PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Toronto interim manager John Schneider left the clubhouse after his team scored in all but one innings and — nearly as big as the 10 extra-base hits — had fans on the sidelines of Philadelphia who chanted “Let’s go, Blue” Jay!” and simply deadpan: “Pitchers’ duel.”
Matt Chapman hit a three-run homer in the first inning, added Jackie Bradley Jr. a three-run shot in the ninth and the Blue Jays used 21 hits to defeat the Phillies 18-11 on Tuesday night in a match-up of teams that faced each other as they played for wildcard berths.
The Blue Jays are in better shape, not only as winners of five out of seven games, but also with a firm hold on the top wildcard spot in the American League. The Phillies, who ran a three-game weekend in Atlanta, lost their fifth game in a row.
Philadelphia held a 2 1/2-game (plus the tiebreaker) lead over the Milwaukee Brewers for the final wildcard spot in the National League. The Mets defeated the Brewers 7-5.
Kyle Schwarber hit his NL-best 40th homer of the season for the Phillies in the eighth, a three-run shot that made it 14-10. He became the first Phillies slugger to hit 40 Ryan Howard did it from 2006-2009.
JT Realmuto hit his 20th homer and hit 5 for 5 for the Phillies, netting two runs and scoring twice.
Raimel Tapia and Danney Jansen each had three RBI’s for the Blue Jays. Toronto scored in every inning except the fourth. However, Jansen struckout Garrett Stubbs who became the reserve catcher and who relieved in the ninth under chants of “Stubbs! Stubbs! Stubbs!”
The Phillies have 15 games to go, including five on this final homestand of the season. Toronto has 14 more to go and has just opened a six-game road trip.
“You go through breaks in the season and this isn’t the best place to go in, is it?” 2021 NL MVP Bryce Harper said. “We lost, but I think it’s a stepping stone to tomorrow and hopefully the attack can show up, the defense can show up and also the pitching. We will need that until the end of the season.”
Harper maintained an optimistic tone with his postseason talk. But with the way they played against the Blue Jays, they won’t last long; the crucial errors in the middle innings, first when Harper doubled to end a rally in the fifth and then a two base error by shortstop Bryson Stott in the sixth leading to an unearned run.
However, trailing 7-1 in the fifth, the Phillies broke through against the Toronto starter Ross Stripling. Dalton Guthrie made it 7-2 on a solo shot for his first big league homer. Rhys Hoskins had a runscoring double and Harper and Realmuto added consecutive RBI-singles to make it 7-5.
Blue Jays reliever Zach Pop (3-0) helped them escape the inning when he flied out Stott to the middle and George Springer caught Harper in second to end the threat.
“We just have to win again and if we keep playing the way we play, we’re going to,” said Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson.
Stripling gave up nine hits and five runs in four plus innings to end a run of 16 consecutive starts from three or less earned runs, one shy of matching the franchise mark.
“It certainly wasn’t a good day to be a pitcher for either team,” Stripling said. “But we showed our strength today, which is the ability to throw it out at times. We really showed that today.”
Kyle Gibson (10-7) couldn’t pull it off and stayed in the game to give up seven runs and 12 hits over five innings. His problems started early when Chapman’s 27th homer on a drive into left field made it 3-0 in the first inning. The Blue Jays scored two in the second and skipped on some runs in the third and sixth to start the run.
“You kind of knew it was one of those nights around the third or fourth inning,” Schneider said.
The Blue Jays fell behind the 29 goals and 28 points they scored against the Red Sox in July.
The Blue Jays hit five leadoff doubles and seven overall. Toscar Hernandez had four basehits and set a career high with 30 doubles. Vlad Guerrero Jr. extended his hit streak to 13 games (.316 over that period).
Phillies CF Brandon Marsh left after the third inning with a bruise to the left knee after hitting a wall while trying to make a flyout. Phillies OF Nick Castellanos could begin a rehab assignment this week as part of his return from a strained oblique. Castellanos has just 13 home runs and 61 RBIs in the first season of a $100 million five-year contract.
The Phillies send RHP Zack Wheeler (11-7, 3.07 ERA) to the mound against RHP Kevin Gausman (12-10, 3.45). Wheeler, the NL Cy Young Award 2021 runner-up, will make his first start since August 20. He missed five starts with right forearm tendonitis.
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