Under-equipped Phillies keep rolling, sweep A’s to end road trip

No Bryce Harper, no Nick Castellanos, no Craig Kimbrel or Gregory Soto, no problem for the Phillies who took a Sunday afternoon sweep in Oakland to complete their road trip.

The Phillies beat the A’s, 3-2, for the second straight day to wrap up a 6-1 week in the West. They are a season best four games over .500 at 38-34 and have won 13 of their last 15 games overall.

Manager Rob Thomson gave Harper a day off. It was a way to get him 48 hours off with Monday off. Harper had started all but one game for the Phillies since returning from Operation Tommy John on May 2.

Castellanos was out for a second game in a row with a stomach problem.

Kimbrel and Soto were unavailable after being used in three of the Phillies’ previous four games.

Still, even without two midrange bats and two of their three healthy late-inning relievers, the Phils did just enough to win the game. They did it thanks to Kyle Schwarber in the front row, production from Cristian Pache on the nine hole and a clutch RBI from Trea Turner in the eighth inning.

Facing a left-handed opener, Schwarber led the game with a home run for the 12th time as a Phillie (including the playoffs). The Phils are 9-3 in those games. He added an RBI single in the fifth, leading Pache, who doubled twice and scored twice.

Turner brought Pache home in the eighth inning and it turned out to be a huge insurance run because Jose Alvarado made one in the bottom half.

With Alvarado used up, Kimbrel and Soto down, and Seranthony Dominguez on the injured list with an oblique stump, Thomson turned to Yunior Marte to protect the one-run lead in the ninth inning. Marte responded well to the opportunity, eliminating the team for its first major league stoppage.

The Phillies’ bullpen continues to gain momentum. Eight different relievers were used in Saturday’s overtime win. The Phils are now 16-7 in one-point games and have won nine of their last 11 games.

“Just a big effort from the bullpen, they were exceptional,” Thomson told reporters after the game. “The last four saves from four different guys.”

It’s actually the last five stops: Luis Ortiz on Tuesday, Alvarado on Wednesday, Kimbrel on Thursday, Hoffman on Saturday and Marte on Sunday.

Zack Wheeler took the win with six scoreless innings on an afternoon when he didn’t have his best trick or sharpest command. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out four. He’s 6-4 with a 3.48 ERA and has allowed one or no runs in four of his last five starts.

It was a big week for the Phillies, who were the worst in the National League 13-23 on the road after losing Monday night at Arizona. They are now 19-23 on the road and failure to win at Citizens Bank Park is no longer a major storyline.

The coming week is even bigger. After resting Monday, the Phillies begin a six-game homestand against the Braves and Mets. The Braves, like the Phillies, have won six in a row. The Mets have lost 11 of 14 games since sweeping the Phils from Citi Field on June 1.

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