‘LIKE PLAYOFF GAME’: PHILS BEAT FISH, HALF-GAME OUT OF WILD CARD

By Sam Bush

J.T. Realmuto missed the Phils two losses in Toronto because he was unvaccinated for COVID and barred from entering Canada.

But he wasn’t barred from entering Miami.

And he had three hits against his former team, including a tiebreaking double in the seventh inning off All-Star Sandy Alcantara, and the Phillies snapped a four-game losing streak to beat the Marlins 2-1.

The Phils remain a half-game behind the Cards for the third and final wild card playoff spot.

Alcantara extended his shutout string to 25 innings before consecutive run-scoring doubles from Darick Hall and Realmuto gave the Phillies the lead. The right-hander went eight innings and struck out 12.

Phils reliever Seranthony Domínguez walked three batters with one out in the ninth, but pinch-hitter Jesús Sánchez grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced pinch-runner Billy Hamilton at home. Domínguez then struck out Miguel Rojas for his fourth save.

“That’s how you have to beat (Alcantara),” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “You’ve got to scratch out some hits and some runs and play good defense. It’s like a playoff game right there.”

Kyle Gibson (5-3) pitched six innings of one-run ball for the Phillies. He scattered four hits, walked one and struck out five.

“You understand that these games, if you give up more than three, it makes it tough on the offense,” Gibson said. “I try not to think about that because I have to face Sandy, but you’re trying to limit the damage and keep away from big numbers.”

Alcantara (9-4) limited Philadelphia to one baserunner through the first six innings before Rhys Hoskins reached on a one-out walk in the seventh and Nick Castellanos singled.

Hall’s opposite-field double to left scored Hoskins, but Castellanos was thrown out at the plate. Realmuto followed with a hard smash down the third base line.

“We didn’t make a ton of good contact tonight,” Hoskins said. “We got some hits when we needed it. Got runners on late and didn’t miss pitches in the zone then.”

José Alvarado and Brad Hand each threw a perfect inning of relief for the Phillies.

Alcantara allowed four hits and walked two. He has completed at least seven innings in each of his last 13 outings.

“I was using all my pitches, but when you’ve got to face the same guys again and again, they know what pitches you want to throw,” Alcantara said. “I think that’s how they made the adjustments to me.”

Phillies slugger Kyle Schwarber, who leads the NL with 28 homers, struck out four times against Alcantara, a candidate to start for the National League in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium.

“If they give me the opportunity, it will be great for me, for my team, for my country,” said Alcantara, who is from the Dominican Republic.

Alcantara retired his first 13 batters before Realmuto’s one-out single in the fifth.

Miami scored first on Bryan De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly in the second. Avisaíl García walked and advanced on Brian Anderson’s double.

“You want to be able to have room for error,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “You want to be able to scratch a run or two in there somewhere while you’re getting those zeros. We just weren’t able to do it.”

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