Sandy Alcantara was cruising against the Philadelphia Phillies, well on his way to what could have been his fourth complete game of the season — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished in MLB since 2017.
And then came the eighth inning.
The Phillies roughed up the Miami Marlins’ ace and front-runner for the National League Cy Young Award, scoring three runs on six hits in the frame to rally for a 4-3 win over the Marlins on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park. Miami falls to 49-61. Philadelphia improves to 62-48.
“I don’t know what happened there,” Alcantara said. “I was throwing strikes. I was throwing my best pitches. They got me.”
The damage against Alcantara came quick and often in that decisive frame.
Each of Philadelphia’s first four hitters reached base.
It began with Jean Segura dribbled a sinker down the third-base line that stayed fair for a leadoff infield single.
Bryson Stott hit a middle-middle sinker for a low line drive single into center field. The Marlins’ infield was shifted with three infielders on the right side of second base. Stott’s hit went just to the left of the bag.
Brandon Marsh then drove in the first run of the frame when he hit a changeup below the strikeout for an RBI groundball single up the middle after attempting — and failing — to drop down a sacrifice bunt on Alcantara’s first two pitches of the at-bat.
One pitch later, Kyle Schwarber hit a 97.7 mph four-seam fastball that clipped the top of the zone to right field for a game-tying RBI single.
Even at that, Alcantara had a chance to get out of the frame with the game tied. Rhys Hoskins then hit into a double play, with Miguel Rojas snatching his line drive and throwing to third base to double up Marsh and get Alcantara within one out of ending the inning.
But then Alec Bohm hit a middle-away four-seam fastball on a 2-0 count for a single to right to put runners on the corner and J.T. Realmuto put the Phillies ahead for good with a first-pitch single through the left side on a middle-away slider.
“They just started hitting it where we weren’t,” catcher Jacob Stallings said. “There were a couple executed pitches I thought they hit and maybe a couple not [executed pitches].”
Alcantara had basically cruised through the game prior to that. He needed just 45 pitches to get through five innings, allowing just an infield hit in the process. He lost his shutout bid in the sixth when Schwarber hit a one-out RBI double to score Stott, who walked to lead off the frame, but quickly got the final two outs of the sixth by striking out Hoskins on three pitches and getting Bohm to line out to right field. He then retired the side in the seventh on six pitches.
“The first seven innings,” Stallings said, “was as good as I’ve seen him all year.”
His fortunes on Wednesday ended there.
“It was a little shocking,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Everything really was pretty much smooth sailing all day. He was easy velo. Didn’t see anything forced. Cruising right through. The pitch count was in a good spot. All of a sudden, that little roller down the line and the floodgates open.”
Even with the rough inning, Alcantara still leads the National League with a 2.01 ERA while throwing an MLB-most 166 innings.
The Marlins scored their first two runs on a Stallings RBI single in the second and a Charles Leblanc RBI single in the fourth, with both hits driving in JJ Bleday.
Bleday then hit an RBI double in the eighth to score Billy Hamilton, who pinch-ran for Garrett Cooper. Wednesday was Bleday’s first career three-hit game.