PHILADELPHIA – Bryson Stott and the Phillies play coy when asked exactly what they’ve learned through the years that turns Miami’s Sandy Alcantara from ace to — especially in his latest start — awful against the NL champs.
“I think it’s just staying focused and trying to get the right pitch against him,” Stott said.
Whatever the methodology, the Phillies are to blame for one of the worst outings of Alcantara’s 133 career starts.
Alec Bohm homered and tied a career high with six RBIs and the Philadelphia Phillies tagged the 2022 NL Cy Young Award winner for nine runs in a 15-3 win over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.
Brandon Marsh and Jake Cave added solo homers, and the Phillies pounded out 20 hits.
Alcantara (1-1) had pitched a 1-hour, 57-minute shutout in his last start against Minnesota, then struggled to get anyone out in Philadelphia.
Alcantara scuffled with a 1-3 record, 3.16 ERA last season against the Phillies, and it seems as if the NL champs have figured something out against the Marlins’ ace.
“Maybe we just see him better than other teams,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said.
The Phillies have won eight of their last 10 games against the Marlins when Alcantara starts. Alcantara has lost seven times to the Phillies since the start of the 2021 season.
“Something happened quick out there,” Alcantara said. “They know I throw a lot of strikes. Maybe they said this guy throws too many strikes, let’s swing the bat. They make a lot of hard contact, soft contact. It’s part of the game.”
The Phillies pounded him for five runs in the third inning and four more in the fifth -- whopping totals considering Alcantara did not allow more than six runs in a game in 32 starts last season.
Cave, claimed off waivers in December, rocked a solo homer off the second-deck facade in right to lead off the fourth for a 1-0 lead. Alcantara retired the next two batters.
Then the bats got hot. The Phillies have been searching for power with injured sluggers Bryce Harper, Rhys Hoskins and Darick Hall sidelined for parts or all of this season. Without them, the Phillies hit just seven homers in the first nine games.
Against Alcantara, they didn’t really need the 400-footers.
Stott singled, stole second and scored on Trea Turner’s single. Turner stole second, Kyle Schwarber walked and Nick Castellanos banged an RBI double to left for a 3-0 lead. Alec Bohm added a two-RBI single for a 5-0 lead and Brandon Marsh doubled, making it six straight Phillies to reach base with two outs against Alcantara.
Small ball style.
Castellanos and Bohm added run-scoring singles in the fifth and they each scored on Marsh’s double off reliever Devin Smeltzer. That closed the book on Alcantara. His nine runs allowed in four-plus innings were the most in a start by a reigning Cy Young Award winner since Detroit’s Max Scherzer gave up 10 against Kansas City in 2014. Perhaps Alcantara can take solace in the face that Scherzer won 18 games that season.
Matt Strahm (1-0) struck out six in five scoreless innings for the win.
Bohm added a three-run shot in the sixth, Marsh went deep in the eighth and the Phillies cruised to their third win in four games.
TAKE A LICKING
Smeltzer took one for the team. He allowed six runs and five hits in four innings meaning, yes, the Marlins only used two pitchers in a game in which they allowed 15 runs.
Hitting .429 to start the season, Thomson shifted second baseman Stott to the leadoff spot. Turner was bumped to second and Schwarber hit third. Stott singled in the third and extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Thomson didn’t say if the move was permanent.
“I’ve always thought he kind of fits the mold of a leadoff guy,” Thomson said. “He sees a lot of pitches. He knows the strike zone. He sees the field, he can hit, gets on base.”
Castellanos was tossed in the seventh by plate umpire John Libka over a disagreement on a called third strike. Castellanos thought the pitch was inside and pointed his bat at the dirt, prompting the ejection.
The Phillies presented an NL championship ring to former second baseman Jean Segura. Segura, who batted seventh and played third base for the Marlins, spent four years with the Phillies and won Game 1 of the NL wild-card series with a two-run, single in the ninth inning against St. Louis.
Segura had played 1,328 career games before making his postseason debut.
“Jean was the guy that wanted to play every day,” Thomson said. “He played hard. He cared a great deal about winning. That’s all he wanted to do was win and he finally got a taste of it last year.”
The Marlins send LHP Jesus Luzardo (1-0, 0.71 ERA) to the mound against Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (0-1, 7.45 ERA).