Phillies vs. Angels: Zack Wheeler, JT Realmuto help Rob Thomson to another win


Phillies vs. Angels: Zack Wheeler, JT Realmuto help Rob Thomson to another win

Early runs, solid defense, no bullpen meltdown, late insurance… wherever he is, Joe Girardi has to think, “Really?”

The Phillies’ offense leapfrogged an Angels starting pitcher for the second straight night and hit five first inning runs in a 7-2 win.

Rob Thomson is 2-0 as interim skipper since taking on Girardi, who was fired on Friday morning. Thomson begins his tenure with a streak win over a stumbling Angels team that has lost 10 straight.

The Phillies are 24-29 after winning three straight games.

“Yesterday was obviously a strange day,” said Rhys Hoskins. “The business of baseball shows up every once in a while, but it’s cool to see the guys just get out on the field and play the game.

“We’re quite lucky that some of us have been with Rob Thomson for a few years and there’s a lot of intimacy. It has to go on as usual. I think that’s the nature of baseball season, it’s day in and day out. Unfortunately, the game just goes on.

“Business as usual and let’s win some baseball games.”

The tone was immediately set by Kyle Schwarber, who nearly homed on the first pitch of the bottom end of the first inning for the second game in a row. He smashed one into right field that a fan reached over the wall to disrupt, resulting in a double.

Schwarber is locked down and this is an example of how he can be a catalyst as an unconventional leadoff man. In his last five games, he’s 7 for 18 with four homers, a double and five walks.

The Phillies weren’t fooled out of goal by Michael Lorenzen, who came in with a 3.19 ERA. Reached eight of the first 10 batters, three via walks. JT Realmuto and Johan Camargo each rode in pairs with one double and one single.

Camargo’s two-out hit was huge. As productive as the Phillies’ first inning was, it could have lent momentum to the Angels if they had escaped it by pulling Camargo back and allowing just two runs, particularly with Lorenzen embarking on firing five scoreless frames afterwards. Camargo was behind the count with loaded bases before working it full and singled in a pair. It extended the inning for Mickey Moniak, who drove with an infield hit in the fifth heat.

Camargo later added another big hit, a two-run single in the eighth that gave the Phillies more breathing room and allowed them to field Connor Brogdon in the ninth inning instead of getting closer to Corey Knebel.

“I’ve been working hard so it’s really good to finally see results,” said Camargo, who will only become more important for the rest of the season as Jean Segura was sidelined for three months with a broken finger.

Realmuto doubled three times, a career high. In his last 11 games, he’s 14 for 35 (.400) with five doubles, a triple, a homer and 9 RBI. He had good play at both ends and also threw out an 81-mph curveball in the first inning from Shohei Ohtani, who was trying to steal on right court. Realmuto has kicked out 9 out of 18 would-be base stealers and leads the majors with 50 percent.

May National League Pitcher of the Month Zack Wheeler picked up his fourth win. He hit nine, all with fastballs, including Mike Trout twice. Trout is 0-8 in the streak and unsuccessful in his final 23 at-bats, the longest streak of his career.

Despite the strong line (6 IP, 2 ER), Wheeler wasn’t quite at his best, throwing himself wide in each of the first five innings and fielding multiple men in three of the six. The biggest inning was the fifth when the Angels took the lead for the third time after Lorenzen retired 10 of 11 Phillies. Alec Bohm started the inning with a clutch play, diving right and firing a punch to pull Matt Duffy out first. Ahead of Ohtani and Trout, this is a pivotal moment. Wheeler conceded a run in the inning, but that was it thanks to his success against Trout and play from Bohm.

“Just a great game,” said Thomson. “He dived, had the presence and balance to throw a punch at first base. That was a big play to keep him off first base when these guys show up.

Böhm had an eventful night. After striking in his first AB, he took it out on the racquet stand and ended up bleeding in the neck area when a piece of the racquet ricocheted off and cut him. He stayed in the game and next time just missed a two-run homer when he flew 401 feet to Trout at center.

“Guys get frustrated,” Thomson said. “That’s a situation where you don’t want a guy to get hurt but the guys get frustrated and they bang the racquet stand every once in a while.”

Brad Hand and Seranthony Dominguez each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Hand’s ERA is down to 1.13 in 23 appearances and he has not allowed a run since May 4th. Dominguez has not been hit since May 3.

The Phillies go on the sweep at 1:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Kyle Gibson (3-2, 3.83) takes on underrated left-hander Patrick Sandoval (3-1, 2.70), who is probably the most consistent arm in the Angels rotation right now.

“We’re happy, but we have to control our emotions,” Camargo said of the three-game winning streak. “It’s just the beginning. We have to keep fighting and working hard because we know we’re a good club.”

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