By Morris Phillips
Taking control of big games, winning series, and battling at least four other National League wild card hopefuls for the next nine weeks requires hard work, and heroic efforts churned out on a daily basis.
Knowing all that, the Giants took Thursday off, falling behind the Phillies 9-0 in the fourth inning in route to a 10-2 loss. J.P. Realmuto, Cesar Hernandez and Roman Quinn hit home runs for Philadelphia while Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez didn’t survive the third inning.
“We made some mistakes on the mound,” manager Bruce Bochy admitted.
The Phillies were in no mood to qualify their accomplishments. They’ve played losing baseball over their last 53 ballgames (24-29) and desperately needed to win a series, and stay in front of the Giants in the wild card hunt. They got that done Thursday afternoon.
“We’ve had guys that have had stretches that were really good, but we haven’t really clicked all together at the same time yet,” said Realmuto. “We feel like we have the guys in this clubhouse to get it done. We just have to come together and play well together and get things rolling.”
Philadelphia won a series against a team with a winning record for the first time since taking two of three at San Diego on June 3.
The Phillies joined the Nationals atop the wild card standings with the win, but they’re not alone. Whoever loses the Cubs-Cardinals game Thursday night will form a three-way tie for two playoff spots at 57-51. The Brewers are a game back, and the Giants (54-53) are 2 1/2 back.
The Giants surged after an encouraging outcome to the trade deadline that saw them keep Will Smith and Madison Bumgarner. They responded by whipping the Phillies 5-1 on Wednesday. That closed a miraculous July for the Giants with a 19-6 record.
But in the series finale, they appeared listless in the occasion of Alex Dickerson going on the disabled list with an oblique issue. Also, Brandon Crawford departed early when he injured his shoulder diving for a ball.