Game recap: Phillies take down Cardinals’ ace, win 6-1

Nolan GormanJ.T. Realmuto
St. Louis Cardinals’ Nolan Gorman dives to score a run past Philadelphia Phillies’ J.T. Realmuto during the third inning of a baseball game Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Phillies fans everywhere held their breath in unison Saturday night after a scary moment in the second inning. However, that didn’t suck the air out of the building as Philadelphia was victorious over St. Louis in Game No. 2 of their weekend series at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies offense tallied six runs despite some middle-inning struggles, and six pitchers combined to hold the Cardinals to just one run. Let’s see how it happened.

Injury scare

Starting pitcher Ranger Suárez started the game much like he starts every game – mowing down the competition. In the second inning, he was on the receiving end of a 106.1 MPH line drive. Despite being able to finish the play and record the out, he was obviously in some serious pain as he headed straight up the tunnel. He would not return, exiting with what the team called a “left-hand contusion”

Ranger went two innings and struck out two without allowing a base runner. After the game, Rob Thomson gave an update to the media:

X-rays negative, there’s some swelling in [lower] part of his hand. We have to wait a couple days for the swelling to go down to see if he can grip a ball.

Rob Thomson, postgame press conference June 1, 2024

Thomson added that he felt “lucky right now, ” a sentiment all Phillies fans share at this time. According to reporters, Suárez was in good spirits in the locker room – even crawling under a table to join the media.

There was another scare that fans at home may not have seen on their televisions. Edmundo Sosa, one of the hottest hitters on the planet this past month, was checked on in the field by trainers before the start on the ninth inning. They felt comfortable enough to keep him in the game and he saw no action in the final frame. Thomson said after the game they were checking on his hamstring:

“His hamstring tightened up a little bit. There was a ball in the dirt, Marsh was on second and he started to move toward second but Marsh didn’t move.”

When asked if he knew which leg, Thomson said he was not sure but thought it was the left. He will be evaluated again in the morning.

Offense continues to do enough

The Phillies got to Cardinals’ starter Sonny Gray quickly. They put up three runs on two walks and three hits. Alec Bohm extended his league-lead in doubles with a two-RBI two-bagger, his 23rd double of the season.He ranks No. 2 in the National League in runs batted in. Bohm is now tied for the league lead in doubles and RBIs with runners in scoring position.

Philadelphia Phillies’ Bryce Harper, right, watches his two-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals’ John King during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, June 1, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Nick Castellanos continued the scoring in the opening frame with a double of his own, driving home Bohm. That double was his 603rd extra-base hit of his career and he is now just two hits shy of 1500.

Philly would add another run on a two-out single from Brandon Marsh in the third inning. Marsh punched a fastball on the ground to the left of second base and in to center field for the RBI. I spoke with him pregame about his approach:

“Really just trying to back the ball up. Trying to take the heater to center and left field. Gives me room for the off-speed to try and carry it out to right field. Just trying to stay behind the ball and back it up.

Brandon Marsh, pregame June 1, 2024 with Philly Sports Network

The Phillies’ bats would go cold for the next three-and-two-third innings before an errand throw would allow J.T. Realmuto to reach second base. That set the stage for Bryce Harper to do what he does – come through in the clutch. The ball exploded off his bat at 109.2 MPH and the crowd exploded in response as the ball sailed toward the second deck in right field at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies got to Sonny Gray early and he still struck out 10 Philly hitters. Gray is the best pitcher in the St. Louis rotation so far this year, and he would only go five innings against the high powered Philadelphia offense. Phillies hitters walked four times in the game, surprisingly all were on four-pitches. There were still several deep counts that allowed Philly to move to the bullpen and add on.

Bullpen handles the load

After Ranger excited the game, the question became – how will they get through the rest of the day against a red-hot Cardinal offense. José Ruiz, Spencer Turnbull, Orion Kerkering, Seranthony Domínguez, and Gregory Soto would combine to stifle the St. Louis lineup. Ruiz came in relief of Suárez before turning the middle innings over to Turnbull. Thomson noted after the game that was so Spencer could get ready more like a starter. He also noted that they didn’t send him out for another inning because he hasn’t thrown that amount of pitches in a few weeks. Thomson added: “if he does have to make Ranger’s next start, we would probably be comfortable with him [throwing] about 80 pitches.”

Turnbull was lights out – only one runner reached base against him (on an error) in three innings. He threw a first pitch strike to nine of the ten hitters he faced and struck out six. Overall, the pen only gave up one run – a sac-fly in the third inning. They combined for just five hits, no walks, and 11 strikeouts. Everyone kept their pitch count down as well and Thomson confirmed post game that Turnbull would be the only guy not available tomorrow.

Other Phillies notes

Nick Castellanos tallied a hit, bringing him to 1498 for his career. He will have a chance to reach the 1500 hit plateau against Lance Lynn tomorrow, a man 4-for-16 against in his career.

Plans for next weekend’s London series are still up in the air, especially after Ranger’s injury scare, but there was a team meeting prior to today’s game about making sure the players understand dehydration, getting proper sleep, and taking care of yourself through all of the travel recently and the two Trans-Atlantic trips they will experience coming up. Pregame, Thomson mentioned to reporters “from Colorado, to San Francisco, to here, to London and back we’re crossing about 18 different time zones”

Sunday night’s game is on ESPN and will see Taijuan Walker (3-1, 5.51 ERA) take on Lance Lynn (2-3, 3.45 ERA). First pitch for the Phillies is scheduled for 7:10 PM.

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)