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5:47 PM / Thursday April 18, 2024

2 Apr 2024

A hustle win

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April 2, 2024 Category: Sports Posted by:

To get their first win of the season, the Philadelphia Phillies went back to their Little League days.

ABOVE PHOTO: BY WEBSTER RIDDICK

By Chris Murray

For the Philadelphia Sunday Sun

If you want to understand why coaches from Little League to the major leagues harp on hustling on the basepaths on every ground ball even if it looks going to be a routine out, the Phillies 5-4 win over the Atlanta Braves was a good example of why.

In the bottom of the seventh inning with second baseman Bryson Stott at first and one out, Phillies centerfielder Johan Rojas hit a ground ball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who flipped the ball to second baseman Ozzie Albies to force Stott out at second.

When Albies relayed the ball to first baseman Matt Olson to complete what appeared to be an inning-ending, double play, Rojas was ruled out and the Phillies immediately asked the umpires for an appeal via replay. But the play was overturned because the replay cameras showed that Rojas clearly beat out the throw to first base.

After Rojas’s hustle to first base, good things began happening for the Phillies. Designated hitter Kyle Schwarber kept the inning going with a single that drove Rojas to second. Trea Turner’s RBI single to right enabled Rojas to tie the game.

First baseman Alec Bohm’s single to center which bounced past the glove of Braves center field Adam Duvall to score both Schwarber and Turner to put the Phillies ahead 5-3. The Braves added a run in the eighth, but that’s as close as they would get.

After getting thoroughly dominated at home in the first two games of their season-opening series against the Atlanta Braves, the Phillies managed to scratch out a win thanks to Rojas’ speed and hustle on the basepaths.

Phaithful Phillies Phans! Photo: Webster Riddick

“That’s a huge play in the game being able to beat the double play to extend the inning,” Schwarber said. “(Turner) has a great (at-bat) gets down 0-2 and is able to stay through the baseball. Bohm with a big hit and J.T. (Realmuto) with a big hit. Those are the little things that can help win baseball games. …It’s a great effort, extends the inning and good things happen for us.”

Even though Rojas is hitless in the first three games of the season and struggled to hit during spring training, Phillies manager Rob Thomson said the young outfielder is fighting through his hitting woes.

“Rojas beating that ball out was the biggest part of the game. … To keep the inning going was really good,” Thomson said. “He’s battling and for the most part, he’s giving us good at-bats. He’s dynamic. He runs the bases. That play kept that inning alive because of his speed.”

Sunday‘s game wasn’t a good beginning for the Phillies because for the second straight game, the Braves jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run homer by Ozzie Albies off Phillies starting pitcher Ranger Suarez.

But unlike Saturday’s blowout loss, Suarez was able to minimize the damage of the Albies home run. In five innings on the mound, he allowed three runs on three hits and had seven strike outs.

“(Albies home run) didn’t get me out of my plan,” Suarez said through team interpreter Diego D’Aniello Perez. “I stay focused on my game plan throughout the whole game. It was a first-inning home run. You’ve got to let go of it and just continue with your game plan. In my case, it was locating all my pitches. The cutter and the fastball. I could do that.”

The Phillies came back in the bottom of first with a lead-off home run Schwarber to cut Atlanta’s lead to 2-1.

Braves added another run in the fourth inning on an RBI single by left fielder Adam Duvall that scored Austin Riley, who doubled to open the inning.

The Phillies cut deficit to 3-2 when Schwarber grounded into a double play that scored Edmundo Sosa.

Meanwhile, the Phillies bullpen combination of Jeff Hoffman, Matt Strahm, Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto and Jose Alvarado held the Braves to just one run on four hits in last four innings of the game. Strahm got the win and Alvarado notched his first save of the season.

The Phillies will see if they can continue their winning ways when they take the field against the Cincinnati Reds this week.

Phaithful Phillies Phans! Photo: Webster Riddick

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