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Phillies explode in 9th inning to avenge Friday’s late loss at Coors

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Phillies explode in 9th inning to avenge Friday’s late loss at Coors originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

DENVER — When Trea Turner went down with a hamstring injury on May 3, who expected the Phillies‘ production at shortstop to increase?

Edmundo Sosa has been a huge reason why the Phils are 17-4 since the day of Turner’s injury and was the catalyst again Saturday night in a ninth-inning comeback win.

Sosa tripled in Brandon Marsh with nobody out in the top of the ninth to tie the game and scored on a Garrett Stubbs single. The Phillies didn’t stop there, scoring four more times on a Bryce Harper three-run homer and Nick Castellanos RBI single. They won 8-4 after trailing nearly all night.

“It’s really a lot of fun to be playing the game that I love and to be helping the team win,” Sosa said.

“When Trea’s injury happened, that was something we were not expecting and it caught the club by surprise. But I was focused, preparing myself every day and when this opportunity comes, I have to seize it. Trea’s hurt now and we all know that he’s working hard to make a comeback. I’ll just keep working hard and doing the right things, whatever it takes to win.”

Harper drove in four runs a game after being ejected in the first inning for arguing balls and strikes. This is the way he seems to respond the night after any minor tiff or controversy.

Stubbs had a productive game with two hits, a stolen base, run scored and the game-winning RBI.

“Pretty cool to be able to just come up in an opportunity like that and take advantage of it, then just watch everybody else kinda pile on,” the backup catcher said.

“The opportunities are slim, for sure. It makes hitting tough, it’s all about rhythm up there. I work with (hitting coach) K-Long every single day to make sure I’m prepared for spots like that. tell Kevin to try to get me out, and he’s got pretty good stuff.”

Sosa has done major damage this month. Turner was hitting .343 when he hit the shelf. Sosa has hit .367 in 16 games since, with four doubles, three triples, two home runs, 11 RBI and 15 runs scored. He also barely missed a home run to dead-center in the second inning, flying out 415 feet to the wall.

Sosa has slugged .688 since the Turner injury to lead the National League over that three-week span.

The Phillies avoided their first series loss since the second of the season. They still have not dropped back-to-back games since April 23-24 in Cincinnati, going 23-5.

The win went to Jose Ruiz, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning a night after pitching a scoreless 10th.

Aaron Nola labored, especially early, and allowed single runs in the first three innings before rebounding for a quality start.

Nola began the night with two quick outs, then lost command, walked two in a row and gave up an RBI single to Brendan Rodgers. It was a 32-pitch first inning. The Phillies then went down 1-2-3 on just six pitches, forcing Nola back out to the mound after a cool-off of only five minutes.

Brenton Doyle greeted Nola with a dribbler up the third-base line to begin the bottom of the second, stole second and scored on a groundout. The Rockies led from that point until Sosa’s triple in the ninth.

Nola was approaching 80 pitches in the fourth inning but recovered to get through six. The line itself looked great for Coors Field — six innings, two earned runs — which speaks to the stinginess of this MLB-leading rotation even on an off night.

It was yet another example where a Phillies starting pitcher limited damage and kept the game close until the offense finally broke through.

The Phils are 38-15 and look to win their 12th series out of 15 on Sunday afternoon when undefeated Ranger Suarez (9-0, 1.36) takes on right-hander Cal Quantrill (3-3, 3.59).