Early runs, shutdown innings, solid defense, uneventful relief, late insurance ... wherever he is, Joe Girardi's got to be thinking, "Really?"
The Phillies' offense jumped an Angels starting pitcher for the second straight night, scoring five first-inning runs in a 7-2 win.
Rob Thomson is 2-0 as the interim skipper since taking over for Girardi, who was fired Friday morning. Thomson begins his tenure with a series win over a reeling Angels team that has lost 10 in a row.
The Phillies are 24-29 after winning three straight. They’ve outscored the Angels 17-2 the last two nights. Saturday's win came in front of 36,313 fans, the second-largest crowd at Citizens Bank Park since opening weekend.
"Yesterday, obviously a weird day," Rhys Hoskins said during an in-game interview on FOX. "The business of baseball shows itself every once in a while but it's cool to see the boys just get out on the field and play the game.
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"We're pretty lucky that some of us have been with Rob Thomson for a couple of years and there's a lot of familiarity. It has to be business as usual. I think that's the nature of the baseball season, it's a day in and day out thing. Unfortunately, the game just goes on.
"Business as usual and let's go win some baseball games."
The tone was set immediately by Kyle Schwarber, who nearly homered on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning for the second straight game. He crushed one to right field that a fan reached over the wall to interfere with, resulting in a double.
Schwarber is locked in and this is an example of how he can be a catalyst as an unconventional leadoff man. In his last five games, he's 7 for 18 with four homers, a double and five walks.
The Phillies were not fooled out of the gate by Michael Lorenzen, who entered with a 3.19 ERA. Eight of the first 10 batters reached with four walks. J.T. Realmuto and Johan Camargo drove in two apiece with a double and a single.
Camargo's two-out hit was huge. As productive as the Phillies' first inning was, it could have given the Angels momentum if they escaped it by retiring Camargo and allowing only two runs, especially with how Lorenzen settled in to fire five scoreless frames thereafter. Camargo was behind in the count with the bases loaded before working it full and singling in a pair. It extended the inning for Mickey Moniak, who drove in the fifth run with an infield hit.
Camargo later added another big knock, a two-run single in the eighth that gave the Phillies more breathing room and enabled them to use Connor Brogdon in the ninth inning rather than closer Corey Knebel.
“I’ve been working hard so it’s really good to finally see results,” said Camargo, who only becomes even more important the rest of the season with Jean Segura sidelined three months with a broken finger.
Realmuto doubled three times, a career-high. Over his last 11 games, he's 14 for 35 (.400) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and 9 RBI. He had a good game on both ends, also throwing out Shohei Ohtani attempting to steal on the right pitch, an 81 mph curveball in the first inning. Realmuto has thrown out 9 of 18 would-be base stealers, leading the majors at 50 percent.
Zack Wheeler, the National League Pitcher of the Month in May, picked up his fourth win. He struck out nine, all on fastballs, including Mike Trout twice. Trout is 0 for 8 in the series and hitless in his last 23 at-bats, the longest stretch of his career.
Despite the strong line (6 IP, 2 ER), Wheeler was not quite at his sharpest, pitching out of the stretch in each of the first five innings and putting multiple men on base in three of the six. The biggest inning was the fifth, when the Angels had the top of the order due up for the third time after Lorenzen had retired 10 of 11 Phillies. Alec Bohm began the inning with a clutch play, diving to his right and making an accurate throw to first to retire Matt Duffy. Ahead of Ohtani and Trout, it was a crucial moment. Wheeler allowed a run in the inning but that was it, thanks to his success vs. Trout and that play by Bohm.
“Just a tremendous play,” Thomson said. “He dove, had the presence and poise to throw a strike to first base. That was a big play to keep him off first base with those guys coming up.”
Bohm had an eventful night. After striking out in his first AB, he took it out on the bat rack and was bloodied in the neck area when a piece of the bat ricocheted and cut him. He stayed in the game and just missed a two-run homer his next time up, flying out 401 feet to Trout in center.
“Guys get frustrated,” Thomson said. “That’s a situation there where you don’t want to see a guy get hurt, but guys do get frustrated and bang the bat rack every once in a while.”
Brad Hand and Seranthony Dominguez each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Hand's ERA is down to 1.13 in 23 appearances and he has not allowed a run since May 4. Dominguez hasn't been scored upon since May 3.
The Phillies go for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1:35. Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.83) opposes underrated left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-1, 2.70), the most consistent arm in the Angels' rotation right now.
“We’re happy but we have to control our emotions,” Camargo said of the three-game win streak. “It’s just the beginning. We have to keep fighting and work hard because we know we’re a good club.”