They celebrated the "old-timers" who won a World Series title to end Philadelphia's 25-year championship drought a decade ago Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, but it was a newcomer who truly thrilled the crowd of 42,343. After the Phillies let a 3-0 lead slip away in the top of the seventh inning, recently acquired infielder Asdubral Cabrera stepped to the plate in the bottom of the eighth and slammed a second-deck two-run home run to give the Phillies a 5-3 victory and a four-game sweep of the lowly Miami Marlins.
It was Cabrera's second home run in eight games with the Phillies and his 20th of the season. Now it's on to Arizona for the start of a six-game West Coast trip that will conclude Sunday in San Diego.
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The Phillies were on the verge of falling into second place Thursday night. Their offense was missing again, the Atlanta Braves had won in New York and now the Phillies were down to their last three outs against the lowly Miami Marlins. And then Rhys Hoskins drew a leadoff walk to start a four-run rally that ended with a walk-off home run from the white-hot Maikel Franco.
Equally as interesting were the words that came from Hoskins in the clubhouse afterward.
"That's the biggest hit of the season, I think," he said of Franco's first career walk-off home run. "It keeps us in first place. I think it's going to give us some momentum for the rest of the series. I think if you're able to do that to an opposing team in the first game, it kind of deflates them. Mikey's at-bats have been really fun to watch. He's hit the ball in the air a lot more and he has the talent to carry a team the way he has the last few months."
In one paragraph, he had pumped up a teammate and challenged the rest of the team to kick the Marlins when they were down. The Phillies finished their four-game sweep of the Marlins Sunday and their lead in the N.L. East is now 1½ games over the second-place Braves and six over the talented Washington Nationals.
"Rhys is nothing if not confident and aware," manager Gabe Kapler said. "He understands exactly what's happening around him. He knows that he's inspiring his teammates and no comment is made off the cuff. He's smart, he's strategic and he understands how to motivate."
Hoskins said he was just confident that the Phillies could pull off the sweep.
"With the belief that we have in this team and the belief we have in each other, the four-game sweep was not out of the question at all," he said. "They're tough. It's hard to beat any team three times in a row, let alone four. But kind of like the rest of the year has gone, we got some good pitching, timely hitting by a lot of different people throughout the series and it was just kind of a complete team series. It was fun to watch."
If you want to read a cool, heart-warming story, then check out Matt Breen's real-life fairy tale about how Carlos Santana promised a 13-year-old Harrisburg boy with leukemia that he'd hit him a home run Saturday night and then the Phillies' first baseman did it.
Who thinks the 2018 Phillies can do what the 2008 team did a decade ago? Apparently many of the 2008 Phillies believe that exact thing. Columnist David Murphy says you have to squint awfully hard to make that comparison, but concedes the present-day Phils at least have a shot at doing something special.
After seven years of hearing boos during his career with the Washington Nationals, Jayson Werth slipped on a Phillies jersey again Sunday and joined his former teammates for the 10-year reunion of the 2008 World Series championship. The crowd showed its love again and I believe he should one day be honored as a Phillies Wall of Famer.
In case you missed it, there's a fun oral history of the 2008 Phillies' crazy three-day long Game 5 clincher that Scott Lauber and I put together ahead of the weekend celebration at Citizens Bank Park.
Here's a list of some other great Phillies stuff we provided over the weekend:
Shane Victorino's emotional retirement ceremony was Friday night.
Roy Halladay and Pat Gillick were added to the Wall of Fame Saturday night.
Our columnist Bob Ford questioned whether the Phillies' front office was all in at the trade deadline.
Tonight: Jake Arrieta pitches opener in Arizona vs. Zack Godley, 9:40 p.m.
Tommorow: Nick Pivetta vs. white-hot Zack Greinke, 9:40 p.m.
Wednesday: Vince Velasquez closes out D-backs series vs. Patrick Corbin, 3:40 p.m.
Thursday: A baseball beat man's dream: Off day in San Diego
Friday: Zach Eflin pitches opener of Padres series, 10:10 p.m.
With their win Sunday against Miami, the Phillies now have a winning record against every division they have played against this season. They are 22-21 against the N.L. East, 18-12 vs. the N.L. Central, 13-10 against the N.L. West and 10-5 against the A.L. East. Since the advent of interleague play in 1997, the Phillies have only had a winning record against every division they have played three times: 2003, 2010 and 2011.
Enjoy your newsletter all the time! I have been a longtime Phillies fan. Have they ever had a player designated as Team Captain? Rhys Hoskins certainly appears to be one!
Thanks. — Mark from Toms River, via email
Answer: Thanks for reading, Mark. It's a well-known fact that Toms River is one of the best baseball towns in N.J. As for your question, to my knowledge they have never had an official team captain like the Yankees did with Derek Jeter and the Red Sox with Jason Varitek.
That said, Darren Daulton did not need a 'C' on the front of his jersey in order for everyone inside and outside the clubhouse to know he was the captain of the Phillies in the early 1990s. "He was the captain of our chaos," Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams said when Daulton died last year on this date at the age of 55.