Big days throughout the lineup as Phillies crush Reds to end series

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By Phil Sheridan

If Saturday’s loss to the Cincinnati Reds was a stinker for the Phillies, Sunday’s game did several things to clear the stench and bring in some sunshine.

The Phillies opened the game with all the energy they saved Saturday, scoring 9 runs on 8 hits. Trea Turner, whose baserunning malaise was an especially low point Saturday, hustled for two infield hits in that first inning. He really busted out the speed to score from second base on an infield single by Nick Castellanos.

Jake Cave, who was looking up at the Mendoza Line, crushed a 3-run double.

On Friday, every Phillie in the lineup had at least 1 hit. On Sunday, every hitter had at least 2 hits except for Castellanos, who had that one single. Every hitter scored at least 1 run. The Phillies finished with 23 hits. Brandon Marsh had 4 of them to raise his average to .378. Four batters had 3 hits each: Turner, Bryson Stott, Alec Bohm and J.T. Realmuto.

“With this lineup,” Stott said, “it was only a matter of time for a game like this. Today was fun.”

The 14-3 victory brought the Phillies’ record to 6-10, good for fourth place in the National League East, 6 games behind first-place Atlanta. Splitting the 4-game series with the Reds gave the Phillies an opportunity over their next 10 games.

The Phillies do not face a team with a winning record for the rest of April. They play 3 games against the Chicago White Sox (6-9) before hosting the Colorado Rockies (5-10). After that, they have interleague games against Seattle (7-8) and Houston (7-8).

Their road games against Houston should give the Phillies plenty of motivation. The Astros defeated them in the World Series 5 months ago. But those 10 games against teams off to similarly sluggish starts are a road map to erasing their poor start as they get closer to the return of Bryce Harper.

The Phillies begin this stretch in Chicago with Zack Wheeler pitching against the White Sox. That means one of the Phillies’ aces will follow a good outing from their other ace.

With a 9-0 lead to start the bottom of the first, Aaron Nola didn’t have to be at his best. And he probably wasn’t. But Nola was very good. He pitched 6 innings, holding the Reds to 2 earned runs (3 overall) and 5 hits. Nola picked up his first win after an 0-2 start to the season.

“Those long (offensive half) innings are tough on a pitcher,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “He had to sit down for a long time.”

Nola didn’t mind. He had a good seat for the track meet the Phillies staged in the first inning. The game was never in doubt after that. With Reds manager David Bell trying to minimize bullpen usage, he stayed with starter Luis Cessa for 3 full innings. He gave up 11 runs, 14 hits and 3 walks.

The last time the Phillies got 14 hits and 11 runs on one pitcher, it was 1941 against a mug by the name of Ace Adams.

It didn’t seem like a good idea Saturday when Thomson gave catcher J.T. Realmuto a day off. But it didn’t hurt, not when Realmuto went 3-for-6 with a double and a sole home run. He hit the homer in the seventh inning on the 11thpitch he saw from reliever Reiver Sanmartin. Realmuto brought a .205 batting average into Friday’s game. After Sunday, his average was up to .229.

And so on …

Right-handed pitcher Luis F. Ortiz pitched a scoreless ninth inning to finish the game. Not bad considering Ortiz wasn’t in the major leagues Saturday. The Phillies optioned reliever McKinley Moore to Triple A Lehigh  Valley after he pitched in Saturday’s blowout loss. Ortiz was called up to take Moore’s roster spot. He allowed 1 hit and struck out 2 Reds in his debut. … Josh Harrison started at third base in place of Edmundo Sosa, who left Saturday’s game with lower back pain. Harrison, who pitched an inning Saturday, went 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. … Ranger Suarez continues his recovery from an elbow injury by throwing live batting practice Tuesday in Chicago. Bryce Harper is expected to take some at-bats against the left-hander. … Harper unveiled a golden hand giving the thumbs up after Realmuto’s home run in the seventh inning. Keep your eye on the visiting dugout in Chicago.

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