PHILADELPHIA — They were on the wrong side of baseball history, and for Rob Thomson, it ended at 11:27 p.m. ET when the Astros celebrated a combined no-hitter by rallying on the mound at Citizens Bank Park. Thomson, as he always does, waited in the dugout until all the Phillies players had come through – including those who had stomped in from the bullpen. Then the Phillies manager followed them into the clubhouse on Wednesday night.
He had something to say after Game 4 of the World Series. Thomson stepped into the center of the room.
“The last time that happened,” Thomson said, “we did pretty well.”
Not many words were spoken. Some players heard different versions of the speech.
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The last time this happened wasn’t the World Series. It was April. Thomson was the bench coach. When five Mets pitchers orchestrated a no-hitter against them, the Phillies were 21 games in a journey that has now reached unimaginable limits. This, a 5-0 loss to the Astros that tied the series 2-2 and guaranteed a return leg to Houston, was the Phillies’ 177th game of the season.
Everyone is tired. The moment had never felt too big for these Phillies; They’ve pushed their way into this postseason and pushed everyone around. They were carried by the disrupted energy at that stadium, where they were unbeaten in the postseason until Wednesday.
The Phillies now face real adversity, a rare occurrence during this surreal sprint toward a championship. There were few close decisions on Wednesday against Cristian Javier and the other three Houston pitchers – Bryan Abreu, Rafael Montero and Ryan Pressly; Jean Segura made his way to finish the eighth inning and Kyle Schwarber missed a double by inches from the first baseline in the third inning.
The Astros fired 89 four-seam fastballs — nearly two-thirds of their total pitches — and the Phillies were helpless.
At least for one night.
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(Photo: Kyle Ross / USA Today)