While the Phillies at times have looked lifeless, which is what constant losing will do to any team, Justin De Fratus provided a jolt of enthusiasm, not to mention some clutch pitching in Friday’s 9-5 win over the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks.
With the Phillies leading 6-4, Antonio Bastardo allowed consecutive singles to open the seventh inning.
De Fratus then came in and struck out Aaron Hill on three pitches. That was followed by a walk to all-star Paul Goldschmidt on a 12-pitch at-bat.
“I wasn’t going to let Paul Goldschmidt beat me – or beat us – tonight,” De Fratus said.
Still, he kept challenging Goldschmidt. And then with the bases loaded De Fratus struck out cleanup hitter Miguel Montero and Mark Trumbo to escape any damage.
De Fratus showed emotion, acting as if this game was for first place instead of one that kept the Phillies 12.5 out of the top spot in the N.L. East after division leader Washington also won.
“It was good,” De Fratus said. “To give the team a chance to win and keep the lead, that is really what I was excited about.”
De Fratus struck out Montero on four pitches and then had another of those battles with Trumbo.
After Trumbo swung and missed at the first pitch, he fouled off five consecutive pitches before De Fratus threw a ball.
The inning ended when Trumbo then swung and missed at a 93 MPH fastball.
“That was a game saving moment right there,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “…He showed the emotion. It was right for the moment and it was a big out.”
De Fratus had a 7.20 ERA in four April appearances before being sent down to Lehigh Valley. Since returning on May 26, his ERA is 1.98.
Friday was one of his most difficult scoreless innings, one in which he threw 27 pitches.
“I didn’t realize how many pitches I actually threw,” he said. “I was focused on making each pitch, one at a time, and at the end of it I looked up and it was like 27 pitches but I’ll take it if that’s what it takes to get out of it.”