PHILS TAKE THEIR WILD CARD LEAD TO ATLANTA THIS WEEKEND

By Peter Marx

The Phillies seemed to have their weekend series with the Braves in Atlanta on their minds last night when they played the Marlins.

Kyle Schwarber hit his NL-leading 38th homer in the playoff-contending Phillies’ 5-3.

Schwarber connected off Pablo López in the sixth with a solo shot to right-center. The Phillies are second in the NL wild-card race.

Miami rookie Jordan Groshans hit his first major league homer and Bryan De La Cruz also went deep and had four RBI.

Brandon Marsh tripled, doubled and singled twice for the Phillies. They won the season series over Miami 12-7.

Philadelphia will open a three-game series at NL wild-card leader Atlanta on Friday. The Braves lead the Phillies by eight games.

“We’re playing good,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. “I feel as confident as ever with our ball club. We’re battling. There’s a lot of energy in the dugout. Everybody’s pulling for each other.”

Groshans gave the Marlins an early lead with his shot to lead off the third. He drove Phillies starter Noah Syndergaad’s sinker into the left-field seats for his fourth consecutive hit after he went 3 for 3 on Wednesday. Syndergaard (9-10) gave up four runs, six hits, walked one and struck out three in six innings.

De La Cruz’s three-run blast in the fourth made it 4-0. The 434-foot drive bounced off the façade above left-center for De La Cruz’s ninth homer.

“I think for the most part I executed my pitches, just the two that I wish I could have back,” Syndergaad said of the homers to Groshans and De La Cruz.

Although De La Cruz made the opening day roster, he was twice optioned to the minors after he struggled. He was recalled a second time Sept. 1.

“It’s about the opportunity the team has given me,” De La Cruz said. “I’m trying to take advantage of it as much as I can. I feel the contact and power is there. I hope it stays there constantly.”

López’s outing ended after Bryson Stott’s two-out double in the seventh. Steven Okert relieved López and allowed Marsh’s RBI double that got the Phillies to 4-2.

Tanner Scott followed Okert in the eighth and gave up Nick Maton’s leadoff single and walked Schwarber. But Scott retired Jean Segura on a double play grounder and struck out Bryce Harper.

De La Cruz’s sacrifice fly in the eighth padded Miami’s lead.

“To have a little cushion was huge,” said Marlins manager Don Mattingly, whose club squandered one-run leads in the first two games of the series.

Dylan Floro pitched the ninth and surrendered Marsh’s run-scoring single for his fifth save.

“We had some opportunities, just didn’t score,” Thomson said. “But they battled ’til the end. We put some good bats on them late.”

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