'Born to play this game': Segura walk-off hero

June 13th, 2021

The Phillies have had a knack for the dramatic over their most recent games.

Coming off back-to-back walk-off wins, the Phillies had some more late-inning magic to show off on Saturday against the Yankees.

Facing Aroldis Chapman in the 10th inning, played the role of walk-off hero for the second straight game, as the Phillies won the series opener, 8-7, at Citizens Bank Park.

With as the automatic runner on second base to begin the inning, dropped a sacrifice bunt to successfully move Torreyes.

The bunt set the stage for Segura to bring Torreyes in for the game-winning run against the flame-throwing lefty.

Segura singled to third base on a 2-0 slider from Chapman, and even after it was stopped by a diving Gio Urshela, it was enough to bring Torreyes home.

"I really like those tied games on the line, because I don't know, man," Segura told NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I can't explain that. I was just born to play this game. … I want to be in that situation all the time."

Phillies manager Joe Girardi said Jankowski's bunt to advance Torreyes and speed to beat the throw at first base was a deciding moment.

"For Jankowski, that might be one of the toughest guys to bunt in the league," Girardi said. "Chapman [can] get it up to 102 [mph]. He's got a good slider. He's got a split as well now. But [Jankowski] did a great job and he put it in his hands. His speed allowed him to get to first base, and it made all the difference in the world, because we may not score that run if that's the case. So great job by Janko."

The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead and didn't trail in the ballgame as the offense tallied up 14 hits (12 singles) and starter threw five innings and allowed two runs.

Velasquez, who struck out five batters, said the third straight walk-off win is a shift for the club as it climbed back to .500 for the first time since May 20.

"I think this is just a big momentum booster," Velasquez said. "I think three walk-off wins is very unlikely. Our offense, we've had some struggles, but we grinded it out the last series to [the start of] this series."

With the Phillies leading, 7-2, heading into the sixth inning, the Yankees chipped away at the deficit by scoring a run apiece in the sixth and eighth innings. New York tied the game in the ninth when Héctor Neris served up a game-tying, three-run homer to DJ LeMahieu.

Neris struggled to find the strike zone in an outing where he threw 30 pitches (17 strikes). After retiring Miguel Andújar on a groundout to begin the ninth inning, he issued back-to-back walks to Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade, then allowed the game-tying home run on a splitter low in the zone to LeMahieu.

"I'm going to be honest," Segura said to NBC Sports Philadelphia. "When they tied the game, we were definitely down. We were definitely down. I think the whole stadium went down when they tied the game in the ninth. But the boys came back and kept pushing and kept pushing, and getting the guy in scoring position. Thanks to God we drove him in and we walked out with the win."

With the blown save against the Yankees, it marks the second straight blown save for Neris. His last time out, Neris gave up a game-tying solo home run to Freddie Freeman in Thursday's 4-3 walk-off win over the Braves.

Girardi said despite the missed opportunities from Neris following home runs allowed, he understands the ups and downs closers may face and expressed faith in Neris' ability to close games.

"The bottom line is we won the game," Girardi said. "Héctor gave up a home run to the MVP [from] last year, right? And LeMahieu is pretty good, too. The thing that hurt him were the two walks, and that's what we have to take care of. Hector, for the most part, has been really good for us this year. Closers go through it. We'll get him back on track and we'll go from there."