PHILADELPHIA -- To anybody who wondered how the Phillies could possibly overcome losing two-thirds of their Opening-Day outfield in the span of one week, let it be said that the solution came straight out of left field.
Center field, too.
Jay Bruce and Scott Kingery have stepped into the breach and filled in so well for these last two weeks that the Phillies have hardly missed Andrew McCutchen and Odubel Herrera. They have been the toughest outs in the lineup and caught just about everything they were supposed to catch in the outfield.
And they did all of the above on Tuesday night in a 7-4 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks before an announced crowd of 26,321 at Citizens Bank Park.
Kingery slugged a three-run home run in the second inning to stake the Phillies to an early lead. Bruce notched two more hits, including an RBI single in the fifth inning, and made a diving catch to save two runs in the third inning and help Jake Arrieta earn his first victory since May 25 and only his second since the end of April.
Make it three homers in the last two games for Kingery, who was one of the worst hitters in the majors as a rookie last season but entered the game with a team-leading .610 slugging percentage. Kingery looks so comfortable at the plate and in center field that it's easy to forget that he's been playing out of position since Herrera was arrested on domestic assault charges at an Atlantic City casino on Memorial Day, McCutchen suffered a season-ending knee injury seven days later, and rookie Adam Haseley landed on the injured list with a groin strain only a few days after being rushed to the majors.
Bruce, meanwhile, has been a hit machine since the Phillies acquired him from the Seattle Mariners for a middling prospect on June 2, one day before McCutchen got hurt. The 32-year-old veteran, who has inspired chants of "Bruuuuuuce" after every hit and catch, has taken over in left field and gotten a hit in all but one of eight games for the Phillies, going 11 for 29 with five homers and 13 RBIs.
Where would the Phillies be without them?
Not still tied for first place with the Atlanta Braves, that's for sure.
After getting hit hard in each of his previous two starts, Arrieta had to work hard for six innings. He gave up six hits and four walks, had only one clean inning, and threw 105 pitches. Yet he walked off the mound with a 6-3 lead in tow after Tim Locastro's bid for a game-tying homer landed in Bruce's glove on the warning track in left field in the sixth inning.
There were other close calls for Arrieta, too.
In the third inning, for instance, with the Phillies leading 4-0, the Diamondbacks had two on with one out when Ketel Marte hit a sinker off the end of his bat and into shallow left field. Bruce, known more for his offense than his glove, closed on the ball, extended his right arm, dove and caught it.
Arrieta gave up two runs in the fourth inning on David Peralta's leadoff double, a two-out walk of Nick Ahmed and Carson Kelly's double past diving Kingery in center field. The Diamondbacks cut the margin to 4-3 in the fifth when Jarrod Dyson drew a leadoff walk and scored on a sacrifice fly.
But the Phillies padded the lead in the fifth inning. Rhys Hoskins walked, went to third on a double by J.T. Realmuto and scored on a throwing error by Peralta in left field. Bruce followed with an RBI single to make it 6-3 and allow for additional breathing room for Arrieta in the sixth inning and relievers J.D. Hammer, Juan Nicasio and Hector Neris in the seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
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