After comeback against Pirates, Phils stays on course for playoffs

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After comeback against Pirates, Phils stays on course for playoffs

Very little has come easily for the Philadelphia Phillies this season.

But somehow, they’re within striking distance of the Atlanta Braves in the National League East, and that’s all they can ask for with nine games to go.

The Phillies, second, drag the Braves by two games, and they will look to get closer when they host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday.

Philadelphia (79-74) fell 6-0 behind but rallied for a 12-6 win over the Pirates on Thursday.

“Every game is a chore right now,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “When you’re in it, it’s a good thing. We are in it.

The Phillies worked hard but managed to win two of three against another last-place team, the Baltimore Orioles. Despite an early deficit, the Phillies came back again to oust the Pirates, who have lost 95 games this season.

Ronald Torreyes scored three runs with a tight home run, and JT Realmuto hit a homer, scored twice and produced four runs in the win over the Pirates.

“Each series is difficult. It’s like that at this time of year, ”said Girardi. “You have teams that play freely, young children trying to prove themselves. “

Didi Gregorius, who struggled a lot at home plate, also hit a solo homerun in the third inning.

Girardi stuck with his veteran shortstop, and the move paid off.

“And if we’re going to do something, Didi has to strike,” Girardi said. ” It is essential. I like the experience he has of going out every day in this type of situation. I leave with the experience.

The Phillies will hand the ball to Kyle Gibson (10-8, 3.51 ERA). Gibson was a winner in his only start in his career against the Pirates, which came in his first appearance for the Phillies after acquiring him from the Texas Rangers on the trade deadline.

On August 1 in Pittsburgh, Gibson allowed two runs and five hits in 6 2/3 innings, good for a 2.70 ERA.

The Pirates got an unexpected day off when their game against the Cincinnati Reds rained on Wednesday.

Then they started on fire with six quick runs against the Phillies before failing.

Ke’Bryan Hayes scored and hit in three runs, and Colin Moran also scored.

The Pirates (57-95) lost again but continued to show massive improvement at home.

Since batting coach Rick Eckstein was fired in late August, a number of young Pirates players have responded.

“I think the only thing we’ve been more consistent on is our approach, and I give these guys credit,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “I think we’ve put a little more emphasis on that.”

Hayes’ home run came from first place, a position he hadn’t been in by much. But Hayes reveled in the new role.

“I did it a few times in 2019 in Triple-A,” said Hayes. “Other than being the first to strike for the team at the start of the game, once the game starts it’s like hitting the second or third.”

In what appears to be a pen game, the Pirates starter will be left-hander Sam Howard. He’s made 49 appearances this season and 95 in his four-year career, and he’s never made a debut.

Howard is 3-4 with a 5.80 ERA, with 51 strikeouts in 40 1/3 innings. He has played two innings twice this season and hasn’t pitched since Saturday. He’s never faced the Phillies.

Shelton is counting on his team to show up and play hard.

“The only thing that has remained consistent throughout the event has been the effort no matter who has been here and I think that is to the credit of our players,” Shelton said. “It is also a credit to the culture that we have created.”

-Media at field level

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