Realmuto, Phillies rally past Alcantara, Marlins; 7th win in row

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA — J.T. Realmuto hit an RBI single that capped a three-run rally in the eighth inning off NL ERA leader Sandy Alcantara, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 4-3 Wednesday night for their seventh straight win.

Kyle Schwarber had three hits and drove in two runs as the Phillies won for the 12th time in 13 games. They are 41-19 since June 1, vaulting them into second place in the wild-card race.

“We feel like we’re in the game no matter what until the final out is recorded,” Schwarber said. “That’s a good pitcher out there. We showed we’re capable of doing things like that. We’re never out of a ballgame.”

JJ Bleday singled, doubled, tripled and drove in a run for Miami, which has lost nine of 11.

Alcantara (10-5), a leading candidate for the NL Cy Young Award, began the day with a 1.88 ERA. He had allowed only two hits and held a 3-1 lead before the Phillies tagged him for six hits in the eighth.

“It was a little shocking,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.

Jean Segura led off the inning with a swinging bunt that just stayed fair, not even reaching third base, for an infield hit. After Bryson Stott‘s solid single, Brandon Marsh twice pulled the bat back while attempting to bunt before driving an 0-2 pitch for an RBI single to pull Philadelphia within a run.

After a lengthy mound visit, Schwarber tied it by hitting the next pitch for an RBI single, putting runners on first and third with no outs.

With the crowd of 23,021 in an uproar, Rhys Hoskins hit a broken-bat liner that was caught by shortstop Miguel Rojas, who doubled off Marsh at third. Alec Bohm followed with a single as Schwarber barely beat the throw to third by right fielder Bryan De La Cruz.

Realmuto lined the next pitch for a tiebreaking single to left, finishing Alcantara.

“Exciting,” Realmuto said. “A lot of fun for us.”

Alcantara struck out four in 7 2-3 innings. He entered leading the NL in innings and complete games, and is trying to become the first player in the Marlins’ 30-year history to win the Cy Young. His ERA rose to 2.01.

The right-hander thinks he might have been tipping his pitches when the Phillies connected for those four straight hits in the eighth and said he plans to spend time watching video of that inning on Thursday.

“I don’t know what happened,” Alcantara said. “I was throwing strikes, my best pitches. They got me tonight.”

It’s why he was confused with the results, thinking he might have been giving a way a tell.

“I believe too much in my stuff, and I know what I got,” he said.

Seranthony Dominguez pitched a perfect ninth, striking out two, for his eighth save. Andrew Bellatti (3-3) got the victory despite giving up a run in the eighth.

Noah Syndergaard allowed two runs on six hits in six innings in his second start with the Phillies after being acquired from the Los Angeles Angels at the trade deadline last week. He struck out four and walked two.

“Definitely one to build on,” Syndergaard said.

Jacob Stallings‘ two-out single in the second gave Miami a 1-0 lead. The Marlins tacked on another in the fourth on Charles Leblanc‘s bloop single to short right field over the drawn-in Phillies infield after Bleday’s leadoff triple. Bleday’s double off the wall in right in the eighth made it 3-1.

Schwarber had an RBI double in the sixth.

BASERUNNING BLUNDER

After singling to start the game, Joey Wendle got doubled off at first base when he misread Miguel Rojas’ liner to the outfield and went all the way past second base and couldn’t get back to first in time after right fielder Nick Castellanos made a good running catch.

ON-BASE LEBLANC

Leblanc extended his on-base streak to start his career to 10 consecutive games with a second-inning single. He is batting .455 during the stretch.

UP NEXT

Phillies RHP Kyle Gibson (7-4, 4.36) opposes Marlins RHP Edward Cabrera (2-1, 2.61) in the finale of the three-game set on Thursday afternoon.

Biden praises Braves’ ‘unstoppable, joyful run’ to 2021 win

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
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WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden said the Atlanta Braves will be “forever known as the upset kings of October” for their improbable 2021 World Series win, as he welcomed the team to the White House for a victory celebration.

Biden called the Braves’ drive an “unstoppable, joyful run.” The team got its White House visit in with just over a week left before the 2022 regular season wraps up and the Major League Baseball playoffs begin again. The Braves trail the New York Mets by 1.5 games in the National League East but have clinched a wildcard spot for the MLB playoffs that begin Oct. 7. Chief Executive Officer Terry McGuirk said he hoped they’d be back to the White House again soon.

In August 2021, the Braves were a mess, playing barely at .500. But then they started winning. And they kept it up, taking the World Series in six games over the Houston Astros.

Biden called their performance of “history’s greatest turnarounds.”

“This team has literally been part of American history for over 150 years,” said Biden. “But none of it came easy … people counting you out. Heck, I know something about being counted out.”

Players lined up on risers behind Biden, grinning and waving to the crowd, but the player most discussed was one who hasn’t been on the team in nearly 50 years and who died last year: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

Hammerin’ Hank was the home run king for 33 years, dethroning Babe Ruth with a shot to left field on April 8, 1974. He was one of the most famous players for Atlanta and in baseball history, a clear-eyed chronicler of the hardships thrown his way – from the poverty and segregation of his Alabama youth to the racist threats he faced during his pursuit of one of America’s most hallowed records. He died in January at 86.

“This is team is defined by the courage of Hank Aaron,” Biden said.

McGuirk said Aaron, who held front office positions with the team and was one of Major League Baseball’s few Black executives, was watching over them.

“He’d have been there every step of the way with us if he was here,” McGuirk added.

The president often honors major league and some college sports champions with a White House ceremony, typically a nonpartisan affair in which the commander in chief pays tribute to the champs’ prowess, poses for photos and comes away with a team jersey.

Those visits were highly charged in the previous administration. Many athletes took issue with President Donald Trump’s policies and rhetoric on policing, immigration and more. Trump, for his part, didn’t take kindly to criticism from athletes or their on-field expressions of political opinions.

Under Biden, the tradition appears to be back. He’s hosted the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks and Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the White House. On Monday he joked about first lady Jill Biden’s Philadelphia allegiances.

“Like every Philly fan, she’s convinced she knows more about everything in sports than anybody else,” he said. He added that he couldn’t be too nice to the Atlanta team because it had just beaten the Phillies the previous night in extra innings.

Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was later questioned about the team’s name, particularly as other professional sports teams have moved away from names – like the Cleveland Indians, now the Guardians, and the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders – following years of complaints from Native American groups over the images and symbols.

She said it was important for the country to have the conversation. “And Native American and Indigenous voices – they should be at the center of this conversation,” she said.

Biden supported MLB’s decision to pull the 2021 All-Star Game from Atlanta to protest Georgia’s sweeping new voting law, which critics contend is too restrictive.