Phillies Game Story

Phillies' magic number for 4-seed down to 4 after walk-off win

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The Phillies went to extra innings for the fourth time in 12 days Friday, blowing another save late but walking off over the Mets, 5-4, with an Alec Bohm single in the bottom of the 10th.

Seranthony Dominguez loaded the bases in the top of the inning but escaped with a strikeout of slugger Pete Alonso.

The Phillies' bullpen, one of baseball's best since June 1, has made things too interesting of late. Six times in the last 13 games, they have allowed the game-tying or go-ahead run(s) in the eighth inning or later. The Phils have gone 7-6 in those games.

They were two outs away from winning through nine when Craig Kimbrel blew his fourth save, allowing a solo home run to Brett Baty on a fastball right down the middle. Kimbrel was pitching for a third straight day for the first time this season. He hasn't made more than this year's 68 appearances since 2011.

Still, the Phillies were able to end the drama with the tying run and pull out a win, just as they did Wednesday afternoon in Atlanta. The Phils are 85-69 with eight games left. Their magic number to clinch the top wild-card spot is down to 4. The Diamondbacks lost to the Yankees Friday night so the Phils' lead over them for the 4-seed is four games, plus the tiebreaker.

The D-backs are a game up on the Cubs for the 5-seed. Arizona owns that tiebreaker, too. The D-backs look like a difficult matchup for the Phils in the sense that they should be able to align Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly, two of the National League's toughest right-handers, for Games 1 and 2 unless at least two of the Cubs, Marlins and Reds close the gap by the final two games of the regular season.

From Arizona's perspective, saving Gallen and Kelly for the playoffs is probably more important than finishing the 5-seed rather than the 6-seed, which is why the Phillies would ideally want more than one team below Arizona to make things interesting.

The Phillies were quiet through five innings and trailed by two against Mets right-hander Tylor Megill, who also held them scoreless twice last April. There were two outs in the sixth inning, the Phillies' first chance with multiple men on base, when J.T. Realmuto delivered his biggest swing in over a month, sending a high, 93-mph heater over the wall in left-center for a three-run homer.

It was Realmuto's 20th of the season and first at Citizens Bank Park since August 11. For whatever reason, he has done the vast majority of his damage on the road this year. He has 14 homers and 36 extra-base hits on the road, six homers and 17 extra-base hits at home. He's hit over .300 on the road, under .200 at home. Manager Rob Thomson joked last month that it might be because he has three kids.

Taijuan Walker did his job Friday and kept the Phillies in the game, allowing two runs over six innings in his best start since July 31. He had gone seven in a row without a quality start (at least six innings, no more than three earned runs).

Walker is 16-5 with a 4.35 ERA. The Phillies are 21-9 in his starts. His 165⅔ innings are just four shy of matching a career-high set back in 2015. He figures to make one more regular-season start, probably in Game 160 at Citi Field next Friday. If the Phillies move Zack Wheeler ahead of him to next Thursday, Wheeler would be on regular rest and lined up for Game 1 of the wild-card round on October 3.

Kyle Schwarber reached the 100 RBI mark for the first time with a seventh-inning RBI single. Despite hitting .198, his on-base percentage is 22 points higher than it was last season. His 45 home runs are second in the majors to Matt Olson and his 123 walks are second to Juan Soto.

The Phillies can win the four-game series Saturday if they even take the field. Storms are expected all weekend and at least one of the games could be pushed to Monday when both teams are off. Zack Wheeler and Cristopher Sanchez are scheduled to start the next two.

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