(Photo credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
One night after clinching their second consecutive playoff berth, the Philadelphia Phillies refused to wilt. Now they look to keep their winning streak going as the regular season winds down.
With a number of starters -- including Alec Bohm, Trea Turner, Nick Castellanos and J.T. Realmuto -- getting the night off, and despite trailing 5-0, the Phillies (89-69) rallied for a 7-6 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night. The win was their season-best seventh straight.
They'll go for an eighth consecutive victory in the series finale against the Pirates on Thursday.
Garrett Stubbs hit a three-run home run in a rare start in place of Realmuto and Edmundo Sosa homered and doubled. Bryce Harper, however, was still in the lineup and homered and doubled twice.
"Winning feels a whole lot better than losing," Stubbs said in a postgame interview on NBC Sports Philadelphia.
Stubbs' three-run shot cut the deficit to 5-4 in the fourth inning. It was Stubbs' first home run since Aug. 16, 2022.
"That's what made it extra fun because it came when we needed some momentum," Stubbs said.
After Ranger Suarez allowed six runs in 4 2/3 innings, the bullpen was stellar. Seranthony Dominguez, Orion Kerkering, Dylan Covey and Gregory Soto combined to give up two hits in 4 1/3 innings. The four relievers struck out nine and walked two.
Zack Wheeler (13-6, 3.64 ERA) is scheduled to start for the Phillies on Thursday.
In Wheeler's most recent start, Saturday against the New York Mets, he allowed eight hits and five runs (three earned) in seven innings.
"I was just grinding," Wheeler said. "I didn't feel terrible, but I also didn't feel great, so I just wanted to get through that one and move on to the next one."
Wheeler is 4-0 with a 2.13 ERA in six career starts against the Pirates.
The Pirates (74-84) will look to avoid a fourth straight loss and a series sweep when they battle the Phillies.
Connor Joe went 4-for-5 with an RBI and Ke'Bryan Hayes added two hits and an RBI on Wednesday. Henry Davis singled and drove in two runs and Jared Triolo had two hits.
Pittsburgh just wasn't able to hold onto an early five-run lead.
Bryan Reynolds did manage a single and extended his on-base streak to 25 in a row. It marked the longest streak since Andrew McCutchen had a 26-game on-base stretch in 2013.
Despite the solid statistics, the Pirates lost. Again.
After a promising 20-9 start this season, the Pirates have continued to careen in the wrong direction.
"When you see an organization have the success that you're looking forward to and chasing, it's tough," Davis said. "It's just a feeling that I don't really know how to describe it, honestly. It kind of (stinks), but it gives you something to focus on."
The Pirates are expected to hand the ball to Luis Ortiz (4-5, 4.96). They didn't name Ortiz as their starter until after Wednesday's loss.
In Ortiz's last outing against the Cincinnati Reds on Friday, he gave up four hits and three runs in 3 2/3 innings of relief.
Ortiz has never faced the Phillies in his career.
--Field Level Media