Phillies nearly let one slip away before pulling out tense extra-inning win

The Phillies nearly gave away a game they led by three runs with four outs to go but were able to pull it out in extra innings, beating the Diamondbacks 4-3 on Wednesday night.

At 34-34, they’ve reached .500 for the first time since they were 20-20 a month and a day ago.

Ranger Suarez pitched seven scoreless innings — his fourth straight excellent start — and handed the ball off to the bullpen. All four of Seranthony Dominguez, Gregory Soto, Craig Kimbrel and Jose Alvarado were available for the final two innings and it’s a good thing they were because all of them were used in high-stress situations.

Dominguez hung a slider over the heart of the plate to allow a two-out, two-strike, game-tying three-run home run to Christian Walker in the bottom of the eighth. Evan Longoria followed with a single up the middle and Dominguez was lifted for the lefty Soto, who walked Ketel Marte then induced a first-pitch, inning-ending groundout.

Craig Kimbrel worked around a two-out double in the ninth to send the game to extras, where the Phillies scored a run thanks to another Arizona outfield snafu. Trea Turner popped a ball up into shallow right field, where right fielder Jake McCarthy and second baseman Geraldo Perdomo collided. Neither caught the ball and it put runners on second and third. It was initially ruled a double for Turner but changed to an error on McCarthy. Nick Castellanos hit a sacrifice fly for what turned out to be the game-winning run.

Jose Alvarado entered in the bottom of the 10th with the automatic runner at second base and went groundout, walk, strikeout, groundout to end the tense game.

The Phillies have won two of their first three in Arizona and nine of their last 11 games overall.

J.T. Realmuto has had a monster series in the desert. He hit for the cycle Monday, added another double, triple and three runs scored on Tuesday, then launched a solo homer to left field Wednesday night. Realmuto is a streaky hitter but this has been an especially streaky season. He’d hit .116 in his previous 21 games, .386 in the 16 prior to that.

Realmuto’s homer was the Phillies’ third run. They scored their first two on simple groundball fielder’s choices to shortstop with runners on the corners and less than two outs in the second and third innings.

Suarez is on a roll. He has a 1.35 ERA over his last four starts and has pitched 7, 7, 6⅔ and 6 innings. The Phillies are 5-2 in Suarez’ starts and 9-5 behind Taijuan Walker. A 14-7 record from the middle of the rotation is a big win and the Phillies need them both to continue to perform to this level to help offset the lack of a fifth starter.

The four-game series in Arizona ends Thursday afternoon. Aaron Nola (5-5, 4.60) starts opposite 25-year-old right-hander Ryne Nelson (3-3, 4.95).

Nelson shut the Phillies down at Citizens Bank Park on May 23, allowing a run over six innings. He was hit hard his next two starts but is coming off of a scoreless performance in Detroit.