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Wheeler, bullpen keep Marlins at the starting gate

PHILADELPHIA — With all the talk about Miami’s glut of left-handed pitching entering this NL Wild Card series, J.T. Realmuto drew the obvious conclusion Monday.

Two southpaw starters, five in the bullpen, most of them high-leverage arms.

“It’s definitely going to be on our right-handed bats to get the job done,” Realmuto assessed.

Did they ever Tuesday.

Realmuto and the other five righties in the lineup supplied hits to knock starter Jesus Luzardo out after four laborious innings, and Zack Wheeler pitched brilliantly into the seventh as the Phillies won Game 1 of the series, 4-1, over the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies can close it out Wednesday with Aaron Nola on the mound (8:08 p.m., ESPN).

Wheeler was exemplary. He got through six scoreless innings with just 73 pitches. He ran into trouble in the seventh via a double by Josh Bell, just his third three-ball count all night, and two infield singles. Four of the five hits he allowed went off infielders’ gloves.

No one touched second until Bell’s double to right. Wheeler bounced back to get Jazz Chisholm looking. But Jake Burger found a hole with a bounder that Bryce Harper dove for at first and Bryson Stott gloved behind him, but Wheeler was late to cover.

It put runners on the corners for Bryan De La Cruz to hit a hot shot to third that Alec Bohm snared, but Bohm’s seated throw across the diamond was a step late, allowing Bell to score.

Jose Alvarado was summoned, Wheeler done at 101 pitches. The Marlins pinch-hit for Jesus Sanchez with Yuli Gurriel, who hit.316 for the Astros in the World Series last year. But Alvarado got him to swing through a lethal cutter at 93.6 miles out of the zone.

Nick Castellanos and Trea Turner had two hits each, both of Castellanos’ doubles. All nine spots in the order had at least one hit.

The Phillies led off four of the first five innings with hits. No lopsided innings emerged, thanks to a 3-for-14 performance with runners in scoring position.

Kyle Schwarber and Turner led off the game with a single and a double, respectively, but neither moved. They had the same situation in the fourth, when Realmuto singled and Castellanos doubled. Stott laced a single to center to score the former, but Castellanos was hosed at the plate by Chisholm.

Stott scored from third when Cristian Pache, starting for lefty Brandon Marsh, roped a single over the bag at second to make it 3-0.

The Phillies got on the board in the third when Johan Rojas led off with a single, got to second on a wild pitch and sprinted home on Bohm’s two-out bloop double down the line in left. Harper led off the eighth with a single and chugged through Dusty Wathan’s stop sign on Castellanos’ double off lefty reliever Steven Okert.

Alvarado retired his first three batters before Luiz Arraez singled with two out in the eighth. In came Jeff Hoffman, who ended the eighth with a force out from Jorge Soler to short.

Bell got to Kimbrel to lead off the ninth with a double off the wall in right, his third hit of the Marlins’ seven. But three groundouts ended it, and now the Phils are one win away from heading for Atlanta for the NLDS.

Source: Berkshire mont

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