Segura flips bat (and jersey) into orbit after walk-off

September 7th, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- was offended.

So when Segura lined a walk-off single past Marlins second baseman Jon Berti into right field to score Bryce Harper from second base in the ninth inning of a 3-2 victory over the Marlins on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, he launched his bat high into the sky. Like, really high. Like, before he even left the batter’s box, before the ball reached the outfield and before Harper got halfway to third base.

“They keep walking people in front of me, and I’m angry,” Segura said afterward. “How high was it? Did you guys see it? It went high? Maybe I’m the first player ever to throw the bat up that high.”

Segura slammed his helmet into the dirt when Harper scored. He shouted something unmentionable, regarding Miami’s decision to intentionally walk J.T. Realmuto to face him.

Segura removed his jersey. He launched that high into the air, too.

(Not as high as the bat, but pretty high.)

Hey, whatever gets the Phillies out of their recent funk. They won for just the second time since they had a six-game winning streak snapped on Aug. 27, which includes a 1-5 trip through Arizona and San Francisco. The victory kept the Phils (74-61) a percentage point ahead of the Padres (75-62) for the second NL Wild Card, and moved them three games ahead of the Brewers (71-64), who are chasing both teams for a Wild Card slot.

It was the eighth walk-off hit of Segura’s career and his sixth with the Phillies. He had four walk-off hits last season, including one on April 1, 2021, when the Braves intentionally walked Didi Gregorius to face him.

“There’s a couple guys in here that really thrive in those situations and love those situations,” Harper said. “Jean is definitely one of them. I think you need that on teams that are going into September and late into October.”

To get into October, the Phillies will need more than walk-off hits. They will need strong pitching.

They will need Aaron Nola.

Nola struck out 10 and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks over 6 2/3 innings against the Marlins. It followed one of the worst starts of his career on Aug. 30 in Arizona, when he allowed a career-high eight runs in four innings.

It sparked concerns that Nola might be fading again down the stretch. He entered the series opener with a 4.60 ERA in his career in September/October, nearly a run higher than his overall career ERA. It included a 6.51 ERA in five starts in 2019 and a 6.19 ERA in six starts in '21.

Nola can end that talk with one good month to help the Phillies make the postseason.

So it was good for him to pitch well Tuesday. His 10th strikeout came in the seventh inning; it was his 200th of the season. Nola has four 200-strikeout seasons in his career, which is tied for second in franchise history with Jim Bunning and Grover Cleveland Alexander.

Only Steve Carlton has more with seven.

“My main focus was on getting the leadoff guy out, fill up the zone and try to get early outs,” Nola said. “The guys played great behind me.”

Edmundo Sosa homered off the left-field foul pole in the third to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. He doubled, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Alec Bohm’s sacrifice fly in the sixth to make it 2-1. Sosa was called out on the play as Marlins left fielder Brian Anderson made a terrific throw to the plate, but the call was overturned because Fortes blocked too much of the plate (per Rule 6.01(i)(2)).

Realmuto caught Luke Williams stealing second in the ninth to help end a Marlins threat. Sosa made a great tag.

It set up Segura’s heroics in the ninth.

Harper dropped a one-out double down the left-field line. He did not run hard out of the box, so the play was closer at second than it needed to be.

“If I’m out of the box quicker, it’s not even a play at second base,” Harper said. “I’ve got to be better right there in that situation. I’m just glad to get in there and score on that ball to win that game.”

Segura loved his chances once it got to him. He was motivated and he was angry.

“The best part is the ‘W,’” Segura said. “I play this game to win. I think a ‘W’ today was more important than my walk-off, because we’ve been playing rough baseball lately. To get a ‘W’ today, I think the boys are going to feel really good about it and maybe get a winning streak going on right now.”