The Philadelphia Phillies dramatically won their home opener on Jean Segura's game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth inning. The 3-2 victory marked the team's first walk-off home-opening win since 2011!
The walk-off fireworks capped off a stellar afternoon for the Fightin' Phills. A total team effort was on display, and the fans were treated to one of the best home openers in years. While the bats did just enough to win the game, the team's pitching thoroughly dominated the contest.
Team ace Aaron Nola was dealing early and often, as he set down the Braves in order in the top of the first inning. Meanwhile, the team could muster up a run in the bottom half of the first as they played a little small ball. Centerfielder Andrew McCutchen singled to start the frame. After moving to second on a walk to Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Second-year third baseman Alec Bohm then hit a sacrifice fly for the game's first run.
Although Nola gave up hits in each of the next two innings, he quickly silenced the Braves bats, keeping them scoreless. Meanwhile, the Phillies added another run in the bottom of the third on a J.T. Realmuto RBI single. That run put the Phillies up 2-0 heading into the middle innings. Likewise, Nola continued his dominance as he headed into the seventh inning with a shutout.
However, Nola would soon run out of gas at the top of the seventh. He quickly retired the first two batters of the inning. But then he served up a double to Christian Pache. As the Braves called upon Pablo Sandoval as a pinch hitter, all eyes were on Aaron, and even the commentators were expecting him to pitch around the Panda. However, Nola went right after him, and unfortunately, Sandoval would make him pay, as he sent a 1-1 pitch into the seats in right field to tie the game at 2.
Aaron Nola's day was finished, and the team looked to the bullpen. Well, do we have to rehash how scary this scenario could have been? The Phillies 2020 bullpen was historically inept. How would the 2021 version come out in game one? Well, let's say that they aced it! The stat line between Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, Hector Neris, and Connor Brogdon read as follows: 3.1 Innings IP, 0R, 0ER, 1H, 4K, 2BB. That's pretty much perfect, folks.
So the hitting was timely, and the pitching was outstanding, so how did the defense stack up in this game? It would be hard-pressed to upstage those other two units, but that's exactly what happened in the latter stages of this game. Segura's two-out hit may have won the game, but that hit may never have occurred if not for the elite defensive effort towards the end of the game.
Check out Alec Bohm's run-saving play in the sixth inning on a bullet by Marcel Ozuna.
Then, at the top of the ninth, the Phillies shortstop would join the party, as Didi Gregorius did his best impersonation of a wide receiver, making an acrobatic over-the-shoulder grab on an Ozzie Albies short fly ball to center field with two outs.
Then, one of the plays of the game happens at the top of the tenth. With Ozzie Albies on third and one out, Ozuna hits a shot to center field. Roman Quinn catches the ball in stride and heaves it towards home plate as Albies tags and takes off running. As Albies slides into the base, Realmuto is just able to apply the tag and get him out, which sets the stage for Segura's heroics.
It was an awesome overall game for the Fightins. You will generally have success when you can shine in all three elements of the game, and that's exactly what the Phillies did. And what Jean Segura was able to do was the icing on the cake. As mentioned, it was a total team effort that can go a long way in establishing confidence not only for the roster but also for us, the fans.
Next up is an afternoon contest for the Phils against the Braves on Saturday. The Phillies move to 1-0 and carry their perfect record into the weekend matchup with Atlanta. Zack Wheeler will get his first start of the year. Great win Phillies Nation!!! 1-0 Baby!