Kyle Schwarber sets the tone as Phillies hold off A’s for opening day win originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
It took Phillies fans seven pitches to fall in love with Kyle Schwarber.
The slugging leadoff man went deep in his first at-bat with his new club Friday afternoon.
The Phillies never gave up the lead that Schwarber provided as they opened the 2022 season with a 9-5 win over the Oakland A's in front of a sellout crowd of 44,232 at festive Citizens Bank Park.
The win was more difficult than it had to be.
Aaron Nola ran out of gas in the seventh inning and the defense got ugly. The A's put a four-spot on the board to make it a one-run game, but the Phillies got big hits from Nick Castellanos, Bryson Stott and Schwarber in the seventh and eighth innings to pull away.
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Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Seranthony Dominguez and new closer Corey Knebel all got big outs to preserve the win.
The Phillies' bats pounded out 11 hits on the day and everybody in the starting lineup except Matt Vierling had at least one. Schwarber and Rhys Hoskins had two RBIs apiece.
Making his fifth straight opening day start, Nola pitched brilliantly for six innings. He held the A's to just one hit -- a solo homer by Chad Pinder -- over that span and took a 6-1 lead into the seventh.
Nola needed just 65 pitches to get through six innings -- and he had seven strikeouts against no walks -- so sticking with him for the seventh inning was an easy call for manager Joe Girardi.
But Nola quickly hit a wall in the seventh. He gave up a double, a single and a three-run homer to the first three hitters as the A's cut the lead to 6-4. Girardi pulled Nola in favor of newcomer Familia after Seth Brown's three-run homer.
With Familia on the mound, the Phillies' defense fell apart and the A's were able to push across another run to make it a one-run game. Rookie third baseman Stott, playing in his first big-league game, had a particularly difficult inning with a pair of poor throws. Though the Phillies were charged with just two errors in the inning, three plays should have been made that weren't.
The A's ended up loading the bases in the seventh before Hand came on and got the final out to protect a one-run lead.
The Phillies extended their lead back to two runs on a walk by Bryce Harper and an RBI double by Castellanos in the bottom of the seventh.
Dominguez protected the two-run lead with a 1-2-3 eighth inning.
Stott rebounded from his difficult seventh inning in the field and made a couple of plays in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the inning, he stroked an RBI double. He finished his first big-league game with two hits.
The opening day matchup pitted two teams that used to share the same city. The A's moved away after the 1954 season. All these years later, the two teams are at the opposite end of the payroll scale. The Phillies put a $240 million product on the field Friday while the A's roster cost about $45 million.
The Phillies' expensive roster survived the A's in this one. There are two more games left in the series. Kyle Gibson pitches for the Phillies on Saturday afternoon against lefty Cole Irvin, a former Phillie.