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Buoyed by replay, Phillies construct a comeback

PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies’ half of the seventh inning Sunday afternoon appeared over, at least in the eyes of the seven Atlanta fielders clustered by the dugout.

Instead, thanks to a Phillies challenge, it would be four more hits and three more runs before the Braves got to settle into the third-base dugout at Citizens Bank Park.

If anyone is looking for a little symbolism from an opening weekend that started so disastrously for the Phillies, there you go.

A replay review resurrected the seventh for the Phillies, which they duly cashed in with four straight singles to finally take a game from the Braves, 5-4.

“That’s baseball,” Alec Bohm, deliverer of the go-ahead two-run single, said. “You think the inning’s over, you kind of let your guard down a little bit and we get some luck. Sometimes that’s all you need.”

First-base umpire Clint Vondrak was guilty only of burying the lede on the review of what was ruled a 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Johan Rojas. Vondrak signaled out for lead runner Bryson Stott at second base, at which point the Braves began to walk off the field, headed for the dugout stairs. Eyes averted, Vondrak then put up a safe sign for Rojas, having beaten the throw to first.

A video replay confirmed the play was oh, so close but the call was a right one.

The Braves were herded back onto the field, and the Phillies’ lineup flipped. Kyle Schwarber laced a single up the middle, his second hit of the day off a lefty, reliever Aaron Bummer. Trea Turner ripped an 0-2 pitch through the right side of the infield, chasing home Rojas to tie the game at 3 and allowing Schwarber to chug from first to third.

After Turner stole second, Bohm dunked a 3-2 Bummer sweeper into left field, the ball falling millimeters in front of the glove of the diving Adam Duvall.

“I know Duvall is a good outfielder out there,” Bohm said. “I don’t know what the consensus is of what the game thinks of him, but I know from experience playing against him that he’s a really good outfielder. I was holding my breath for sure.”

Rojas’s hustle was directly responsible for all that followed in the seventh, manager Rob Thomson calling it, “the biggest part of the game.” The speedy centerfielder is still waiting for his first hit, after a 4-for-43 postseason. But he still contributed.

In the fifth, he was hit by an Chris Sale pitch while trying to bunt with two on and none out. Schwarber grounded into a double play, but it chased home the Phillies’ second run. Schwarber had led off the game with a bullet home run on Sale’s second pitch, halving a Phils disadvantage to 2-1.

In the seventh, Rojas’ speed got him to first, and it made sure he jetted around to score even on the arm of Ronald Acuna Jr. on Turner’s single.

“Those are the little things that can help you win baseball games,” Schwarber said. “Those are controllable things, an effort play right there, he gives great effort, extends the inning and good things happen for us.”

It backed five strong innings from Ranger Suarez. The lefty walked Acuna and got beaten by Ozzie Albies on a low-and-in curveball golfed out to left for a 2-0 Braves lead in the first inning. Suarez replied by retiring nine straight before Austin Riley led off the fourth with a double and scored on a Duvall single.

Jeff Hoffman and Matt Strahm worked scoreless innings, the latter getting the win. Seranthony Dominguez got into trouble in the eighth, Jarred Kelenic doubling and Albies plating him with a single. With runners on the corners, Gregory Soto needed one pitch to induce a Matt Olson fly out to right.

Jose Alvarado tossed a lights-out ninth for the save … and to get the Phillies off the schneid.

“It’s always good to get your first win of the year,” Thomson said. “The way we’ve lost the first two games was disappointing. And getting down 2-0 in the first inning again, that can be demoralizing. Our guys kept battling and got it done.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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