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Phillies' bats go cold, lose to Colorado Rockies on walk-off single in extras

Alex Coffey, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Baseball

DENVER — No one would guess that the Philadelphia Phillies’ bats would go cold in Denver, of all places, but that was what happened on Friday night in a 3-2 extra innings loss to the Colorado Rockies. They went 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and combined for two runs on seven hits. When José Alvarado stepped onto the mound in the ninth, he did so with a one-run lead.

Alvarado struck out Jordan Beck, struck out Hunter Goodman, and then pinch hitter Jacob Stallings stepped up to the plate. Stallings hit the first pitch he saw, a sinker, to left center field for a solo, game-tying home run.

After a misplay by Whit Merrifield on an Ezequiel Tovar single in the next at-bat, Alvarado induced a groundout to send the game into extras.

Brandon Marsh pinch hit for Edmundo Sosa in the 10th inning and struck out. Merrifield walked, and Kody Clemens, who was pinch hitting for Johan Rojas, hit a bloop single. Kyle Schwarber struck out. J.T. Realmuto worked reliever Nick Mears to a 2-1 count, and first base umpire Edwin Moscoso called a check swing on Realmuto on a ball outside the zone to make it 2-2.

Realmuto grounded out to end the inning. José Ruiz pitched the 10th. He intentionally walked Elias Díaz, struck out Kris Bryant, and induced a tailor-made double play for Clemens, but Clemens threw the ball wide to Alec Bohm at first base. Bohm recovered it quickly, and the runner at third was unable to score. Ruiz induced a fly out to Brenton Boyle to end the inning.

Rojas and Bohm recorded back-to-back strikeouts in the 11th, and Nick Castellanos grounded out. Gregory Soto pitched the bottom half of the inning, intentionally walking Beck, striking out Jake Cave, and walking Ryan McMahon. Tovar hit a single to walk it off for the Rockies.

A good night for Sánchez

A few hours before Friday’s game, manager Rob Thomson was talking about the growth Cristopher Sánchez has made this season, when he paused, and added one important caveat.

“He’s got to make sure he’s throwing his change-up,” Thomson said, “because that’s his pitch.”

 

There have been a few games this year where Sánchez hasn’t thrown as many changeups as the Phillies would like. On April 29, against the Angels, he threw just 15. The last time he saw the Rockies, on April 17, he threw 30 (31% of his pitches).

But on Friday night against the Rockies, Sánchez threw 36 changeups, amounting to 43% of his 83 pitches thrown. He induced nine whiffs of his 11 whiffs on the night on that pitch.

It was a good night for Sánchez, who again, showed an ability to pitch through traffic. He allowed seven hits, but he scattered them across his 51/3 innings of work, ensuring that the Rockies didn’t build any momentum. In the bottom of the fifth, they started to make contact with Sánchez’s change-up.

With one out, Goodman doubled, Alan Trejo singled, and Tovar singled to drive in one run. Pitching coach Caleb Cotham walked out to the mound, and Sánchez threw five more sinkers to end the inning on a fly out and a groundout.

Sánchez was pulled in the sixth inning, after allowing a single to Bryant, a pop out to Elehuris Montero, and his first and only walk of the day, to Brenton Doyle. He didn’t induce many strikeouts — only two — but saw his velocity tick up again. The Phillies lefty averaged 95.3 mph on his sinker, and 85.9 on his change-up. His hardest pitch of the night clocked in at 96.6 mph.

Harper ejected in the first inning

Bohm was playing first base because Bryce Harper was ejected after his at-bat in the first inning. Home plate umpire Brian Walsh made a called strike call that Harper disagreed with, and after striking out, the Phillies’ first baseman threw his helmet on the ground. He tried to talk to Walsh about the call — in a seemingly non-heated way — but Harper was quickly thrown out. Harper and manager Thomson continued to talk to Walsh, even after the ejection.


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