Vierling’s RBI single in 10th lifts Phillies past Blue Jays

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Matt Vierling had five hits, including the game-winning RBI single in the 10th, to rally the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays on Wednesday night.

J.T. Realmuto homered as Philadelphia snapped a five-game losing streak to stay 2 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the final NL wild-card spot.

“It doesn’t get much better than that,” Vierling said. “Definitely needed it. We grinded all night.”

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. hit a three-run homer for the Blue Jays, who lead the AL wild-card standings.

Bryson Stott led off the 10th with a sacrifice bunt to move pinch-runner Yairo Munoz to third. Adam Cimber (10-6) then hit Jean Segura before walking Dalton Guthrie on four pitches to load the bases.

Vierling hit a 1-1 chopper up the middle past the five Blue Jays on the infield, then raised his right fist high in the air as he ran to first before being mobbed by his teammates between first and second. The celebration got so rowdy that one of his teammates ripped Vierling’s shirt off his body.

“It got ripped,” Vierling said. “Three buttons fell off. Hopefully, they’ll give me another one.”

The Blue Jays loaded the bases with one out in the top of the 10th against Andrew Bellatti (4-3). But Teoscar Hernandez lined out sharply to second baseman Segura, who stepped on second to double off Bradley Zimmer.

A night after combining for 29 runs in a game in which the Blue Jays recorded 21 hits – including 10 for extra bases – in an 18-11 win, this game was scoreless through seven innings. After Whit Merrifield led off the eighth with a single, shortstop Stott committed a pivotal throwing error on George Springer‘s routine grounder. Guerrero made the Phillies pay by driving Seranthony Dominguez’s 1-0, 99-mph sinker into the seats in left for his 30th homer to extend his hitting streak to 14 consecutive games.

Realmuto led off the eighth with a solo shot to left off Yimi Garcia, Philadelphia got within a run on Guthrie’s two-out RBI single to right and Kyle Schwarber tied it with a single to right off Jordan Romano.

Blue Jays starter Kevin Gausman gave up five hits while striking out eight and walking two in six innings.

“It’s unfortunate the way we lost, but we’ll just continue to play good baseball,” Gausman said. “It’s gonna happen. That’s baseball. Thai time of year, you don’t want to dwell on anything. On to the next game.”

Phillies starter Zack Wheeler was lifted after four innings in his first outing since Aug. 20 due to right forearm tendinitis. The 2021 NL Cy Young runner-up looked like his old self, giving up two hits, striking out three and walking none while throwing 58 pitches.

“I felt good, felt strong, felt healthy,” Wheeler said.

Noah Syndergaard, acquired by the at the trade deadline, came on for Wheeler and gave up three hits in two innings in his second relief appearance in his 145th career game.

STREAKING JAY

Guerrero is batting .306 with three homers and seven RBIs during his hitting streak.

STRUGGLING PHILLIE

Bryce Harper has struggled since returning on Aug. 26 from a two-month absence due to a broken left thumb and is now batting .220 with two homers and 10 RBIs since his comeback after going 0 for 5 with a pair of strikeouts.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: Cavan Biggio replaced 2B Santiago Espinal in the seventh after Espinal experienced left side discomfort.

Phillies: OF Brandon Marsh was not in the lineup a night after suffering a left knee contusion while crashing into the wall in left-center.

UP NEXT

Blue Jays: Open four-game set at Tampa Bay on Thursday. RHP Jose Berrios (11-5, 4.99) starts for Toronto. The Rays haven’t announced their starter.

Phillies: Begin four-game home series against Atlanta on Thursday, with LHP Ranger Suarez (9-5, 3.53) set to face Braves LHP Max Fried (13-6, 2.52).

Yankees star Judge hits 62nd homer to break Maris’ AL record

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers - Game Two
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ARLINGTON, Texas – Aaron Judge hit his 62nd home run of the season Tuesday night, breaking Roger Maris’ American League record and setting what some fans consider baseball’s “clean” standard.

The 30-year-old Yankees slugger drove a 1-1 slider from Texas right-hander Jesus Tinoco into the first couple of rows of seats in left field when leading off the second game of New York’s day-night doubleheader.

Maris’ 61 for the Yankees in 1961 had been exceeded six times previously, but all were tainted by the stench of steroids. Mark McGwire hit 70 for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1998 and 65 the following year. Barry Bonds hit an MLB-record 73 for the San Francisco Giants in 2001, and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa had 66, 65 and 63 during a four-season span starting in 1998.

McGwire admitted using banned steroids, while Bonds and Sosa denied knowingly using performing-enhancing drugs. Major League Baseball started testing with penalties for PEDs in 2004, and some fans – perhaps many – until now have considered Maris as holder of the legitimate record.

A Ruthian figure with a smile as outsized as his body, the 6-foot-7 Judge has rocked the major leagues with a series of deep drives that hearken to the sepia tone movie reels of his legendary pinstriped predecessors.

“He should be revered for being the actual single-season home run champ,” Roger Maris Jr. said Wednesday night after his father’s mark was matched by Judge. “I think baseball needs to look at the records and I think baseball should do something.”

Judge had homered only once in the past 13 games, and that was when he hit No. 61 last Wednesday in Toronto. The doubleheader nightcap in Texas was his 55th game in row played since Aug. 5.

After a single in five at-bats in the first game Tuesday, Judge was 3 for 17 with five walks and a hit by pitch since moving past the 60 home runs Babe Ruth hit in 1927, which had stood as the major league record for 34 years. Maris hit his 61st off Boston’s Tracy Stallard at old Yankee Stadium on Oct. 1, 1961.

Judge has a chance to become the first AL Triple Crown winner since Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera in 2012. He leads the AL with 131 RBIs and began the day trailing Minnesota’s Luis Arraez, who was hitting .315.

The home run in his first at-bat put him back to .311, where he had started the day before dropping a point in the opener.

Judge’s accomplishment will cause endless debate.

“To me, the holder of the record for home runs in a season is Roger Maris,” author George Will said earlier this month. “There’s no hint of suspicion that we’re seeing better baseball than better chemistry in the case of Judge. He’s clean. He’s not doing something that forces other players to jeopardize their health.”