Recap: Phillies dominate AL ERA leader, win 10-1

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper celebrates after hitting a three-run home run off of San Francisco Giants major league assistant coach Alyssa Nakken during the third inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 5, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The first meeting of the Phillies and the Blue Jays started with one of the more interesting lineups of the year from Rob Thomson.

With Whit Merrifield starting in left field and batting 2nd, Kody Clemens starting at 3rd base (his first ML appearance there since his Tiger days), and Edmundo Sosa at shortstop this lineup was sure to generate some buzz…one way or another.

Phillies Start Strong

That lineup would have to navigate MLB’s ERA leader (1.44) in José Berríos.

Cristopher Sanchez would make his 7th start of the season for the Phillies. He started off shaky with a leadoff single allowed to George Springer and a 3-0 count to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. but ended up stranding Springer at 3rd.

In the bottom of the 1st, the Phillies used some 2-out magic to get an early run off Berríos. Bryce Harper lined a 2-strike pitch to left for a single and Nick Castellanos dropped a double in LF to score him. Castellanos got picked off at 2nd to end the inning.

Sanchez continued his good start against the Blue Jays with a 1-2-3 inning. He got Alejandro Kirk swinging for his 2nd strikeout of the night.

Bryson Stott started off the 2nd with a single up the middle and stole 2nd, his 8th steal of the season. Kody Clemens made his presence known with his 2nd homer in as many starts, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. By the end of the 2nd inning, José Berríos had already allowed more earned runs than in any other start this season.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryson Stott (5) hits a two-run single off Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Max Fried during the first inning of a baseball game, Saturday, March 30, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

The Blue Jays threatened in the 3rd. Sanchez allowed a leadoff single followed by a walk. He induced a double play off the bat of George Springer but then walked Guerrero. He got Justin Turner to fly out to end the threat.

A warm night seemed to warm up the bats for the Phils. They didn’t score in the 3rd but did add another 2 hits against Berríos.

In the 4th, Sanchez added another 2 strikeouts to his ledger. He allowed a 2-out double to Danny Jansen but stranded him at 2nd.

The offense did not stop in the 4th but José Berríos did. Two hit-by-pitches, a Clemens triple, and a Bryce Harper grand slam sent Berríos packing with 2 outs in the inning. His 8 ER are the most since Opening Day of 2023 against the Royals. His 7 hits allowed were also a season-high. Harper’s grand slam was his 9th homer of the season.

Down the Stretch

In between innings, Blue Jays’ manager John Schneider was ejected by home plate umpire Andy Fletcher. The problem seemed to be rooted in a non-call when Kyle Schwarber checked his swing on his walk to load the bases.

On the other side of the ball, Sanchez added his 5th strikeout in his 2nd clean inning of the game. In the 6th, it was more of the same. Sanchez allowed a single but erased it on a double play to end the inning.

In the 7th, he ran into a little trouble. After getting the first out, he allowed a single to Danny Jansen and a double to Alejandro Kirk. Isiah Kiner-Falefa brought in Jansen on a grounder to Sosa for the first Blue Jays’ run of the game. He got Kevin Kiermaier to fly out to end the inning.

“We had good at-bats all night,” said manager Rob Thomson. “We put 90 pitches on one of the best pitchers in baseball in 3 2/3 innings. That’s some production.”

That would be the end of the day for Sanchez as the Phillies tested out their new system of using Spencer Turnbull. Before the game, manager Rob Thomson let it be known that Turnbull would pitch tonight out of the bullpen.

New Role for Turnbull

The 8th inning went well for Turnbull. He threw a 1-2-3 inning against the top of the Blue Jays order.

Before he had a chance to close things out in the 9th, the Phillies got the offense going again in the 8th. After a leadoff Stott single, Edmundo Sosa hit a triple to deep center to drive him in. Kody Clemens brought in Sosa on a broken-bat grounder to 3rd. Schwarber added a double for good measure.

Turnbull continued his work in the 9th. He got Bo Bichette to line out to 2nd for the first out. After a walk to Davis Schneider, pinch hitter Daniel Vogelbach grounded out into a game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

The win pushed the Phillies to 26-11 and their win streak to 7 games.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)