Phillies vs. Padres: Kyle Schwarber leads comeback win in Phils’ first game without Bryce Harper

In their first game without the injured Bryce Harper, every Phillies hitter reached base and Kyle Schwarber turned the afternoon around with one big swing in an 8-5 comeback win.

Schwarber’s opposite-field three-run homer in the seventh inning brought the Phils back from down two runs to win the series. They took three of four from the Padres, who lead the NL wild-card race.

The Phillies’ bullpen deserves major credit for these last two wins. From the sixth inning Saturday through the eighth inning Sunday, Phillies relievers retired 34 consecutive Padres hitters. Nick Nelson settled things down for the Phils in the series finale with 3⅓ perfect innings after Kyle Gibson allowed five runs and failed to make it out of the third inning.

In the 12 games since the Phillies shook things up at the back end, moving Corey Knebel out of the closer’s role, the bullpen has a 2.89 ERA and 0.94 WHIP with a .164 opponents’ batting average. Knebel pitched the seventh inning Sunday, Jose Alvarado had the eighth and Andrew Bellatti closed it out with Seranthony Dominguez apparently unavailable.

The Phillies’ offense had a solid approach against a tough right-hander in Yu Darvish, forcing him to throw 102 pitches through six innings. It was his shortest outing in six starts, a span during which Darvish had a 1.87 ERA. The Phillies were able to score twice off of him in the second inning and once in the fifth. 

Nick Castellanos singled off of Darvish three times and had his first four-hit game of the season. The Phils’ plan was clearly to run on Darvish and catcher Austin Nola with Castellanos, Odubel Herrera and Bryson Stott all swiping second base.

 

Darvish exited after six innings and the Phillies immediately took it to Padres reliever Nabil Crismatt. Schwarber has been a force for a month, hitting .283/.403/.672 with 11 homers, 24 RBI and 25 runs scored in his last 26 games. The Phillies will need Schwarber to stay hot and Castellanos to get hot to offset the loss of Harper, who suffered a fractured thumb Saturday night after being hit by a Blake Snell fastball.

Every Phillies starter but Didi Gregorius had a hit Sunday and the team went 5 for 11 with runners in scoring position. One of those hits, a Garrett Stubbs single, brought home an important insurance run in the eighth inning. The Phils tacked on another in the ninth when Matt Vierling doubled, moved up on a Schwarber groundout and scored on a wild pitch.

The Phillies return home 39-35 after going 7-4 on a long road trip. They’re off Monday, then have another tough stretch of games with 12 of 15 against the Braves, Cardinals and Blue Jays. The Phils host Atlanta Tuesday through Thursday and St. Louis this weekend.


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