Phillies Game Story

Phillies do just enough at the plate, hold on to make it a winning road trip

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ST. LOUIS — Rob Thomson made a lineup change and it paid off the third cycle through as the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 4-3, on Wednesday for a series win and a victorious road trip.

Thomson moved Brandon Marsh, the Phillies' hottest hitter, up two spots to sixth, ahead of Nick Castellanos and Bryson Stott. Marsh has driven the ball more consistently than both in the early going and is tied with Bryce Harper for the team lead in home runs and RBI.

Marsh came up with men on first and second and nobody out in the sixth inning of a tie game and singled to the opposite field to plate J.T. Realmuto, who was in the lineup 12 hours after taking a bouncing curveball off the throat.

The next batter, Castellanos, jumped on the first pitch he saw from Andre Pallante and also hit an opposite-field RBI single.

The Phillies entered the day last in the National League with a .191 batting average with men on base. They finally strung hits together in the top of the sixth with four in the span of six batters, though they still missed a chance to break it open as Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner struck out with the bases loaded.

Castellanos struck out twice but has put good wood on the ball three times in the last two games, which represents progress. With such a focus on not expanding the strike zone, the Phillies' right fielder has been less aggressive at times this season on pitches he can handle. Both he and Thomson have talked about the need to find that balance.

Wednesday's conditions were difficult for hitters and pitchers alike. The starters appeared to have trouble gripping the ball early. Lance Lynn walked four and Aaron Nola walked three. The infield was a mess by the end of the first inning but the rain cleared up and the game was played without a delay.

The wet, windy environment might have helped the Phillies score two runs in the first inning. Realmuto hit a ball hard to deep center that Victor Scott II misjudged and muffed. It was a two-base error that scored Schwarber from first base and set up Alec Bohm's RBI single.

Weather has been a factor in all four of the Phillies' series thus far. Opening Day was rained out and the Braves series was frigid and windy. The Phillies dealt with more chilly weather and rain delays while hosting the Reds. Then they went to Washington D.C., where the temperature the first two games was in the low-to-mid-40s.

Following consecutive series wins on the road, the Phillies begin a 10-game homestand Thursday, weather permitting. Rain is in the forecast on Thursday and Friday and the team transferred the rehab assignments of Taijuan Walker and Orion Kerkering from Lehigh Valley to Clearwater because of the threat of weather. It appears things will finally clear up on Sunday into next week with temperatures in the low-80s.

Nola was not at his sharpest Wednesday, particularly early, but battled through six innings for his second win. He allowed two runs on solo homers by Ivan Herrera and Brendan Donovan. The only other hit he allowed was a two-out single by Alec Burleson. The conditions have played in a role in his last two starts but Nola has walked eight batters in 16 innings this season after posting the lowest walk rate in the National League (1.76 per 9 IP) from 2021-23.

Matt Strahm pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning on 12 pitches but the Cardinals made it a one-run game in the eighth against Gregory Soto and Seranthony Dominguez. Jeff Hoffman closed out the win two days after blowing a save. The Phillies may have been staying away from Jose Alvarado, who has had to work hard to get through three of six outings.

The Phillies return home 6-6 to face the Pirates, Rockies and White Sox. The Pirates are off to a surprising 9-3 start while the Rockies and White Sox are a combined 5-18 with maybe the worst two rosters in all of baseball.

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