Zack Wheeler wins duel, Phillies slam Brewers in series opener

Bryce Harper Phillies
Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Bryce Harper (3) is greeted by shortstop Jean Segura (2) after hitting a 2-run home run against the Milwaukee Brewers in the first inning at American Family Field.
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

That’s one way for the Phillies to put a series loss against the Miami Marlins behind them.

In what was anticipated as one of the pitcher’s duels of the season in the National League, the Phillies got to Brandon Woodruff and Co. while Zack Wheeler put up his best start in a month to take the first game of a three-game set against the Milwaukee Brewers 12-0 on Monday afternoon.

Wheeler got back on track amidst his career year, throwing six innings of shutout ball while allowing just five hits to go with nine strikeouts and zero walks. His 2021 season ERA is down to 2.91.

Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Zack Wheeler (45) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field.Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

For Woodruff, it was a day at the office to forget in Milwaukee as he yielded a career-worst three home runs while allowing nine hits in six innings of work.

He was greeted rudely by Bryce Harper in the top of the first when the Phillies slugger and continuously emerging NL MVP candidate mashed a no-doubt, two-run bomb to center field to give the visitors an early lead. It was Harper’s 28th round-tripper of the season, which measured 426 feet.

Freddy Galvis, who is not known for his power, put the Phillies up three in the second inning when he took Woodruff out over the right-field fence with a solo shot, his 12th of the year.

While Harper’s shot was majestic, Brad Miller’s was the longest of the afternoon as he launched one off Woodruff 434 feet to make it a 4-0 game in the fourth inning.

Meanwhile, Wheeler didn’t necessarily have a dominating, shutdown day, but he ensured that the Brewers could not build any momentum after a memorable walk-off grand slam hit by Daniel Vogelbach on Sunday against the St. Louis Cardinals. He retired eight of the final nine batters he faced to keep the Phillies’ advantage healthy.

Upon Woodruff’s exit, Philadelphia fully broke things open in the eighth inning by hanging seven on Milwaukee’s bullpen.

Andrew McCutchen hit his 24th home run of the season before Jean Segura provided the exclamation point with a grand slam.

In total, the Phillies accrued 16 hits off Milwaukee pitching. They’ve had more hits in only three games this season.

With the Braves off and the Mets having collapsed in the ninth inning against the Washington Nationals, the Phillies moved to within 1.5 games of first place behind Atlanta.

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