Phillies Game Story

Phillies hang on to sweep Rockies after the lineup's best night of the season

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The Phillies finally had the offensive night they'd been waiting for, scoring four runs quickly and tacking on in the middle innings for three more, all of which they needed as a blowout turned into a nailbiter.

They hung on, 7-6, to finish off a sweep of the Rockies and win for the ninth time in 13 games.

Colorado scored once on Cristopher Sanchez in the top of the first but the Phillies came right back with home runs by Kyle Schwarber and Trea Turner on Ryan Feltner's seventh and eighth pitches of the game.

The early rally didn't stop there. J.T. Realmuto singled, Alec Bohm doubled and Brandon Marsh singled as the Phils added two more runs to give the lowly Rockies little hope of coming back. It's what you want to do against any team but particularly a bad one that can be put out of its misery within the game's first hour.

The Phillies added another run in the fifth with Turner scoring on a Realmuto groundout after doubling. Schwarber popped a second homer in the sixth inning for two more runs.

"I think we have confidence in ourselves, it’s just a matter of doing it, obviously," Turner said. "Tonight was more us. You’re going to have nights where you have to battle and play small ball and you’re going to have nights like this when you drive the ball. That’s why we’re a good team, we can win in a lot of different ways. Tonight was fun."

The game was in hand, but Gregory Soto melted down in the eighth inning, putting five of the six hitters he faced on base. All of them scored. Jose Alvarado recorded the final three outs for his eighth consecutive scoreless outing.

This was probably the best overall night in the season's first three weeks from the Phillies' lineup, which entered with an MLB-low 34 extra-base hits. They hung a season-high nine runs on the Reds two weeks ago but that was essentially the Bryce Harper Show as he homered three times and drove in six. This time, it was seven different guys.

Schwarber had a multi-homer game Wednesday. Turner has hit .425 over his last 10 games with four doubles and two homers.

"I feel like last few games, I was taking the swings I wanted maybe 50 percent of the time," Turner said. "I wasn't totally there. Tonight felt more like I repeated my swing every single time. Got some good pitches to hit and didn't miss them. That's the key, when you get those pitches, you've got to capitalize on them. I controlled what I could control and it's really felt good."

The quality of Johan Rojas' contact and pitch selection has improved significantly over the last week. He walked, stole a base, laced a double and an opposite-field single Wednesday night after walking and laying down a perfect bunt Tuesday.

"Great night," manager Rob Thomson said. "Took advantage of a little hanging slider for a double, had a walk and another well-hit ball to the opposite field. I think you have to see it night after night for a while to figure it out, but he’s certainly better and right now, he’s holding his own."

Turner had a conversation with Rojas in the cage early Wednesday, and while he didn't divulge exactly what was said, he saw immediate dividends.

"I think he's pretty relaxed, he just wants to play well, like anybody," Turner said. "I don't think he's necessarily pressing, he's just trying to find his way. I talked to him in the cage for a while today, we worked on a couple things and I feel like it showed up immediately. Driving that breaking ball to left-center was really nice, then a tough AB in the next at-bat and to hit another ball hard the other way is a good sign."

On the mound, Sanchez authored the Phillies' latest strong start. He had his entire arsenal working, missing bats with all three of his sinker, changeup and slider. He struck out 10 over six innings, allowing just an unearned run. He threw 97 pitches and 18 were swinging strikes, nearly double his career rate.

After walking three batters in each of his last two starts, Sanchez (1-2, 2.53 ERA) issued only one free pass to the Rockies. That was a focus and the primary key to his success in 2023 when he walked just 17 batters in 101⅓ innings.

"I think the confidence is key for him right now, it's really good," Turner said. "I think last year, he learned he can pitch in the league and be really good. He doesn't get sped up in the moment. His starts have been really good for us, real quality starts."

The Phils are 11-8, three games better than at this time a year ago, and their next series is just as sweepable against the 3-15, American League-worst Chicago White Sox.

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