Phillies Walk It off in 10th Inning Against The Rockies

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cristian Pache reacts after hitting a RBI single off Colorado Rockies pitcher Jacob Bird during the 10th inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Another day, another light offensive night in Philadelphia. The Phillies hosted the Colorado Rockies in their series opener, hoping to get the offense going against a struggling pitching staff, and a struggling Colorado starter in Cal Quantrill. Philly would have no such luck.

However, an unsuspected hero stepped up when it mattered most, and the Phillies were victors after a walk-off single for Cristian Pache – the first walk-off hit of his career.

How’d we get here?

There were a few small, unexpected things that got Pache in the position to win the game for his team. The offense had struggled throughout the night, so when Kyle Schwarber led off the 8th inning with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch with no outs, manager Rob Thomson decided to put speed on the bases and pinch run for his DH with Pache. It didn’t pay off (not yet) as the 2 through 4 hitters would be retired in a row and Pache was left where he started.

The Phillies were facing some trouble in the 9th inning, and Jeff Hoffman threw a wild pitch that popped in the air off of J.T. Realmuto‘s gear. Realmuto showed his athleticism and made a great throw to a charging Hoffman who did enough to block the plate (legally, after review) and apply the tag to get out of the jam.

Jeff Hoffman, aspiring linebacker

Philadelphia would go down in order, and the game would go to extras. Bryce Harper made a great leaping grab on a line drive to keep the ghost runner, Nolan Jones, on 2nd base. Jones would stay right there and give the Phillies a chance to walk it off and walk the way they did.

Call it a mental blunder or a great surprise, but Whit Merrifield was able to get a bunt down to move Bryson Stott over to third base. After pinch-hitter Alec Bohm grounded out to the shortstop, upstepped what would have been Kyle Schwarber’s spot in the lineup, but upstepped Pache, who had 1 hit in 6 at-bats on the season to this point. He wasted no time showing he was ready for the moment, taking a first-pitch sinker and firing it on the ground to right field for the victory.

Not only was this his first walk-off hit of his career, it was also the first hit by a Phillies replacement player on the season. What a time for a few firsts.

Nola looking dominant

Fans were quick to judge after Aaron Nola signed a 7-year extension in the off-season, as he struggled compared to his standard and had a propensity for giving up the long ball throughout 2023. Outside of his first game of the year against Atlanta, Nola has once again looked like his old self. Including tonight, he has given up just 3 earned runs across his last 3 starts, striking out 16 batters across 19 innings.

He went 7.1 innings, allowing 1 run on 4 hits and 1 walk. Nola struck out 9 Rockies hitters on the night, after tallying just 10 Ks across his first 3 starts combined. He lowered his ERA on the season by over a run with tonight’s performance.

Great note on Nola’s night from Luke Arcaini, Fox Sports The Gambler Philadelphia

The bullpen continued their strong start to the season, as well. José Alvarado came in relief in the 8th, and only needed 2 pitches to record 2 outs. Hoffman came in for the 9th inning, and he struck out 1, walked 1, and allowed 1 hit. The play at the plate involved pitcher-on-pitcher contact, as the Rockies had pinch run for their catcher with starting pitcher Kyle Freeland.

Freeland came up holding his shoulder in pain, but he was able to return to the field to argue his point about the close play to the umpires. Regardless, the call on the field was upheld, and the Phillies saved a run and the game.

Seranthony Domínguez would come in for the 10th and quickly retire the 3 hitters he faced on 12 pitches, earning the win after the walk-off in the bottom of the inning.

Philadelphia Phillies’s Bryce Harper follows through after hitting an RBI single off Colorado Rockies’ Cal Quantrill during the third inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 15, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Quick Thoughts:

The Phillies had some hard-hit balls that just didn’t find grass. There were also a few that were hit deep but seemed to die just short of the wall despite the good weather tonight. The runs scored were still low, but as they continued to hit the ball hard, it seemed like they might break out soon.

Nola’s velocity was back up after taking some off to keep his composure during a rainy outing in St. Louis. That is a promising sign for the continued success of the Phillies rotation.

A Look Ahead for the Phillies

Tuesday night’s game will see Ranger Suárez (2-0, 2.65 ERA) take on LHP Austin Gomber (0-0, 4.91 ERA). Suárez and Gomber both have good numbers against the opposition, historically. A win would give Philadelphia their first series win at home. If they lose, they will get another crack at it on Wednesday before an off day on Thursday.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)