A green light, a stolen base and a gapper get Phillies back on winning track originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Rhys Hoskins had been in this situation before, with a chance to walk it off in front of the home fans, and every time previously …
“I’d come up short, either by trying to do too much or by being too passive,” he said.
This time, Hoskins didn’t come up short. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, he stroked a 2-1 slider from Miami Marlins reliever Anthony Bass into the gap in left-center to score Matt Vierling and give the Phillies a dramatic, 3-2, walk-off win at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.
Hoskins was still drenched from the Gatorade shower he received after driving home the game-winner when he spoke with reporters a few moments later in the winning clubhouse.
“That’s the best kind of shower,” he said. “I just went up there trying not to do too much. I was just trying to get a pitch to hit. We knew what Bass does with the slider. I knew I had to see it up and it was up enough and I was able. to get the barrel to it. “
It was the first walk-off hit of Hoskins’ career and it came in his 571st game.
“It’s the best,” he said. “The best.”
The win was the Phillies’ 10th in the last 11 games and it pushed back to a game over .500. It came one day after their nine-game winning streak was snapped in a 13-1 loss to Arizona.
“I think it was important we get a win just to keep the momentum,” said Hoskins, hitting .379 (11 for 29) in his last seven games.
The Phillies are 9-1 under manager Rob Thomson, who took over for Joe Girardi when the team was 22-29.
Almost everything Thomson has touched since taking over has turned to gold. He has played rookie outfielder Matt Vierling at second and third base in the team’s last two wins and Vierling has been a major contributor.
Aaron Nola and Sandy Alcantara hooked up in a tight pitchers’ duel in this one. The Phils trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the eighth. Hoskins and Bryce Harper both walked with no outs and Didi Gregorius singled home Hoskins with the tying run against reliever Steven Okert after Alcantara got JT Realmuto to bounce into a double play.
Vierling started the winning rally with a one-out single against Bass in the ninth. Kyle Schwarber struck out for the second out. With the count 0-1 on Hoskins, Thomson gave Vierling the green light to steal. Vierling swiped the bag with a headfirst slide.
“That was huge,” Thomson said. “We were getting some decent times on the pitcher. We figured once it got to two outs, take a chance.”
Once Vierling saw the green light, he wasn’t going to be denied.
“There’s definitely a lot of pressure in that situation,” he said. “Being safe there was big for the team. It put us in a good spot to win the game.”
Alcantara entered the game ranked second in the NL with a 1.61 ERA, and the Marlins had won his previous six starts. He gave up just two runs in 7⅔ innings. Nola pretty much matched him with seven innings of two-run, walk-free baseball.
Before the game, Thomson reminded the players of the importance of the stretch that the Phils were about to embark on – eight straight games against NL East clubs Miami and Washington.
“I talked to the guys before the game and told them we need to start winning games in our division,” Thomson said. “That’s what good teams do. So this was a good start – a good come-from-behind win. We showed a lot of character.”
The Marlins have been a thorn in the Phillies’ side the last few seasons. The Phils have not had a winning season against the Marlins since 2018. The Phils are 2-3 against them this season with a chance to knot the series Tuesday night. Zach Eflin, coming off a disappointing start his last time out in Milwaukee, will oppose Miami lefty Trevor Rogers.
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