MLB Wild Card: Phillies come back late against Sandy Alcantara for 7th straight win

What can’t the Phillies do now?

They came all the way back on Wednesday night against National League favorite Cy Young Sandy Alcantara, scoring three times in the bottom of the eighth inning for an unlikely 4-3 win, one of their best of the season.

“I’m still trying to process it all,” starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard said at his locker after the win.

Alcantara had completely dominated the Phils early on, opening with three perfect innings and taking only 45 pitches to go through five scoreless. He gave up a run in the sixth inning on Kyle Schwarber’s RBI double, but took a two-run lead in the eighth when the Phillies reached him for six hits in a span of seven batters.

The crowd of 23,021 stood on their feet for every big throw and rocked during the decisive rally.

“I’m sure the atmosphere touched him too,” said Schwarber. “People were loud, they were cheering. Once all those things come together, it can rattle a bit.”

Jean Segura and Bryson Stott led off the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back singles. Brandon Marsh tried to sacrifice them, but trailed 0-2 in the count and made up for it by hitting a single at Segura.

Schwarber tied the game with an RBI single, his third consecutive hit off Alcantara, but the rally almost ended there when Rhys Hoskins lined into a double play at third base. JT Realmuto again came through with a two-out, game-winning RBI-single. It was Realmuto’s 26th RBI in his last 25 games.

“Super exciting, the team’s ability to stay in the fight,” said Syndergaard. “What Schwarber did with arguably the best pitcher in the game right now was super impressive. Just a testament to the strength of this team and to always keep fighting.”

The win was the seventh in a row and 12th in 13 games for the Phillies. They are 62-48 and remain in second NL wildcard spot.

“I just think we have the right guys in this clubhouse,” said Realmuto. “We’re very confident in ourselves and I’ve said this many times, but we don’t feel like we’re ever out of a game. Our lineup is too deep, we’re too consistent. We’re in games, we’re going to find a way to much more to gain than we don’t.”

Syndergaard got off to a good start, recovering two runs over six innings from his hittable debut last week against the Nationals. He threw more sliders, hard ones, and moved away from his four-seam fastball, throwing sinkers almost exclusively.

Syndergaard’s best work came late. He retired seven in a row from the fourth through sixth inning and retired the last two when walking consecutive batters in his last frame.

His line in two starts with the Phillies: 11 innings, 17 hits, 6 runs, 2 walks, 6 strikeouts.

His night would have been worse if the Phillies defense hadn’t turned it into another strong performance. In the first inning, Nick Castellanos chased a ball into the hole in right centerfield and threw to first base for a double play. In the second, Hoskins made a dive stop for a force out at second base that otherwise would have loaded the bases or scored a run. In the sixth, the improving Alec Bohm dove to hook a ball to the right for the first out and charged a grounder to end the inning.

“You see the guys, the work they do every day, you’re not surprised by the results we get on the defensive side of baseball,” Schwarber said.

The Phillies will conclude their three-game series with the Marlins at 1:05 p.m. Thursday as Kyle Gibson takes on Daniel Cabrera. From there, the Phils head to Citi Field for their first meeting with the Mets since late May.

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