A West Coast trip that started as badly as it possibly could ended with perhaps the Phillies’ best victory of the season Wednesday afternoon, when they rallied from deficits of 4-1 and 5-2 to beat the San Diego Padres, 7-5, at Petco Park.
“We ran into a red-hot Dodgers club and weren’t able to do much against them, but this is a good club, too," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “The Padres are holding their own in the National League West, and we did a good job with them.”
The Phillies are off today, but they will pay tribute to recently deceased club chairman David Montgomery at 3:05 p.m. inside Citizens Bank Park. The event is free and open to the public. The Phillies will begin a six-game homestand Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds at 7:05.
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The fact that the big hits in the Phillies’ two wins at Petco Park came from a couple of guys who weren’t even on the roster when the team left Los Angeles on Sunday night made for a couple of really cool stories.
Jay Bruce, acquired Sunday in a trade with Seattle that required neither a lot of money nor a high-profile prospect, was the team’s best player during the three-game series in San Diego. He went 6-for-11 with two doubles, three home runs and seven RBIs. Bruce has 17 home runs this season, and 30 of his 41 hits have gone for extra bases.
“If no one asks me about Jay Bruce, I’m just going to gush about him,” Kapler said after Bruce contributed a double, a home run and two runs scored to Wednesday’s win. “He was enormous for us in this series.”
The hero Wednesday, however, was rookie Adam Haseley. In just his second game, he delivered the game-winning hit: an eighth-inning double that plated Scott Kingery, who had drawn a two-out walk, and gave the Phillies a 6-5 lead.
But even in victory, the Phillies had to deal with some agony. Jake Arrieta could not get through the fifth inning and allowed 10 earned runs on 17 hits in his two West Coast starts. Since going 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA in his first four starts, Arrieta is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in his last nine.
Worse for the Phillies was the eighth-inning departure of reliever Seranthony Dominguez after he felt soreness in his elbow. He will have an MRI on Thursday and could end up joining six other Phillies relievers on the injured list.
Vince Velasquez was the unsung hero of Wednesday’s game, retiring all four batters he faced after coming on in relief of Arrieta. The Phillies might be asking more from Velasquez soon, and Enyel De Los Santos could be back in the big leagues come Friday night.
When the Phillies started their West Coast trip seven days ago, Scott Kingery was about to get a long look as a center fielder with Odubel Herrera facing a possible suspension. Kingery is now the starting third baseman. When the trip started, Jay Bruce was still in Seattle thinking he could be there until at least July. Now, he’s become a Philadelphia folk hero in three days. When the trip started, Adam Haseley had just been promoted from double-A Reading to triple-A Lehigh Valley. Now, he has a chance to claim the center-field job. A strange trip had a happy ending for the Phillies, as I write in my game story.
Nothing goes on and on like the baseball draft, but our Matt Breen stuck through all 40 rounds with the patience of a Rhys Hoskins at-bat and noted that the Phillies stockpiled relief pitchers, including hard-throwing Andrew Schultz from the University of Tennessee.
When he wasn’t covering the draft, Breen was compiling a by-the-numbers look at the Phillies’ California road trip. The number 43 represented Andrew McCutchen’s league-leading walk total before he was lost for the season with a torn left ACL suffered Monday.
Breen also did a short but sweet story on Braden Halladay, son of the late Roy Halladay. The story was sweet because the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Braden Halladay in the 32nd round Wednesday, a tribute to Roy, who wore No. 32 during his career with the Blue Jays.
The Phillies all felt awful when Andrew McCutchen was lost for the season, but they also developed a next-man up mentality and took the three-game series from the San Diego Padres. Columnist Marcus Hayes was reminded of how the Eagles rallied to win the Super Bowl without Carson Wentz.
After missing one start with a sore back, Zach Eflin is ready to return Friday night against the Cincinnati Reds.
Today: David Montgomery celebration of life at Citizens Bank Park (open to the public), 3:05 p.m.
Tomorrow: Zach Eflin returns from injured list at home against Cincinnati, 7:05 p.m.
Saturday: Nick Pivetta vs. Reds’ Tanner Roark, 4:05 p.m.
Sunday: Aaron Nola pitches series finale vs. Sonny Gray, 1:05 p.m.
Monday: Jerad Eickhoff vs. Arizona, 7:05 p.m.
According to Elias, Jay Bruce became the fourth player to hit two home runs in his first start for the Phillies, joining Lefty O’Doul (1929), Jeremy Giambi (2002) and Daniel Nava (2017). Bruce was the first, however, to hit two home runs including a grand slam. The last major-league player to do that in his first start for a team was Boston’s Hanley Ramirez against the Phillies in 2015.
Bruce also became the first Phillies player with 10 or more bases in his first start for the team, and he became just the fifth player since 1920 with at least two home runs and six RBIs in his first start for a team.
Send questions by email or on Twitter @brookob.
Question: I have a question about the play in which Andrew McCutchen was injured. Shouldn’t the infield fly rule have been in effect on that play? Segura popped up near the Padres second baseman, who had an easy catch just beyond the baseline. Instead, he purposely let the ball drop in front of him. As a result, McCutchen was caught in no man’s land between first and second, and was injured trying to get back to first base. If McCutchen would have seen the ump call the infield fly rule, he could have stayed closer to first, probably retreating safely, without injury. Can you clarify the infield fly rule?
— Gary J., via email
Answer: This is a really easy one to answer, Gary, but you are definitely not the only reader to ask me about the play you described so well. Segura’s pop fly met all the criteria needed for the infield fly rule except one.
It was a routine pop fly that could have been caught without extraordinary effort, and there were less than two outs. But for an umpire to call the automatic out on the infield fly rule, there have to be runners on first and second or first, second and third. Since McCutchen was the only baserunner, it was not an infield-fly-rule play.