Phillies Game Story

‘When we're only down one, we're in it' — Phillies turn frustration into exhilaration

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They stranded runners all night long until it mattered most.

Trailing by a run in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies laced four straight hits off Padres closer Robert Suarez to walk off with a 4-3 win.

Nick Castellanos, who had a four-hit game after doubling twice in Monday’s win, delivered the game-winning knock, a bloop double down the right-field line to follow singles by Bryce Harper, Alec Bohm and Bryson Stott.

It came after the Phillies stranded 12 runners through the first eight innings, including two in the second, the bases loaded in the fourth, two in the fifth and two more in the sixth.

"When we have the heart of the lineup coming up and we're only down one, we're in it," Castellanos said. "Hats off to Bryce for being able to get the inning going because, first off, a one-run lead, I'm pretty sure the other side doesn't feel safe against us in the ninth inning. And when you have the leadoff guy on, it makes it that much more difficult for the pitcher."

This would have been a tough game to waste given how well the Phillies pitched. Aaron Nola, Orion Kerkering, Matt Strahm and Jeff Hoffman combined for seven 1-2-3 innings and faced the minimum in another. The only inning the Padres sent more than three men to the plate was the sixth when they scored all three of their runs.

"I think we have a lot of strengths but our bullpen is certainly one of them because we've got power arms, guys who throw strikes and come right after people," manager Rob Thomson said. "They can hold a team down and that's what they did tonight."

The Phils struck first when Brandon Marsh singled in Castellanos in the fourth inning, then they went quiet until the bottom of the eighth when Kyle Schwarber hit his sixth home run in eight games. It woke up the crowd and gave the dugout the jolt it needed. The Phillies pride themselves on playing all nine and this was the fourth time in 2024 they’ve won a game they trailed after eight innings.

"Just reassurance of what we all know and believe," Castellanos said, "which is that we're a really good team, and in order to beat us, you've got to put us away with all 27 outs."

Castellanos has been more productive after a slow six weeks to open the season. He’s hit .278 with a .542 slugging percentage over the last 17 games, production the Phillies would welcome rest-of-season if they could.

"Considering I haven't had the best year, to be able to come through when the team needs it, it feels good," he said.

The Phils are 49-24 after yet another series win. Teams talk about trying to win every series, and the Phillies’ record to this point has been even better than taking two of every three.

They’ve also won 14 of their last 16 games against the Padres the last three seasons as they look for a sweep on Wednesday afternoon. It’s a short turnaround with a 1:05 p.m. series finale. Ranger Suarez goes for his MLB-leading 11th win, while the Padres send out knuckle-baller Matt Waldron.

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