SAN DIEGO – The Phillies’ West Coast road trip to Los Angeles and San Diego was not particularly long, but boy was it strange.
It also appeared to be destined for disaster until a couple of guys who weren’t even on the roster when the team left Dodger Stadium on Sunday delivered some of the team’s biggest hits of the season.
Jay Bruce, in his first start with the Phillies after being acquired from the Seattle Mariners on Sunday, contributed three hits, including two home runs, and six RBIs to Tuesday night’s win over the San Diego Padres at Petco Park, ending the team’s five-game losing streak. It was a terrific story.
Rookie center fielder Adam Haseley scripted a better one Wednesday. Hitless in his first six big-league at-bats, he stepped to the plate with one out in the seventh and drew a seven-pitch walk that set in motion an unlikely 7-5 come-from-behind win for the Phillies over the Padres in the final game of their six-game trip.
“I think it was one of the most important wins of the year for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It would have been easy to quit and go back and lick our wounds on the off day [Thursday], and our guys fought to the very last out.”
Down 4-1 after three innings and 5-2 going into the seventh, Haseley scored when Cesar Hernandez delivered a two-out triple down the right-field line. Former Washington Nationals reliever Craig Stammen came on to face Bryce Harper and the Phillies’ right fielder won the battle against his former teammate by punching an RBI double into right-center field.
Jean Segura singled home the tying run, but that would be his second biggest contribution to the Phillies’ go-home-happy victory.
Scott Kingery, who started this road trip as the Phillies’ potential center fielder of the future and ended it as their potential third baseman of the future, drew a two-out walk in the eighth off Stammen.
Up stepped Haseley, still in search of his first big-league hit. He quickly went down 0-2 in the count against Stammen.
“All a blur pretty much,” Haseley said. “Just trying to stay alive. All three pitches were away and the ball was running a lot, so I was just trying to put the ball in play.”
The rookie succeeded and his placement could not have been any better. The ball went down the third-base line and caromed off the stands into left field, allowing Kingery to score the go-ahead run from first base.
“I don’t know how we win this game without those two at-bats from Haseley,” Kapler said.
Plenty of work remained to be done. Andrew Knapp, who had spent the morning working with hitting instructor John Mallee, gave the Phillies some insurance with an RBI single in the eighth, but there was turbulence ahead in the bottom of the inning.
Seranthony Dominguez left the game with two runners on and one out because of soreness in his elbow, forcing Kapler to lean on closer Hector Neris for a five-out save.
Neris walked Greg Garcia to load the bases with one out, but then he struck out pinch-hitter Ian Kinsler, setting up a classic confrontation with could-have-been-a-Phillie Manny Machado.
The count stood at 2-2 after Neris threw Machado four straight fastballs, including one that sailed all the way to the backstop but took a fortuitous bounce back to catcher J.T. Realmuto, preventing a run from scoring.
Machado lifted Neris’ next pitch, a splitter, into shallow left field. Bruce was playing deep, so Segura was the only player who had a chance to get it.
“A heart-attack moment in the dugout,” Kapler said.
Segura admitted his stomach churned as he was in pursuit.
“I knew I had a chance,” Segura said. “When you’re running like that and you make the catch, it’s a good feeling. It was a huge win.”
The victory felt especially good for Segura because he was involved in the odd play Monday night that led to left fielder Andrew McCutchen’s season-ending knee injury.
“Tough,” Segura said. “I didn’t sleep well the last two nights. I think about it. I felt really bad for Cutch. At the end of the day, I don’t think my hustle had anything to do with the injury. It happened. I’m not that type of player. I do my best, hustling, playing 100 percent.
"It was just something that happened. I made a mistake. I have no excuses. I have to keep moving forward and pray for him.”
Winning always eases the pain, and sometimes when you deliver the game-winning hit you get a kiss from your wife afterward.
That’s what happened for Haseley in the hallway outside the clubhouse late Wednesday afternoon. His fan club that rushed to San Diego after his midnight call-up Tuesday remained for Wednesday’s game and saw some comeback magic.
“You can’t really put into words how to describe it,” Haseley said.
Describing the Phillies’ strange six-game West Coast trip was not easy either.