Wheeler takes no-hit bid into eighth inning in victory over White Sox

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler walks off the field after being pulled during the eighth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

It was a feeling a deja vu all over again at Citizens Bank Park Saturday night as the Philadelphia Phillies witnessed another no-hit bid, this time from ace starting pitcher Zack Wheeler. Wheeler blanked the Chicago White Sox in 7.1 innings of one-hit baseball, racking up eight strikeouts on the night while walking two.

The Phillies would eventually win the contest 9-5 overall after a late-inning scoring run from the White Sox. Wheeler earned his first win of the 2024 season after finally receiving ample run support from his offense, who scored 50% more runs for Wheeler on the night than they had in his previous four starts combined.

Phillies’ Offense Continues to Knock Sox Off

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Alec Bohm rounds the basses after hitting a three run home run off of Miami Marlins’ Devin Smeltzer during the sixth inning of a baseball game, Monday, April 10, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Following Friday night’s showing of the “Alec Bohm Show,” the rest of the Phillies’ lineup decided to get in on the festivities Saturday evening. Bohm was the first to reach base for the Phillies in the bottom of the second, working a walk against White Sox starter Mike Soroka. Brandon Marsh, fresh off a day off and a pit stop at Friday’s Bad Bunny concert, then worked a 2-2 changeup from Soroka into a two-run shot into right-center field to break the ice.

Next up to the plate was Nick Castellanos, who, despite making superb contact all week for the Phillies, found himself in the midst of an 0-for-16 stretch at the plate. Castellanos made quick work of that streak, slugging a triple off the top of the right-field wall to secure his first extra-base hit of the 2024 season. Later in the inning, with two outs, Johan Rojas batted Castellanos in on a single to left field to give the Phillies the 3-0 lead.

Fast forward to the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies found themselves with the bases loaded with two outs as Castellanos returned to the plate. Castellanos slung a single into center field, scoring J.T. Realmuto and Bohm to increase the Phillies lead to 5-0.

Rojas kept the activities going in the sixth inning, reaching on an infield single before advancing to third base on a one-out single from Trea Turner. With runners on the corners, Bryce Harper reached base on a single, scoring Rojas and advancing Turner to third. With still one out to spare, Realmuto placed a sacrifice fly into left field, scoring Turner as the Phillies matched Friday night’s run total at seven.

But they were not done there.

Castellanos reached base on a walk to start the bottom of the seventh, moving up to second base on a single from fellow outfield Rojas. Later on, with two outs, Turner slugged a double to the W.B. Mason sign in left field, clearing the bases and closing the Phillies’ runs tab on that night at nine.

The Real Story of the Night: Wheels Rolling On

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Philadelphia Phillies’ Zack Wheeler pitches during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

And yet, for the second consecutive night, the Phillies’ offense could have stopped much sooner. Spencer Turnbull took his no-hit bid into the seventh inning on Friday night. Watching on from the dugout, Wheeler must have calmly accepted the unspoken challenge to go one step further Saturday night.

His no-hit bid did start in a bit of a difficult manner after quickly working leadoff hitter Nicky Lopez into an 0-2 count to start the game. Lopez worked his way back, eating 10 pitches in the process, earning a leadoff walk for the White Sox.

Wheeler quickly found himself in a groove following the walk, not allowing another baserunner until an errant pitch hit Paul DeJong in the top of the fifth. Later, in the top of the seventh, Gavin Sheets worked a walk against Wheeler as well.

Through seven innings, Wheeler found himself with seven no-hit innings having accrued eight strikeouts. Entering the eighth with 101 pitches, the tension was on as to whether Wheeler would remain in the game or if manager Rob Thomson would look to go to the bullpen as Wheeler’s pitch count rose. Five pitches later, the answer would become obvious as, with one out, Wheeler let up a single to Korey Lee, just barely sneaking by a diving Bryce Harper at first.

With the no-hit bid having bitten the dust, Thomson sent Wheeler to the showers, being greeted with a standing ovation from a sold out Citizens Bank Park crowd. Seranthony Dominguez entered the inning, eventually loading the bases but working out of the jam scoreless to keep the combined shutout intact for the Phillies.

Ninth Inning Fiasco for Ricardo Pinto

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Ricardo Pinto wipes his face after being pulled during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The White Sox’ bats found a spark of life in the top of the ninth against Ricardo Pinto, scoring three runs on the inning and breaking an 18-inning scoreless streak for Phillies’ pitchers, dating back to Wednesday against the Colorado Rockies.

Pinto, who is likely on the hook for a roster spot once Taijuan Walker returns from the Injured List, took a 9-0 lead and worked the game into a save situation for Jose Alvarado, allowing five runs and leaving the bases loaded with one out in what should have been a simple inning of work.

With the bases loaded and two outs, Alvarado entered the contest to face Andrew Benintendi. It took Alvarado one pitch to close out the affair, working a groundout to Harper at first as Alvarado earned a one-pitch save.

Phils Look to Close Out Series Against White Sox on Sunday

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Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jose Alvarado, right, and catcher J.T. Realmuto celebrate after the Phillies won a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Saturday, April 20, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Phillies, who have been spoiled in recent days with a complete game shutout from Ranger Suarez and two no-hit bids from Turnbull and Wheeler, turn to Aaron Nola as they seek to close out their second consecutive series sweep on Sunday. It’s also a very special day at the ballpark on Sunday as the Phillies celebrate the Phillie Phanatic’s birthday.