What a finish! Phils force extras, walk off on error

May 22nd, 2022

PHILADELPHIA -- There is a 15-second delay on the TVs in the Phillies’ clubhouse, so everybody inside knew something special happened in the bottom of the 10th in Sunday’s 4-3 walk-off victory over the Dodgers.

They just didn’t know exactly what.

“I’m judging my emotions off the fans stomping and cheering,” right-hander Zach Eflin said. “It was all over the place for me. But so, so happy that we won. We really needed that one.”

“It’s a relieving win,” Alec Bohm said.

It turned out to be one of the wildest finishes to a Phillies game in recent memory. They had Roman Quinn on second and Garrett Stubbs on third with two outs in the 10th. They trailed by a run. They needed Bohm to come through, or they would have a 1-5 homestand. The Phillies’ frustrations already started to show. Rhys Hoskins beat up a trash can after grounding into an inning-ending double play in the eighth.

Bohm hit a soft grounder to Dodgers second baseman Max Muncy. It looked like the end. But it was the end of a hot, humid afternoon and the infield had dried out. Muncy needed to give himself more room to handle the harder hop. He did not.

Muncy booted the ball. It went behind him.

“Moving the ball, putting the ball in play,” Bohm said. “I strike out there the game is over, right? I knew I hit it soft, so I’m running as hard as I can. But walking up to the plate I know I’ve got one of the fastest guys in the league at second, so I’m not trying to do too much there.”

Stubbs scored from third to tie it.

“I was watching the whole play,” Stubbs said. “I saw him bobble it. I know that [Quinn] was going to be coming, so I got ready to tell him which way to slide.”

Quinn is one of the fastest players in baseball. By the time the ball reached Muncy, he was only a step away from third base. A millisecond after Muncy booted it, Phillies third base coach Dusty Wathan told Quinn to keep running. Quinn never slowed. By the time Muncy picked up the baseball and turned to throw, Quinn was already a third of the way home.

Quinn slid headfirst into home plate to win it. It was the first time the Phillies scored two runs in a walk-off error since May 17, 1994, against the Expos at Veterans Stadium.

“It took me too long to find the ball,” Muncy said.

“I was just going on his swing,” Quinn said. “I saw it on the ground. I wasn’t sure if it was going to get through, so I peeked at Dusty and I looked back. I saw Muncy bobble the ball so I just took off from there. It’s just like one of those in-the-moment things. I’m trusting his decision, looking at him, looking at the ball. I see him out of the corner of my eye. It’s just one of those split-second decisions that you make.”

Quinn’s speed saved the day. Eflin struck out a career-high 12 in seven innings, including seven on curveballs. He was fantastic as the Phillies’ rotation continues to roll. Stubbs had a big game. He hit the first home run of his big league career in the sixth to cut the deficit to 2-1. He singled to start the 1oth. It led to J.T. Realmuto’s baserunning gaffe at third, but Stubbs picked up the slack when he ran from first to third on Quinn’s two-out single to right.

It was a close play. Mookie Betts’ throw almost got him.

“I thought I was a little faster than I actually was,” Stubbs said. “My legs were probably a little tired. I thought I was going to get there and I did. I thought, ‘If I can get to third, then Ro can get to second and we can have two runners in scoring position.”

Stubbs said he didn’t think about his first homer until he touched home plate.

“Damn, I just hit my first big league homer,” Stubbs said.

He got the ball, too. He plans to give it to his mom, Marti Jo.

Teammates raved about Stubbs’ contributions Sunday. Kyle Schwarber called him the story of the afternoon. Eflin said he was “the definition of a leader.”

“Stuff like that resonates with people,” Eflin said. “It really inspires people. He played his [butt] off and I think everybody kind of rallied around that.”

So an improbable victory erased an otherwise frustrating day. The Phillies had runners on first and second when Hoskins hit into that double play in the eighth. He so badly wanted to keep the inning going that he slid headfirst into the bag. Upon his return to the dugout, he slammed a trash can, then slammed it again against the back of the bench.

Hoskins’ frustrations were about more than just one play. It was about the entire game. It was about everything happening lately.

“We are just expecting to be better,” Hoskins said.

They hope again that a big victory finally gets them going.