Zack Wheeler rewards Joe Girardi’s faith in shutout gem

PHILADELPHIA — Zack Wheeler was one out away from his first shutout in seven years when Phillies supervisor Joe Girardi made a visit to the mound for a fast query.

Can you get this batter?

With two runners on base, Wheeler was emphatic — he may and he did.

Wheeler retired Daniel Vogelbach on a foul pop on his 118th pitch to complete the three-hit shutout, main Philadelphia to a 2-0 win and four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

“We were both very adamant we were going to finish that game,” catcher Andrew Knapp mentioned.

Wheeler, Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin lead a rotation which have the Phillies in first place (17-15) and because the solely group in the NL East with a successful document. The Phillies head out on a nine-game street journey towards Atlanta, Washington and Toronto that would outline simply how critical they’re about contending for his or her first playoff berth since 2011.

“This is a big point in our season,” Girardi mentioned.

Wheeler struck out eight in throwing his second profession shutout and full sport in 144 begins, and first since 2014 when he performed for the New York Mets.

Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler

Alex Bohm homered for the Phillies and Rhys Hoskins added an RBI double in the eighth.

“We have great pitching. we’ve got a deep lineup. But I think one thing that stands out to me is how we fight,” Bohm mentioned.

Wheeler (3-2) and Brandon Woodruff engaged in a superb pitchers’ duel that ended when Bohm related on a 97 mph fastball in the seventh for his fourth homer of the season.

Woodruff (2-1) struck out 10 over the primary 5 innings — 11 complete over 6 2-3 innings — and allowed solely Odubel Herrera’s single in the second till Bohm went deep.

Wheeler matched him pitch-for-pitch, giving up simply Billy McKinney’s leadoff double in the third till Lorenzo Cain’s one-out single in the ninth. McKinney was promptly erased when Luke Maile lined right into a double play. Wheeler confronted the minimal by means of eight.

“He was just on. He was hitting his spots and able to get a lot of quick outs,” Woodruff mentioned. “A guy like that, that’s what he does. He was on his game and he was tough today.”

In a 12 months of vanishing offense, Woodruff and Wheeler added to MLB hitters’ woes. The total batting common was .233 coming into Thursday and pitchers have already tossed three no-hitters – together with Baltimore’s John Means towards Seattle a day earlier.

Wheeler bought some defensive assist in the fifth when catcher Andrew Knapp made a sliding catch close to the visiting dugout to retire Travis Shaw on a foul out. Brewers proper fielder Tyrone Taylor got here proper again in the underside of the inning and chased down Herrera’s tailing flyball.

Neither efficiency on one other windy day in Philly was a complete shock: Woodruff had just one earned run in 18 profession innings towards the Phillies and Wheeler had 2.90 ERA in 5 profession begins towards the Brewers.

Woodruff was economical in his excellence and threw solely 74 pitches over the primary six innings. He threw 73 strikes out of 103 pitches complete and walked two earlier than he was pulled for Angel Perdomo.

“Games like that, they need to be good enough for us to win. And we ran into his counterpart doing the same,” Brewers supervisor Craig Counsell mentioned.

Both pitchers have been completely dealing towards lineups with out the opposite’s high slugger: Bryce Harper didn’t begin for Philadelphia for the fourth straight sport due to a sore left wrist and Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich went on the injured listing this week with a again damage.

The Phillies performed seven straight one-run video games (4-3) and gave the bullpen a wanted time without work headed into a protracted street journey.

“Any time you can save arms out there, save pitches, it’s a long season. That adds up,” Wheeler mentioned. “It’s another off day for them, so that’s good.”

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