You can never really call a game in late-April a must-win, but the Phillies 5-3 victory over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday was the most impressive win of the Gabe Kapler era.
The offense tagged former Cy Young Award winner Zach Greinke for five runs over six innings while Jake Arrieta was masterful, yielding one earned run over seven frames. The Phillies relied on timely hitting and overcame several defensive blunders to beat the best team right now in the National League.
It's a signature win. A character builder.
"I feel like we're always in every game and I always feel like we can win every game," Aaron Altherr said afterward (see video). "It's a matter of grinding out at-bats and sticking with the plan."
Altherr delivered the biggest hit of the night, depositing a 2-1 slider into the shrubs over the center field fence for a three-run in the sixth to give the Phillies a lead and ultimately the win.
"I was looking for something offspeed out over the plate and just wanted to put a good swing on it," Altherr said.
The inning opened with Carlos Santana slamming a double to right field and Odubel Herrera following with a walk. It's exactly the sort of production Kapler wants to see from his lineup. Chipping away and manufacturing runs.
"We talked about how important big innings are for us to win baseball games," Kapler said. "To do it against a guy like Zach Greinke is especially impressive because that guy is still an animal out there."
Aside from Altherr, the night belonged to Arrieta who allowed three runs (though only one was earned) over seven innings. He scattered four hits and struck out a pair while tossing 107 pitches.
"It was a grind," Arrieta said. "Especially I believe the fourth inning with a bases-loaded walk - that's never fun, but I didn't really get a consistent feel for my breaking ball or my cutter or changeup throughout the game, but what I was able to do was mix it in and keep them off balance. I was able to do a good enough job of that."
Did You Notice
Carlos Santana collected two singles to raise his average to .171 on the season. He's also now scored a run in five of the last six contests.
The Phillies committed three errors in the contest, pushing their total on the year 22 - the highest mark in the majors shared by the Yankees and Brewers. The Phillies .975 fielding percentage is the second worst in all of baseball.
Ben Lively looks to build on his previous start having tossed six innings against the Pirates on Friday while surrendering one run in a no-decision. The Diamondbacks counter with right-hander Matt Koch.
Thursday's series finale will be broadcast live on Facebook and will not be seen on television.
Thursday's Starting Lineup
1. Cesar Hernandez 4
2. Carlos Santana 3
3. Odubel Herrera 8
4. Rhys Hoskins 7
5. Aaron Altherr 9
6. Andrew Knapp 2
7. Maikel Franco 5
8. Ben Lively 1
9. J.P. Crawford 6
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR
BY PATRICK GORDON
This post first appeared on Phillies News, Rumors And Analysis - Philadelphia Baseball Review, please read the originial post: here