CINCINNATI — For 44 minutes on Sunday, before the finale of another series that didn’t go as planned, it was Veles Slow to delay rain. How fitting. Because the extra time to get over the humiliation of the previous day 13 times doesn’t hurt anyone.
Then they explained what catharsis looks like.
Once the rain stopped and the tarp was out of the field, it took them 12 minutes to get around. In all, they sent 13 batters to the plate in the first inning, ambushed Reds batter Luis Sessa for nine runs — on just 37 total runs — and won 14-3 on a knee strike on their way out of Cincinnati.
“Definitely need it,” said Aaron Nola, the biggest beneficiary of the outbreak. “It’s a long season. We obviously didn’t start out the way we wanted to, but it’s a talented squad here. We know that. We just keep playing our ball, and things will start to go our way.”
The Phillies hit their biggest home run in four years — even today, in fact — since a 10-inning first inning on April 16, 2019 against the Mets. It started with Bryson Stott leading, continued with a triple double by Jake Cave opening up the lead 5-0, and didn’t stop until Kyle Schwarber doubled home Trea Turner, who hit a pair of singles and scored twice in the inning.
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By the third inning, every Phillies player had at least one hit; By the seventh, they all had at least one RBI. They finished with a season-high 23 hits, four short of their combined total from the first three games of the series.
Brandon Marsh had four hits. Stott, Turner, JT Realmoto and Alec Boom all had three strokes each. Turner has reached base five times. The Phillies were 11-for-27 with runners in scoring position—and somehow, they still left 15 men on base.
“Like we said, the lineup we have, it was only a matter of time before one of these games happened,” said Stott, who extended his hitting streak to 16 games, tying Willie “Puddin’ Head” Jones in 1950 for the franchise’s longest to open a season. “It was really fun.”
Stott was the MVP of the Phillies’ disappointing 6-10 start. Until now. He’s 27-for-71 (. 380) with a 0.389 on-base percentage. Leave it to the sophomore second baseman, then, to jump on Cessa’s second pitch of the game and send him to the first row in right field.
“He keeps getting on base, you know?” said manager Rob Thompson. “That’s the key. Tria got on base five times today. Those two guys are on base, you have it.” [Kyle] Schwarber, [Nick] Castellanos, Marsh, GT behind them, you have a good opportunity to create a lot of running.”
Just don’t mention Stott’s hit streak – or ask the superstitious advanced guy what he knows about Puddin’ Head Jones.
“Nothing,” he said, laughing.
Not even that the Whiz Kids’ third baseman hit 16 straight games to start 1950?
“We’ll keep that aside,” Stott said, laughing again.
fair enough. But after Stott’s homer, the next three batters reached base, with Marsh dunking a broken bat into right field to open up a 2–0 lead. Two batters later, Bohm fired a line drive to third base that drove in another run.
Once the cave double lined the other way to the base of the wall in left field, the track was on.
“It was contagious,” Marsh said. “Just pass the stick. Don’t try to do too much. Just strum the die, draw your walk, and if you get something on the board, do some damage with it. That was a lot of fun today.”
Nola settles in
If the rain delay wasn’t enough, Nola had to sit across the long top of the first half. Not that he would ever complain about having a nine-run lead before throwing a pitch.
“I was very relaxed at first, but then we scored the nine runs, so I just walked around and moved my arms and stretched a little bit,” Nola said. “You have to take a step back and treat it like a zero-sum game.”
Nola has never been sharper. He walked three batters and allowed five hits in six innings pitched. But he also had an easy 10-pitch first inning and made sure the Reds never again got into the game, unlike Opening Day in Texas when they couldn’t build a 5-0 lead against the Rangers.
“It’s difficult for pitchers sometimes in this type of game because they sit all the time while hitting,” Thompson said. “But he responded well.”
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Marsh takes center stage
It’s rare for an outfielder to steal a hit on a sacrifice fly, but Marsh did just that in the fourth inning.
With runners on second and third, Kevin Newman made a line sear to center field that was issued a pass to go past Marsh’s head after he broke up the ball. But Marsh changed direction, backed off, and raised his arm to catch.
Even with the initial error, Marsh made a nice play. Newman’s drive held a . 580 expected batting average, according to Statcast.
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