunday’s game is the midpoint of the season and Vince Velasquez (3-2, 4.22) will be on the mound against Blake Snell (3-3, 5.29), who has pitched five innings or fewer in 12 of 15 starts.
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