The Phillies finished off a series win against the Padres in grandiose fashion on Sunday. Despite Kyle Gibson’s rough performance, Kyle Schwarber led yet another come-from-behind victory for the cardiac kids.
Things started out pretty rocky, as Kyle Gibson allowed five earned runs on four hits and three walks in only 2.2 innings. That put the Phils in a 5-2 hole in only the third inning. However, longman Nick Nelson steadied the ship with 3.1 perfect innings to keep the Phillies in the game. Kyle Schwarber put the Phils back on top with an opposite-field three-run shot in the seventh. Garrett Stubbs would tack on another run in the eighth with an RBI single, and Matt Vierling scampered home on a wild pitch in the ninth to make it 8-5 good guys. Andrew Bellatti tossed a one-two-three bottom of the ninth to earn his first career save, and made the Phillies series winners in the process.
It was an exciting game start to finish for the Phils, and the victory was made all the more special by the fact that it was the team’s first game without last year’s NL MVP Bryce Harper. Harper fractured his left thumb on an errant Blake Snell fastball Saturday night, and will be on the Injured List indefinitely. With Harper likely on the shelf for at the very least a month, it’s encouraging to see others stepping up in his stead. The Phils’ got contributions from up and down the lineup in this one, as every player in the starting lineup reached base safely. Kyle Schwarber is an obvious standout, given his go-ahead homer, as is the struggling Nick Castellanos with a four-hit day. Matt Vierling continued his quietly productive month, notching two more base hits.
While the offense was terrific, the most credit should go to the bullpen. Kyle Gibson put the team in a big hole early, and Nick Nelson and his comrades were able to keep the Padres at bay for 6.1 innings. For a relief corps that has blown a multitude of contests this year, this is a very good sign.
With Bryce Harper’s injury looming large at the moment, the Phillies need to take things one game at a time. Hopefully they can stay in the hunt until their MVP is back, and then make a real run at the postseason. If this weekend’s Phillies-Padres series shows us anything, it’s that we shouldn’t abandon hope just yet.