Kyle Schwarber blasts Phillies to a win over the Dodgers, their sixth straight

Tribune Content Agency

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies were tied with the Dodgers, 4-4, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, and it seemed like the game was about to go into extra innings.

Then Kyle Schwarber stepped up to the plate.

He promptly launched a Caleb Ferguson cutter 389 feet to right field to give the Phillies’ a 5-4 win over the Dodgers, their sixth straight. Schwarber has now hit 17 home runs this season (compared to 15 singles), four of them coming in June.

Through the first six innings, however, Friday’s game was setting up to be a relatively unexciting Phillies win. The defense committed no errors, and Kody Clemens made a highlight-reel play. Ranger Suárez gave them six innings of one-run ball. The lineup was manufacturing runs. They were cruising.

But in the seventh inning, the Phillies (31-32) got a stark reminder of just who they were facing. Matt Strahm took the mound in relief of Suárez. He walked Miguel Vargas, struck out Miguel Rojas and Jonny Deluca, and allowed back-to-back home runs to Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman.

In the span of two at-bats, the Phillies’ 4-1 lead had vanished. This series was always going to be a litmus test for them. Over their past two series, they had faced sub-.500 teams and won five straight games. But this weekend, they’re facing the 36-28 Dodgers, who rank fourth in baseball in OPS (.791), second in home runs (109), and third in slugging percentage (.461).

With the game now tied, 4-4, and a meeting with catcher J.T. Realmuto, Strahm fell into a 3-0 count before throwing four sinkers in the top right-hand corner of the zone. Will Smith hit the fourth for an inning-ending groundout.

The Phillies encountered more adversity from there. They went down 1-2-3 in the seventh. José Alvarado, making his first appearance since being activated off injured list pregame, did not show the pinpoint command that one has come to expect from him. He allowed a double to J.D. Martinez to start the eighth, induced a lineout — thanks to leaping grab by Bryson Stott — and a strikeout, walked Vargas, and struck out Deluca.

Realmuto was hit by a pitch with one out in the eighth, but the Phillies were unable to capitalize on it. Gregory Soto retired Rojas, Betts, and Freeman in order to keep the game tied, 4-4, heading into the bottom of the ninth. Pinch-hitter Drew Ellis grounded out, Edmundo Sosa flied out, and then Schwarber stepped up to the plate to provide an exciting Phillies win, after all.