What started out looking like a poor homestand ended up being a pretty darn good one for the surging Phillies.
After losing the first two games to the New York Yankees, the Phillies came back to win six of the remaining seven games on the homestand, including Wednesday's finale against the Baltimore Orioles. Despite getting just three hits, the Phils completed a two-game sweep of the majors' worst team with a 4-1 win in front of 30,943 at steamy Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies' fourth win in a row pushed them to 47-37 and a season-best 10 games over .500. It's the first time the team has been 10 games over .500 since September of 2011. That was also the last time they made the playoffs. They are 1 ½ game behind first place Atlanta in the NL East.
The Phillies are 30-16 at home. After an off day Thursday, they play 11 straight on the road before the All-Star break. The Phils are 17-21 on the road.
Staff ace Aaron Nola improved to 11-2 on the season and 8-0 at home with seven innings of one-run ball. He scattered seven hits, walked two and struck out nine in lowering his ERA to 2.41. Nola is a lock to make the National League All-Star team.
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The right-hander faced a tough jam in the top of the seventh when he allowed a pair of two-out hits. With his ace at the 100-pitch mark and his team up by a run, manager Gabe Kapler visited the mound. He and Nola chatted for a moment and Kapler returned to the dugout, content to give Nola the chance to get out of his own jam. It was no easy assignment with dangerous Manny Machado at the plate. But Nola got the job done by inducing a weak fly ball to shallow right. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez made a nice over-the-shoulder running catch to record the out.
The Phillies' offense did little with rookie right-hander Yefry Ramirez. He pitched no-hit ball for the first 4 1/3 innings then allowed a walk to Nick Williams and a double to Scott Kingery. The next batter, Jorge Alfaro, then hit a soft grounder up the first base line that got by first baseman Chris Davis and into right field for two runs. A run would likely have scored on the ground out, but Davis' poor play turned it into two and a Phillies' lead.
Two innings later, in the seventh, Williams put two more runs on the board when he followed a leadoff walk to Carlos Santana with a booming home run to center field.
Williams' homer, off David Hess, was just the Phillies' second hit of the day. It gave the bullpen a little cushion heading into the eighth inning. Victor Arano got the final six outs for the save.