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Phillies take NLCS lead over Padres thanks to Jean Segura

PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Schwarber started off with his last scintillating home run, Jean Segura atoned for a scoring error with a single and the Philadelphia Phillies edged the San Diego Padres 4-2 on Friday night to take a 2-1 lead in the NL championship series.

Game 4 is on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies returned home to another sold-out crowd for the first NLCS game in the city since 2010 and are just two wins away from playing for their first World Series championship since 2008.

The Phillies can take comfort in outlasting the Padres without playing their best baseball. Outside of the Schwarber circuit — Schwarbombs as they’re affectionately known in Philadelphia — the big bats were pretty quiet. Segura and Rhys Hoskins also made costly mistakes that brought the game closer than it ever should have been.

Jean Segura celebrates after his two RBI single.
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Still, starter Ranger Suarez survived poor ground to claim the victory. He walked none and allowed just two hits and one earned run on 68 pitches in five tall innings. Zach Eflin and Jose Alvarado each threw scoreless innings and Seranthony Dominguez earned a six-out save as the Phillies head into a Game 4 that should largely be a bullpen game.

With one out and a runner in the ninth, Dominguez knocked out Jurickson Profar on a complete control swing that angered the outfielder. Profar cursed the home plate umpire, threw his helmet and kicked him as he left the field.

Padres playoff ace Joe Musgrove couldn’t make it out of the sixth inning and left the mound to Alec Bohm urging the crowd to get louder after his RBI double right in the sixth after a Juan Soto dive who made it 4-2.

Musgrove fought from the first batter.

Schwarber worked a full count, then crashed his second solo homer of the series in the right seats of the field. Schwarber, who led the National League with 46 homers, also had a jaw-dropping 488-foot solo drive in Game 1. Alas, this explosion only traveled 405 feet.

The Phillies looked set to pounce on Musgrove in the inning after Hoskins and JT Realmuto walked.

Kyle Schwarber hits a solo home run in the first inning.
Kyle Schwarber hits a solo home run in the first inning.
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Musgrove admitted this week that he was “beaten by the crowd” early in his playoff career. Phillies fans – another sold-out crowd of 45,279 went wild on every pitch – were foaming when Bryce Harper came knocking.

Harper, however, hit in a double play and Musgrove retired Nick Castellanos to a floor to escape further damage. Musgrove threw 22 no-out pitches and then needed just two pitches to get three out.

Musgrove threw another jam in the second when Bryson Stott, who scored a one-out double, was blocked in third.

Musgrove, 29, was the playoff ace for the Padres, the team he grew up on as a California kid. He threw one hit over seven innings in an NL Wild Card Series win over the Mets and followed that up with six solid innings to help beat the Dodgers in the NLCS.

Jean Segura celebrates after making a diving stop on the ground.
Jean Segura celebrates after making a diving stop on the ground.
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Suarez, meanwhile, had struggled lately and walked five times in 3 1/3 innings when he left Game 2 NLDS in Atlanta. But hey, that’s what makes baseball so great – it was Suarez who took down the Padres in quick succession.

The southpaw only threw six pitches in the third inning. Suarez, who went 10-7 this season, could have thrown deeper in the game, but manager Rob Thomson wants him fresh for another outing if the streak lasts long.

Suarez should have escaped the fourth unscathed, but Segura looked away from the ball at second base and dropped the throw for an error and a run scored in what should have been a 6-4-3 endgame double play . Suarez left two runners blocked to keep it 1-1.

Segura swung his bat and redeemed himself when he threw a two-run single to the right in the fourth for a 3-1 lead. He was quickly eliminated first. Later, he deprived Ha-Seong Kim of a hit.

Hoskins missed Trent Grisham’s routine ground throw to lead the fifth for a two-base error. Grisham scored an unearned run on Kim’s RBI ground that made it 3-2.

The Phillies bullpen took over from there and won a game over former World Series favorites from the past such as Charlie Manuel, Ryan Howard and Matt Stairs. Maybe this year’s team could be next.

New York Post

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