PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Schwarber lofted a sky-high fly ball to right-center field in the third inning on Monday night.
It started to fall about 10 feet from the warning track. Rockies right fielder Charlie Blackmon coasted toward it. It looked like he had it, but he pulled up and looked to center fielder Randal Grichuk for help. But Grichuk had already backed away because he lost the ball in the lights. The ball fell between them for a two-out double. It scored two runs to give the Phillies a one-run lead in an 8-2 victory at Citizens Bank Park.
“I think we were due, yeah,” Kyle Gibson said. “That’s a good way to put it lightly. Yeah, we were due.”
“At least something went our way,” Jean Segura said.
Or maybe it was just baseball.
“We can say it happened for a reason or he’s hit so many balls hard this year that it dropped, but I think it’s just the game,” Bryce Harper said. “It happens sometimes. It just happened to score our team two runs.”
The Phillies improved to a 7-10 record, which is not the start anybody wanted. But there is a belief that things will turn.
Perhaps a win like this gets them going.
“I think nights like these can really springboard a little bit,” Gibson said. “There’s not much panic going on in here, you know? We know that we’ve hit the ball hard. I think Rhys [Hoskins] has hit the ball hard the third-best out of anybody and he’s hitting [.232]. I mean, we’re hitting the ball hard and we’re hitting it right at guys. Sometimes that’s how it goes. We’ve been talking in here. We just have this feeling that when we get going it’s going to be tough sledding for the visiting team that comes in here and wherever we’re going. So as a pitching staff if we can keep having nights like this where we’re giving up four or less, we have a really good chance of winning the ball game.”
Harper hit a solo homer to left-center field in the fifth to make it 4-2. It was his third homer of the season. The Phillies scored four more runs in the seventh. Meanwhile, Gibson recovered nicely after he allowed a first-pitch home run to Connor Joe to start the game. Gibson allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. Seranthony Domínguez, Jeurys Familia, James Norwood and Bailey Falter pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to save it.
But it is the offense that will need to propel this team to the postseason. They are built to hit.
“I felt like we were due because I think we lined out a number of times and it’s just been some bad luck,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You keep hitting the ball hard, eventually you’re going to get some breaks. We got one tonight.”
Segura sees it that way, too. The previous night he got called for a first-pitch strike in a 1-0 loss to the Brewers. It was the farthest pitch off the plate called for a strike this season, according to Statcast. But on Monday he walked in the fourth, singled in the seventh and advanced from first to third on a single to left. It sparked a rally.
“We kept moving forward,” Segura said. “We scored a bunch of runs today. We played aggressive baseball. It was huge for us. It’s probably a good sign because every year we start hot and then end the year kind of cold. I feel like this year is going to be backwards. We started a little cold. Maybe at the end of the year we finish hot and go to the playoffs. This team is great. The offense is going to come. … It’s going to move. You can’t stink forever.”