Schwarber hits HR, Wheeler has 11 Ks as Phillies beat Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Kyle Schwarber broke out of a slump by hitting a two-run home run and reaching base in all five plate appearances, Zack Wheeler struck out 11 in 6 2/3 innings, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 on Friday night.
Schwarber’s blast, his 27th of the season, came off All-Star Mitch Keller in the third inning and carried into the Phillies’ bullpen in center field. Brandon Marsh walked to lead off the inning before Schwarber unloaded with one out.
Schwarber, 1 for 22 in his previous seven games, also doubled and walked three times. Bryson Stott had two hits for Philadelphia.
Normally the Phillies’ left fielder, Schwarber has been the designated hitter in the last four games. He believes having a break from playing in the field for a few days has helped.
“My body has actually felt really good this last month and being able to have these last four days where you’re not out there and you’re just worried about swinging around the bases and staying loose, obviously it’s nice and gives you a little breather,” Schwarber said. “It’s been nice to have that.”
Wheeler (8-5) gave up one run and three hits while walking one after being winless in his previous three starts. He was removed from the game following a 42-minute rain delay in the seventh inning.
Wheeler has been working on altering the leg kick in his delivery. He felt that played a role in his strong outing.
“It’s kind of doing it’s thing,” Wheeler said of the adjustment. “Tweaked that and the results have been there. Hopefully we can keep that going.”
Pirates manager Derek Shelton had high praise for Wheeler, who improved to 4-0 in his career against Pittsburgh.
“That may have been as good as we’ve seen this year on the mound,” Shelton said. “He was in control. Executing all his pitches. Velocity was up. Fastball to all quadrants.”
Craig Kimbrel worked around a two-out walk in a scoreless ninth for his 17th save as the Phillies won for the fourth time in five games.
Keller (9-7) has lost all three starts since pitching in the All-Star Game on July 11 in Seattle. He lasted 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs and six hits with eight strikeouts and three walks.
“Pitcher’s duels are always fun,” Keller said. “It’s a quick game and you’re ready to go and you need to be out there and throw up zeros. Every pitch is intense and every time there’s a runner on base, it’s elevated a little bit more to get out of it because you know the guy on the other side is not letting too much go on.”
Ji Man Choi hit a run-scoring double in the fourth to draw the Pirates to 2-1. Pittsburgh had runners on second and third with one out, but Wheeler escaped further trouble.
The Pirates have alternated wins and losses in their last eight games.
The PNC Park grounds crew had major trouble getting the infield covered during the delay.
It was unable to get the tarp completely unfurled and the first base line was left uncovered. After the rain stopped, workers were forced to apply a drying agent to the uncovered area, significantly lengthening the delay.
Major League Baseball reduced the suspension of Pirates left-handed reliever Angel Perdomo by a game to two games Friday and he will be eligible to pitch Saturday.
Perdomo was ejected from Tuesday’s game when he hit San Diego’s Manny Machado in the back with a pitch immediately after giving up a home run to Juan Soto. MLB suspended Perdomo the next day.
The Pirates recalled OF Josh Palacios from Triple-A Indianapolis. He takes the roster spot of 1B Carlos Santana, who was traded to Milwaukee on Thursday.
Pirates: 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes (lower back inflammation) had a full workout for a second straight day Friday. He began a rehab assignment at Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday but has been unable to play since then. ... INF/OF Ji Hwan Bae (left ankle sprain) is expected to begin a rehab assignment early next week with Indianapolis. ... It has yet to be determined if INF Tucupita Marcano (right knee ligament) will need surgery after he was placed on the 60-day IL on Tuesday. ... SS Oneil Cruz (fractured left ankle), who has been out since April 10, has progressed to hitting underhand tosses but there is no timetable for his return.
Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (9-6, 4.25 ERA) faces rookie RHP Quinn Priester (1-1, 9.28) on Saturday night.
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