What short bench? Torreyes key in 7-run 8th

May 19th, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies needed a big hit in a big spot on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, so Joe Girardi chose to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth inning of a tie game.

It was either him or Rafael Marchan.

The Phillies are shorthanded. They played Sunday without a single healthy bench player in a loss to the Blue Jays. So in that sense, Tuesday must have felt like an embarrassment of riches for Girardi, who had three healthy bench bats from which to choose. Brad Miller pinch-hit in the seventh as the Phils tied the game. It set up Torreyes, who doubled to left field to score two runs to break another tie in an 8-3 victory over the Marlins.

“I was very, very, very happy,” Torreyes said through the Phillies’ interpreter. “I was happy because I had an opportunity to help the team. I was happy because the manager trusted me in that situation.”

It was Torreyes’ first at-bat for the Phillies since April 17. He left the team two days later after he tested positive for COVID-19, spending 11 consecutive days in his hotel room before he joined Triple-A Lehigh Valley to begin a rehab assignment.

It was Torreyes’ first RBI since he earned a walk-off hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded on Sept. 17, 2019, with the Twins.

Torreyes enjoyed Tuesday’s RBIs more, but he would have taken another one for the team, too.

“I know that I’m here to help the team win in any way possible,” he said.

Torreyes was the sixth of nine consecutive batters to safely reach base in the eighth. A couple of Phillies said the inning felt like an extension of Sunday’s near comeback in a 10-8 loss to Toronto. It is interesting that the Phils carried positive vibes back to Philadelphia after that one, only because the game featured a confrontation between Girardi and Jean Segura in the dugout, an 8-0 deficit after three innings and no bench players. was not supposed to play because of a sore right shoulder, but he was forced into the game after Scott Kingery suffered a concussion following a collision with the right-field wall.

“It’s a long season,” said , who allowed one unearned run and struck out 10 in seven innings. “You’ve got to take your wins and losses, but you’ve always got to take the good from the bad sometimes. [The comeback] is one of those things that you take from that day.”

Rhys Hoskins started the eighth on Tuesday with a one-out single to left. Alec Bohm’s double scored him to cut the Marlins’ lead to one. Odúbel Herrera’s infield single put runners at the corners. Andrew Knapp fell behind 0-2 but worked a walk to load the bases. Nick Maton’s single to right scored a run to tie the game.

Torreyes looked for a fastball up from John Curtiss. He got it.

Harper capped the scoring with a two-run single to right.

“For the 10,000 people that were there, it got pretty loud,” Harper said. “So that was really cool, being able to get back home in our ballpark and have them behind us tonight. I mean, what an at-bat by Knappy right there. I mean, 0-2, against that guy. Coming back and fighting. Laying off the high stuff. Laying off the changeup. Just a great at-bat. Maton, first-pitch changeup into right field. He's been hot for us. He's been playing really well for us.

“I just think our whole bench was really into it. As a team, we just keep fighting. I think you saw that fight down in Dunedin in that last game. We didn't give up. I think we'll do that all year. We have to as a team.”

The Phillies are working with a four-man bench for the foreseeable future. They only had three Tuesday because J.T. Realmuto could not play because of a bone bruise on his left wrist. Philadelphia has not had a full-strength lineup since May 9, when it had Realmuto, Hoskins, Segura, Didi Gregorius, Bohm, Andrew McCutchen, Herrera and Harper.

Nobody knows when the Phils will be at full strength again. Harper thinks they can manage.

“We have to have that next-man-up mentality,” he said. “Dombo [Dave Dombrowski] is going to do a great job for us. You guys know that. I'm excited to have Dombrowski heading our ship right now because he's going to make the moves that he needs to. He's going to get the guys that he needs to. When guys get hurt, other guys have to fill in -- just like Maton and somebody else. So I'm looking forward to it. Looking forward to seeing the young guys we do have and the guys really picking it up and playing the game we need to.”