Staring at a fourth straight loss down to the Finals Four, the Phyllis She was saved by another clutch, a late bombshell from Bryson Stott on Monday night.
The novice took difficulty brave a J. Left-handed Minter in the rear to bring home the contender’s double and three runs down the eighth to send Velez to a 6-4 victory.
This was only the second time Homer has allowed Minter to strike a left-handed man in his six-year career in the league.
It was the second time Stott had played three rounds of the season with Velez trailing in the eighth inning or beyond.
He’s developed a knack for these big moments with the ability to stay in control under pressure.
“I feel like my biggest help is just to breathe and calm down and not let it get too big,” Stott said. “Just staying with the same whole style of play.
“It’s huge after losing three to the Cubs. We’ll come back today and pull that goal. I hope that gives us some momentum to go on.”
Stott led the way in five of Velez’s six runs, all by two. He hit a second-half double on a smooth chopper to first base who took an unorthodox jump and slipped Matt Olson.
Stott, who hit .196 on the season with a 0.600 OPS, has been better than his numbers suggest, especially since returning from Triple A in mid-May. Since June 1, he’s made .234/.312/.382 with six pairs, seven Homer and 24 RBI in 157 board appearances. Not a massive production, but he came in on some big points and these are the numbers you’d take from a rookie midfielder.
Stott presses to keep playing regularly even when a pitch crisis arises after the second baseman Jean Segura yields, Which may be July 31 When a Segura is first eligible. At this point, the Velez will have to make a decision. Do they play stoot on shortstop and on the bench Didi Gregory?
It’s something Phils has to figure out, but it’s not as if veteran Gregorius has outgrown him.
“Stutter was good all night,” said Rob Thompson, Stutter’s coach. “Seeing a lot of pitches, he’s clinging to the left hand, he sees the ball really well now and gives us good strokes.
“I see him as that kind of guy. He’ll watch a lot of pitches, he’ll walk, he’ll settle into the base, he’ll get his hits too and have some pop.”
This was an important comeback for the Phils, who have lost three in a row and seven out of 10 and had lost fewer than four games in 10 of their last 12 games.
The Phillies are aged 50-46 and have had a half-game over the unemployed Cardinals. They track St. Louis by half a game to finish last in the National League.
Alec Boom Rally started Round 8 with a single, his third hit of the night. Bohm hit .411 over his last 20 games to bring his season hitting average to 0.287.
“He’s been in tears recently,” Thompson said. “He sticks his head out, he shoots a lot of balls, he swings on good pitches.”
The Braves have been MLB’s hottest team since June 1, going 35-13. This was the first of five meetings between the two teams over the next nine days.
“I think it’s a huge college win,” Thompson said. “Just because the way we started the second half, the way we started this match tonight, and we fought back against a really good marksman (Max Fried). I just kept fighting and grinding and I got it done.”
Velez will be looking forward to winning the series on Tuesday night behind him Aaron NolaSpencer Strider, who opposes the Braves Strike Machine. The 23-year-old rookie has hit 77 hitters in 50 runs since joining the Atlanta tournament at the end of May.
Meanwhile, Velez is only 17-20 this season in matches started by Nola and Zach Wheelera baffling two-year trend they must overcome to end a decade-long post-season drought.