Jean Segura fouled off the seventh pitch he saw in Friday’s 11th inning when the fans along the first-base line at Citizens Bank Park started chanting his name. It was a long night as the Phillies blew a lead in the ninth, fell behind in the 10th, and tied it in the bottom of the inning. But the finish finally felt near.
“I didn’t hear anything,” Segura said.
He delivered anyway, dropping a single into right field to cap a 7-6 win over the Diamondbacks. Ian Kennedy was responsible for the franchise-record 26th blown save in the ninth, Enyel De Los Santos dug a two-run hole in the 10th, and Brad Miller dug the Phils out with a two-run homer before Segura finished it an inning later.
It was a needed victory as it came just 24 hours after perhaps their most dire day of the season. The Phillies still trail Atlanta by 51/2 games in the National League East, but the mood in the clubhouse is much different than it was on Thursday.
“It was a really, really good game for us. Bouncing back, come from behind,” Segura said. “We needed that type of game to get going because the way we’ve played lately has not been great.”
On Thursday, the Phillies lost Rhys Hoskins to season-ending surgery, scratched Zach Eflin because of a knee injury that could cost him the rest of the season, and lost yet another game to the National League’s worst team to drop below .500. Their playoff odds (10.3% on Friday morning per FanGraphs) dropped to their lowest point in seven weeks.
From the outside, it felt like the walls were closing in. But with five weeks remaining, the Phillies have little choice but to cling to their chances and hope hitters like Segura, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto can carry them.
“It’s the personality inside you, it’s the fight in you, right?” Girardi said before the game. “You always have fight in you. I believe I do. I believe our guys do. You have to have that fight in you. To me, this is what life is about, right? Get knocked down, you have to get back up, and I’ve seen our guys do it a number of times and I believe they’re capable.”
If the Phillies are to make an unlikely run to the postseason, they’ll have to do it by riding the bats of Harper and Realmuto. They drove in the team’s first four runs on Friday, which was enough to get the Phils within two outs of a win. Harper hit a two-run shot in the third for his 25th homer of the season and Realmuto ripped a two-run single in the seventh after Arizona intentionally walked Harper to load the bases. Without Hoskins, Harper and Realmuto’s production is crucial over the final weeks.
Harper went 2-for-3 with two walks and raised his OPS to 1.001, which trails only San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. for the major league lead. The two are the front-runners for the National League MVP Award, but the winner might be the player who can push his team to the postseason. The Padres are still in the mix for the wild card after falling out of position last week for the second wild-card spot.
“Harper is swinging the bat really, really good,” Segura said. “He’s disciplined at the plate and he’s squaring balls up. He’s been huge for us all year long. To be able to see his name in the lineup every day is something you really respect because there’s not many people who are able to play every day, especially at this level. It’s unbelievable that this guy is able to do it each and every day.”
Bradley slowed by shoulder
Girardi used Enyel De Los Santos for the 10th and 11th innings even though Archie Bradley was in the bullpen and had not pitched since Tuesday.
“Not available,” Girardi said. “His shoulder. Just not available. I think he’ll be available [Saturday].”
Is Realmuto hurt?
Joe Girardi said before the game that the Phillies will replace Hoskins at first base with Realmuto, and Segura may have dropped some insight into why the Phillies are moving Realmuto away from behind the plate.
Realmuto, Segura said, is dealing with discomfort in his right shoulder. Girardi said Realmuto will play first on Saturday while Rafael Marchan catches.
“I know J.T. is dealing with shoulder problems,” Segura said. “I just think the way he throws the baseball is not the same J.T. that we all know.”
Miller didn’t make any excuses on Thursday night about his struggles lately at the plate. He let his bat do the talking on Friday by ripping a two-run homer with one out in the ninth to tie the game. Miller dropped his bat almost as soon as he made contact and looked into the Phillies’ dugout. It was easy to see what that meant for Miller, who will see an expanded role down the stretch since Hoskins is out.
“That’s the great thing about our game, you always get a chance the next day, it seems like,” Girardi said. “Every once in a while, you get a day off, but he had a chance and he came up big.”
Historic blown save
Ian Kennedy has been with the Phillies for less than a month but his blown save in the ninth inning helped make history. It was the team’s franchise-record 26th blown save, which eclipsed the 25 saves they blew in 2004. Kennedy entered the ninth with a two-run lead before allowing a lead-off single to Pavin Smith and a two-run homer to Norristown’s Christian Walker.
Aaron Nola seemed to run out of gas in the sixth inning and he was replaced after allowing an RBI triple on his 93rd pitch. Nola earned the first out of the sixth by popping up Bryan Holaday but the catcher -- who spent a spring with the Phillies in 2017 -- worked a nine-pitch at-bat that may have fatigued Nola. Josh Rojas followed with a triple to right and that was it for Nola.
“I felt fine,” Nola said. “As a team, they fouled off a lot of pitches. I felt fine.
“I felt good tonight. My stuff felt good. Fastball command, changeup felt good. Curveball felt good. I didn’t have any walks and felt like I was getting ahead of the guys for the most part.”
He struck out seven batters, walked none, generated 16 swings-and-misses, and looked crisp early before running up his pitch count. Nola retired 11 batters in a row from the second to fifth innings. He allowed just three hits.
“Walk-offs are fun,” Nola said. “Every game matters, and hopefully we can start a streak tonight.”