Trea Turner delivered the walk-off game-winning hit, a hot shot up the middle that caromed off Giants closer Camilo Doval, corkscrewed past second baseman Thairo Estrada and rolled into the outfield as the tying and winning runs dashed home and the crowd erupted as they’ve done so many times already this season.
Well, of course he did.
Since that already fabled night, August 4, when the $300 million shortstop with a .235 batting average in the first season of an 11-year free agent contract got a standing ovation at Citizens Bank Park instead of the cascade of boos that he’d previously been serenaded with, Turner is batting .353.
Phillies 4, Giants 3.
That isn’t what makes baseball such a fascinating, confounding, occasionally weird and thoroughly unpredictable game, though. The notable plot twist here is the fact that Brandon Marsh scored the winning run.
And what makes that noteworthy is that Marsh didn’t start the game because manager Rob Thomson decided to play the percentages against San Francisco’s starting pitcher, lefthander Kyle Harrison, a blue ribbon prospect making his big league debut.
Johan Rojas started in center field instead.
So, naturally, the other three Phillies lefthanded hitters who started went a combined 5-for-5 with a walk against Harrison, including a home run by Bryce Harper and doubles by Kyle Schwarber and Bryson Stott. And the six righthanders (Turner, Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm, J.T. Realmuto, Edmundo Sosa and Rojas) went 0-for-9 facing him, including five strikeouts.
After Harper’s two-run shot in the first, though, the Phillies couldn’t get anything going against a parade of Giants relievers. They trailed by a run and faced the daunting task of facing Doval, who had 33 saves and a was holding opponents to a .188 batting average.
But Stott led off and Doval nailed him on the elbow with a pitch. Manager Rob Thomson said after the game that he wouldn’t have an update on Stott’s condition until Wednesday, but that the pitch caught him squarely on the elbow.
With one out Marsh, who had entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, strolled to the plate. He not only singled up the middle but stole second to put the winning run in scoring position.
The Phillies were well aware that would probably mean taking the bat out of Schwarber’s hands, and it did. He was intentionally walked. It also meant that, with one out, the Giants had to play the infield up. Had Estrada been at normal depth, Estrada very well could have kept the ball in the infield. Stott most likely would have scored the tying run, but Marsh would been held at third.
Instead, he scored easily. Cue the delirious cheers from the 40,420. Watch the players pour out of the dugout, dancing a mad Lambada. Cut to Harry singing “High Hopes” on the gigantic message board in left. It was the Phillies eighth walk-off win of the season; by now everybody is well versed in what to do.
“We’ve done it all year, it feels like, especially at home,” Turner said. “It feels like if we’re within one or two runs in the eighth or ninth inning we put some pressure on them and get the job done. Keep fighting and you never know what’s going to happen.
“It doesn’t matter who it is. Just getting the job done. Bryce had the big home run early on. Then we couldn’t capitalize. Then the last innings guys got on base and kind of set it up.”
He felt good when the ball left his bat. “That I did my job and hope it doesn’t get caught,” her said. “Just get a good pitch to hit and put the barrel on it and that’s all you can control. And I’m glad it didn’t end up in Doval’s glove or right at Estrada.”
That hit unfolded with an eerie symmetry. Back in the fourth inning, Giants catcher Patrick Bailey hit a rocket – exit velocity: 102.5 – that glanced off the forearm of Phillies starter Taijuan Walker. . .and was caught by Turner for the out.
Turner saluted the crowd, remembering that it was this sort of enthusiasm that had helped make Philadelphia a desirable destination for him and his family.
“When Marsh got that hit and everyone was on their feet for the rest of the inning, the thought that went through my head was that this was what I’d seen last year on TV. Just a middle of the week game in August – I know we’re in the playoff hunt – by definitely not a game that should be so exciting (to the fans), but it was.”
Marsh had only one thought when he realized Turner’s hit had gone through. “Just touching the plate,” he said. “If (third base coach Dusty Wathan) stops me, he stops me. My job is to be in a position where he sends me and I’m able to get in there safely. I saw his arms waving around and there was only one thing on my mind.”
Trea Turner got the final hit. But, as usual, there was a lot more to the winning rally than that.
Giants RHP Alex Cobb (6-5, 3.75) vs. RHP Michael Lorenzen (7-8, 3.57) Wednesday at 4:05 p.m.