'A confidence booster' for Suárez, Phillies

2 years ago

SEATTLE — This was the game that Ranger Suárez — and the Phillies’ offense — needed.

After starting the season in bumpy fashion, the Phillies’ 26-year-old lefty delivered an ace-level performance Monday night against the Mariners at T-Mobile Park.

Suárez pitched six innings of four-hit, shutout ball, while the offense pounded out 17 hits in a 9-0 victory.

The scoreless outing was a welcome development for Suárez, who came into the game with a 4.63 ERA and 1.62 WHIP over five starts.

Suárez looked much more like he did in 2021, when he finished with a 1.36 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 106 innings.

“When you pitch a shutout game like that, it gives you a lot of confidence,” Suárez said. “It’s a confidence booster, but it’s not only a confidence booster for me. I really have to thank my defense, and the team overall. They’ve been great to me, and I’m lucky to have a great defense behind me.”

Suárez danced his way out of trouble several times against the Mariners. He allowed the first two runners to reach in both the second and sixth innings, but he managed to get out of the jam in both frames.

Of the four hits Suárez allowed, three came from Mariners rookie center fielder Julio Rodríguez.

“[Suárez] lives on the ground,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “It’s because of his sinker. So doing that, knowing that coming into the game, you have to have a really good approach. We tried to stay inside some balls, and we weren’t able to do that really well. But he’s going to come after you with the sinker, and that’s what he did. He’s got good stuff.”

While Suárez dealt, the offense provided all the run support he would need in the second inning.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead when Jean Segura blasted a homer to right-center field. A few pitches later, Rhys Hoskins made it 2-0, depositing a ball into Edgar’s Cantina in left field for the team’s third back-to-back home runs of the season.

In the third inning, J.T. Realmuto drove in Nick Castellanos from second with a single to center field. The Phillies then exploded for three runs on four hits in the fifth and added three more in the seventh.

Following a mentally taxing weekend series against the Mets, when the Phillies blew a 7-1 lead in the ninth inning on Thursday before splitting a Sunday doubleheader, manager Joe Girardi was grateful that his offense and starting pitcher finally allowed him a chance to catch his breath.

“It was really nice,” Girardi said. “[Segura] got us going in that second inning, and then [Hoskins] hits one, and then you tack on some runs later, and [Suárez] knows what he is supposed to do. It wasn’t necessarily easy for him. He had some traffic, but he pitched around some jams and did a really nice job.”

Another Phillies pitcher who had a special night was right-hander Francisco Morales, who made his Major League debut. Morales, a Venezula native like Suárez, struck out Jarred Kelenic in the bottom of the seventh to start his big league career, and he followed it up by whiffing Cal Raleigh. Morales then got Abraham Toro to pop out to secure a perfect first inning.

“I always imagined myself striking out the first batter I faced,” Morales said. “That was my goal, and I accomplished that. It happened, and it was great.”

Segura returns with a bang
Segura said hello to his old home fans in explosive fashion, as the former Mariners shortstop kicked off his return to T-Mobile Park with his home run in the second inning.

Segura, who spent the 2017 and ‘18 seasons in Seattle before being traded to Philadelphia as part of the deal for J.P. Crawford, finished the night 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs.

Segura had 335 hits in his Mariners career, with 21 homers and 108 RBIs in 269 games. His homer on Monday was his fourth of the season.