Phils filled with postseason feeling in wild extras win over O's

June 15th, 2024

BALTIMORE -- This weekend’s showdown is unlike any early-season series in Phillies history -- and Game 1 against the Orioles certainly lived up to the hype on a wild Friday night at Camden Yards.

The series opener had a little bit of everything, from Kyle Schwarber’s leadoff home run to not one but two plays at the plate in the 10th inning to an 11th-inning rain delay and -- finally -- a clutch two-run double to lift the Phils to a 5-3 victory in 11 innings.

“That's probably the most exciting game that we've had this year,” manager Rob Thomson said. “It was like a playoff game. And the guys responded, so that's good to see.”

“Heck of a game,” added O’s manager Brandon Hyde, who called this weekend “a huge test” for his club.

Most of the action that happened in front of a sell-out crowd of 43,987 not only featured a large Philadelphia contingent, but provided a postseason-like atmosphere. Unfortunately, the majority of those fans were no longer around to witness Bohm’s decisive knock following a one-hour, 11-minute rain delay prior to the top of the 11th.

That came after a wild 10th inning in which Johan Rojas was thrown out at the plate trying to tack a second run on Schwarber’s go-ahead single. Then, with the bases loaded and two outs in the bottom half, O’s outfielder Cedric Mullins made a mad dash to the plate and narrowly avoided a sprawling tag attempt from Phillies catcher Rafael Marchán to tie the game.

Moments later, the skies opened up and the tarp was rushed onto the field. For the Phillies fans who stuck around, it was worth the wait.

“First of all, I just want to say, we've got the greatest fans in the world,” Thomson said. “Those people who stayed to the end, that was really cool. Our guys really appreciated it.”

After Nick Castellanos popped out to resume action in the top of the 11th, the O’s opted to intentionally walk Bryce Harper to set up a potential double play. Bohm immediately made them pay, ripping a 105.6 mph line drive deep to left field to plate automatic runner Whit Merrifield and Harper.

Bohm started toward the plate before the umpire signaled the O’s were walking Harper.

“Obviously, you’re going to walk Bryce Harper. It’s just what you do,” Bohm said. “I’m sure every manager is sitting in their chair thinking, ‘All right, I’m not going to let this guy beat me tonight.’ So I figured I didn’t need to stop at the on-deck circle.”

Friday's contest between the Phils (47-22) and O's (45-24) marked the first pre-July game in franchise history in which both teams entered at least 20 games above .500. The earliest date it had happened previously was July 8, 1993.

In fact, the last time any two teams met this early in the season sitting 20 games above .500 was exactly six years ago (Mariners-Red Sox), per the Elias Sports Bureau.

The amount of Phillies fans in the packed ballpark was immediately obvious when Schwarber crushed his second leadoff home run in the past four days. His swing ended with an uncharacteristic bat drop, while his trip around the bases culminated with a standing ovation from a large portion of the fans seated behind Philadelphia's third-base dugout.

“All the talk about this series -- on MLB Network and all over the place -- that it's a big series,” Thomson said. “And the atmosphere was tremendous; a lot of Philly fans here and, obviously, a lot of Baltimore fans.

“It was such a great game; just really good. It was like a playoff game.”

“Yeah, you could say that,” Bohm agreed. “I mean, it’s June, but it was definitely loud, the crowd was into it, it was a lot of fun. So yeah, I’d definitely compare it to a playoff crowd, for sure.”

In true postseason form, it was easy to forget all that happened before the frenzied finish.

Ranger Suárez tossed 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball to lower his season ERA to 1.77 through 14 starts. Marchán hit a go-ahead jack in the fifth for his first home run of the season. The rookie catcher also made an athletic play in the fourth, when he threw out the lead runner at third on a bunt attempt to help bail out Suárez.

“It was amazing,” Marchán said. “This team has been doing a great job and playing excellent games, so to be part of that, just makes me feel grateful and blessed to be part of this group. I’m just happy for the win.”

That victory made for a perfect -- and wild -- start to the weekend.

“A lot of fun. I was impressed. It was loud, it was fun,” Bohm said. “And there was a lot of red.”