The Phillies packed more ups and downs in their weekend series against the Padres than an Empire State Building elevator during the middle of tourist season.
As of the middle of Saturday afternoon, they seemed to be a discombobulated bunch, well on their way to losing fourth straight desultory loss. But before the sun set twice they had engineered three straight come-from-behind wins including Sunday’s all-the-baseball-you-can-handle special, a 7-6 win at Citizens Bank that started with a three-hour rain delay and ended with three extra innings.
That set off the loud music and smoke machine in the postgame clubhouse yet again, a remarkable turnabout from where they had been earlier the previous day. They are in a virtual tie for one of the three National League wild card spots.
There were far too many twists and turns packed into this long day’s journey into night to properly account for every inflection point. But here’s a rough inventory of the most significant points.
•Kyle Schwarber won the game in the 12th with a sacrifice fly that scored Edmundo Sosa from third.
•Schwarber also hit his 25th home run of the season to kick off a four-run rally in the sixth, ended the game in the 12th with a sacrifice fly that scored Edmundo Sosa from third.
•The most pivotal at bat of the game came in the 10th after the Padres had taken the leads in the top of the inning. With two outs and Johan Rojas on third, Bryce Harper came to the plate against four-time All-Star closer Josh Hader.
In this match-up of star pitcher vs. star hitter, Harper prevailed by drilling a single to center to extend the game.
“He’s really good,” said Harper, who hadn’t faced Hader since 2017 when he was with the Nationals. “So I think just understanding what’s at stake a little bit, with a runner on third just trying to have a good at bat against him, I was able to get a slider up in the zone. Not do too much and try to stay through the middle.
“I just love those situations. Two outs. Being down. Things like that. I think everybody knows we fight until the end. They talk about us being The Fightins’, right? This team has that next-man-up mentality and I thought this was a great series for that.”
•There were terrific defensive plays by both teams throughout the afternoon, including two that stood out in extra innings.
The Padres might have won the game in the 11th when, with Xander Bogaerts on third and the infield up, catcher Gary Sanchez ripped a line drive toward left that Phillies shortstop Trea Turner managed to intercept with a diving catch.
In the bottom of the inning, Brandon Marsh led off by trying to bunt “ghost runner” Bryson Stott to third. Sanchez popped out from behind of the plate to field the ball, tripped. . .and still managed to cut down Stott trying for third.
•The Phillies trailed, 3-0, going into the bottom of the fifth. They got one back when Stott homered and then, with one out, has seven straight hitters reach base against Padres starter Seth Lugo and reliever Tom Cosgrove to take the lead.
The key hit was a two-run double by J.T. Realmuto.
•Zack Wheeler allowed three runs in seven innings. He gave up five hits, all for extra bases: three doubles and two homers.
•The Padres tied the score against Gregory Soto in the eighth.
So much happened that the first question to manager Rob Thomson after the game was asking what stood out to him.
“The thing that impressed me the most about our club was that they tied the score and we just kept playing and came back and had good at bats,” he said. “That’s who they are. They keep battling and keep fighting and never give up. My father always used to say you make your own breaks. And they make their own breaks.”
The Phillies are now 6-2 in extra innings this season.
RHP Julio Teheran (2-3, 3.64) will face RHP Aaron Nola (8-6, 4.39) when the Brewers open a three-game series Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park. Milwaukee hasn’t announced its starters for the final two games. For the Phillies, it will be LHP Cristopher Sanchez (0-3, 3.26) Wednesday and RHP Taijuan Walker (11-3, 4.00) Thursday afternoon.