PHOENIX – One element of a successful team is finding different ways to win.
That appears to be an important dimension the Phillies captured this week in the desert. After taking the opening two games of a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies found another way to claim victory.
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The come-from-behind method appears to be working just fine these days, and that element of their game surfaced again Wednesday afternoon. Down 4-2 early, the Phillies rallied for single runs in the fifth and seventh. Then they put up a crooked number in the eighth inning (four runs) before tacking on one more at the finish. The end result was a satisfying 9-8 win in 10 innings over the Diamondbacks before 18,603 in Chase Field (see Instant Replay).
The win completed a three-game sweep in the desert, and that came after the Arizona swept the Phillies June 17-20 at Citizens Bank Park. The three consecutive victories are the Phils' most since they won three straight from May 12-14 as they finished their nine-game road trip with a 5-4 mark.
While the sweep itself was not terribly significant, offered manager Pete Mackanin, the way the Phillies completed the road trip is important. Through the three-city trip of Minneapolis-St. Paul, San Francisco and Phoenix, the bats game alive and Vince Velesquez, came of the disabled list with a stellar effort Monday.
Now, the goal is the keep the momentum gained from the sweep and build on recent achievements.
“The key over the past week is guys having good at-bats,” said Peter Bourjos, who is hitting .471 in his last 17 games. “At this point, we’re not changing anything, and if we continue to do what we accomplished over the past week, we’ll be fine.”
If Velasquez’s effort electrified the pitching staff, then Bourjos' tear has rejuvenated the offense. That .471 average (24 for 51) over the last 17 games leads the majors. Bourjos also has a nine-game hitting streak over that span after going 2 for 5 with a homer, two RBIs and two runs scored on Wednesday.
If the Phillies proved anything during the sweep of the Diamondbacks, it's that this is a resilient group. Hitting, like good pitching, is contagious and after banging out a season-high 16 hits Tuesday night, the Phillies increased that production by one on Wednesday.
Though not around for nearly half this game, starter Zach Eflin gave the Phillies a strong effort. After giving up a three-run, first-inning homer to Jake Lamb and another run in the second, Eflin settled down and pitched effectively. From the time Arizona scored on a Jean Segura sacrifice fly in the second, Eflin retired 14 of the next 16 hitters he faced.
“I started to pitch inside and wanted to keep them guessing,” Eflin said. “It was important for me to keep them off-balance and not get set. It’s about being aggressive and keeping them off-balance.”
Similar to Jerad Eickhoff, Eflin has been a victim of little run support. When he left after six innings, the Phillies were behind 4-2. Through his initial three starts in the majors, Eflin received only two total runs of support in 14 1/3 innings. That equates to 1.26 runs per nine innings.
However, the Phillies eventually found their offense in the win. With single runs in the fifth and seventh, and that four-spot in the eight, they managed to forge an 8-7 lead.
The Phillies appeared to have this one locked down before Andres Blanco thought about going home on a roller to third base with two outs in the eighth inning before ultimately making an errant throw to first for the team's second error of the day.
The Phillies were able to go back on top in the 10th when Bourjos singled with one out and moved to second on single from Cody Asche. Hitting for winning pitcher Jeanmar Gomez, Tyler Goeddel lifted a fly to right and that brought in Bourjos with the game-winning run.
Lefty Brett Oberholtzer retired the Diamondbacks in the 10th and recorded his first major-league save.