MASTERFUL BULLPEN LIFTS PHILS TO 1 1/2 GAMES OUT OF WILD CARD!

By Sam Bush

Kyle Schwarber hit a go-ahead, three-run home run in the seventh inning and the Phillies’ bullpen was masterful for 6 1/3 innings in an 8-5 win over the San Diego Padres.

“It’s the reality of the situation, right?” Schwarber said, referring to Bryce Harper’s broken thumb.

“You lose the MVP, a guy who’s putting up MVP numbers again, we don’t know the extent of it, but we all have to come together as a team and really make sure that when our name’s called on, we’re going to be prepared to get the job done.”

Harper was injured when he was hit by a pitch from left-hander Blake Snell on Saturday night. The slugger, who has had a great season while playing mostly at designated hitter because of an elbow injury, is expected to see a specialist after the Phillies return home.

“It stinks. No one wants to see that,” Schwarber said. “And we’re hoping that it’s not going to be too bad but I felt like we all did a really good job today stepping up.”

Harper was injured in the fourth inning of a scoreless tie Saturday night and the Phillies went on to win 4-2. At 39-35, they are a season-high four games over .500 and are 17-6 since manager Joe Girardi was fired and replaced on an interim basis by Rob Thomson.

The Phillies are just 1 1/2 games out of the last Wild Card playoff spot.

Phillies second baseman Jean Segura has missed a month with a broken finger and is expected to be out for another six to eight weeks.

“It’s a really good team,” Schwarber said. “When you lose two players of the caliber those two are, it sucks. But that’s why there’s depth and that’s why there are guys who can come up in those spots and take it to a high level.”

San Diego’s Yu Darvish left with a 5-3 lead after striking out a season-high nine in six innings. But reliever Nabil Crismatt (4-1) couldn’t hold it after getting into trouble opening the seventh. Bryson Stott walked, Matt Vierling singled and Schwarber, the leadoff batter, drove a 2-1 pitch into the left field seats for the lead. It was his 21st.

Schwarber also had an RBI double in the second for the Phillies, who took three of four.

Garrett Stubbs, who played at nearby Torrey Pines High School and then at USC, singled in an insurance run for the Phillies in the eighth after striking out in his first three at-bats. Matt Vierling scored on a wild pitch in the ninth.

Nick Nelson (2-1) pitched 3 1/3 perfect innings in relief of Kyle Gibson, with two strikeouts. Andrew Bellatti, who went to Steele Canyon High in suburban Spring Valley, pitched a perfect ninth for his first career save. Corey Knebel pitched a perfect seventh and Jose Alvarado allowed Eric Hosmer’s double leading off the eighth and then retired the side.

San Diego went ahead 5-2 in the third on two-run doubles by Austin Nola and rookie C.J. Abrams that knocked out Kyle Gibson. The right-hander allowed three hits, two walks and hit a batter that inning. Overall, Gibson allowed five runs and four hits, walked three and struck out two in 2 2/3 innings, his shortest outing this season.

Darvish allowed three runs and seven hits, with one walk.

San Diego leadoff batter Jurickson Profar walked in the first and scored on Eric Hosmer’s groundout.

The Phillies went ahead in the second on Bryson Stott’s RBI single and Schwarber’s RBI double.

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