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Zack Wheeler dominates Marlins as Phillies take Game 1

PHILADELPHIA — Hold your finger up, Nick.

Of course it’s the ring. Nick Castellanos had no intention of turning his moment at second base into a NSFW postseason moment.

The All-Star slugger momentarily confused the gesture as an obscene finger, but points his ring finger toward the jubilant Phillies dugout as the defending National League champions chase the World Series ring that was denied to Houston last year. I sent a message.

“That’s why we’re playing this month,” Castellanos said.

Zach Wheeler had a sensational performance with eight strikeouts, Jose Alvarado maintained the lead with a key strikeout, and Philadelphia defeated the Miami Marlins 4-1 in the National League Wild Card Series opener on Tuesday night. They won and began a determined push into the postseason.

“The moment I stepped out of the dugout to stretch out in the bullpen, the crowd was excited and I got chills,” Wheeler said.

On Tuesday night, Zack Wheeler shut out the Marlins in Game 1 of the Phillies.
Getty Images

Wheeler took immediate action and got the run support he needed to force the Marlins into the ropes.

Led by Kyle Schwarber’s 47 home runs, the Phillies had six players in their Game 1 lineup with at least 20 home runs. But Schwarboms and Alec Booms weren’t needed to get the job done, as every starter had at least one hit and was hitless. Home run.

Castellanos also had an RBI double in the eighth inning, scoring Bryce Harper (who knocked off his helmet while passing a stop sign), and the Phillies moved closer to victory in the National League District Series against Atlanta.

“Bryce does it all the time, and miraculously it’s often safe,” Castellanos said with a laugh.

Wheeler allowed one run in 6/3 innings.

Bryson Stott scored an RBI in Game 1 for the Phillies on Tuesday night.
Getty Images

Craig Kimbrel made a scoreless nine-inning save.

Phillies fans held up signs that read “Unfinished Business,” and they were absolutely thrilled when injured slugger Reece Hoskins threw out the ceremonial first pitch, fighting back tears.

So was Castellanos. He wore Hoskins’ number 17 on the side of his cap this season, paying homage to the first baseman who spiked his bat and hit a home run in the NLDS victory last season.

“Honestly, he represents Philadelphia more than any of the signees that came here after the fact,” Castellanos said.

Last season, the Phillies won 11 games in the postseason, two games away from their ultimate goal, and two games away from winning their first World Series since 2008. As with many World Series losers, the theme of unfinished business was a key element that permeated throughout the clubhouse for this game. season.

Bryce Harper reacts after scoring an RBI in Game 1 against the Marlins on Tuesday night.
AP

“We’ve got to bounce back from that this year. We’re a different team,” manager Rob Thomson said. “Honestly, I believe our team is better.”

they came again. This time around, star shortstop Trea Turner will play in a big game in October, and Wheeler is also in great shape.

Wheeler is on the short list of the greatest free agents in team history and brought the heat from the start. He threw nine fastballs in the first inning between 97 and 99 mph, the hardest pitches the pitcher had thrown all season, striking out 212 batters.

As the 45,662 fans at Citizens Bank Park cheered every K, the veteran right-hander didn’t back down.

Wheeler’s slider is troublesome. His sinker is dirty.

Wheeler is just grateful to have another postseason shot a year after taking a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning of Game 6 of the World Series against Houston. Yordan Alvarez hit a three-run homer off Alvarado late in the inning, and the Astros quickly clinched the World Series.

That was last season.

This time, Wheeler had a two-hit shutout until the seventh inning, but with two outs, he allowed consecutive infield hits and retired, but the second hit was Brian Delacruz’s only score for Miami.

Alvarado left two runners on and struck out pinch hitter Yuli Gurriel to maintain a 3-1 lead. The left-handed pitcher retired two batters in the eighth inning, and Jeff Hoffman scored his third run in the first inning.

The Marlins finished with seven hits.

“I think they know what’s at stake,” coach Skip Shoemaker said. “They know what tomorrow means. We’re going to do what we’ve always done.”

Marlins guard John Barty reacts after striking out in the eighth inning of Tuesday’s Game 1 loss to the Phillies.
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Wheeler only threw 46 pitches through the fourth inning, while Marlins starting pitcher Jesus Luzardo threw 90 pitches in the same period.

Luzardo, 26, grew up in South Florida rooting for Marlins stars like Juan Pierre and Miguel Cabrera.

Luzardo was 6 years old when he attended Game 3 of the 2003 World Series, which the Marlins won, and was thrilled when he was traded to Miami ahead of the 2021 season.

His first postseason start for the team he played with since childhood didn’t go as planned.

No. 9 batter Johan Rojas hit a leadoff single in his third at-bat, driving nine pitches to Luzardo. He scored on Alec Bohm’s RBI double to left field.

Luzardo allowed scoring singles to Bryson Stott and Cristian Pache in the third inning to make it 3-0.

“We have to keep doing this,” Harper said. “There’s no question about it.”

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