PHILADELPHIA -- Trea Turner is loving his first August in Philadelphia.
The Phillies’ shortstop ripped a walk-off two-run single through the infield in the ninth inning Tuesday night to beat the Giants, 4-3, at Citizens Bank Park, continuing a remarkable turnaround to his first season with Philadelphia. Turner began the month frustrated in Miami, so much so that he hit in the batting cage until midnight on Aug. 2. The next day, he batted eighth for the first time since his rookie season in 2015. But the night after that, Turner received a standing ovation from the home fans before every plate appearance.
Turner called that night “pretty [freakin’] cool.” He hasn’t stopped hitting since.
“The last three, four weeks have been a lot better,” Turner said. “Normal me, I guess.”
Turner is batting .353 (24-for-68) with six doubles, four home runs, 14 RBIs and a 1.007 OPS in 17 games since Aug. 4, when he got the standing ovations against the Royals. His walk-off hit Tuesday helped the Phillies (69-57) build a 3 1/2-game lead over the Cubs (65-60) for the No. 1 National League Wild Card spot with 36 games to play, and a four-game lead over the D-backs (66-61) for the third Wild Card spot.
“Unbelievable,” center fielder Brandon Marsh said. “He’s one of the best ever to do it. It’s a joy just to watch him go out there and compete, and just watch his God-given ability and his work ethic come into play every night. This past month -- all year -- he’s still spectacular to watch, whether he’s in a little slump or he’s hitting .380, like he is right now. It’s good to see him squaring up some balls, putting together some good at-bats, playing really, really good defense and just being Trea Turner.”
The Giants had a 3-2 lead in the ninth when closer Camilo Doval hit Bryson Stott on the inside of the left elbow with a 97.2 mph cutter to start the inning. Marsh hit a one-out single to center to put runners at the corners. Then Marsh stole second, taking the Phillies out of a potential game-ending double play with Kyle Schwarber batting.
“One out, first and third, Schwarber hits the ball harder than anyone,” Marsh said. “If he hits the ball anywhere in the infield, it’s probably a double play, because it’s coming 110 [mph] off the bat. I mean, I got the sign. It was on me. I was presented the opportunity, and I felt I had [Doval] timed up pretty well. I just took my shot.”
The Giants intentionally walked Schwarber to load the bases, sending Turner to the plate.
San Francisco moved its corner infielders in. Turner hit the sixth pitch of the at-bat back to Doval at 104 mph. The right-hander put up his glove to try to snare the comebacker.
“Kind of did my job,” Turner said when asked what he thought when the ball left the bat. “Hope it doesn’t get caught or doesn’t go anywhere that I don’t want it to.”
Marsh, who represented the winning run at second, moved back toward the base to avoid getting doubled off if Doval caught it.
“Get the heck back,” he said. “They’re going to come to second if they catch it. I was like, ‘I’ve got to get back.’”
But Doval did not catch the ball. It deflected off his glove and bounced to the left of second baseman Thairo Estrada, who had moved to his right when Turner hit the ball. Estrada dove back in a futile attempt to stop it.
“Marshy is obviously pretty quick,” Turner said. “I looked up, and the ball barely got to the outfield after it hit off [Estrada’s] glove, so I figured it was good enough [to win the game].”
It was the fifth walk-off hit of Turner’s career, but it was his first since July 2, 2019, vs. Miami.
“Trea was great,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “Gets to two strikes and stays inside the ball and hits a rocket up the middle. … Incredible. He's been great. He's done everything that Trea Turner usually does.”
And Turner still has seven more games to play this month.