PHILADELPHIA — What a week.
Phillies ace Zack Wheeler and his wife Dominique welcomed their daughter Bambi into the world early Tuesday morning. Halfway across the country, Matt Vierling, who had been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, flew from Omaha, Neb., to Chicago, then drove 90 minutes north to Milwaukee. Later that night, he hit a game-winning home run against Brewers closer Josh Hader, who had not blown a save in 11 months.
It would have been fine if their weeks ended there, but Wheeler and Vierling helped the Phillies beat Arizona on Saturday at Citizens Bank Park, 4-0. The Phils have won nine consecutive games for the first time since July 29-Aug. 6, 2011.
The Phils (30-29) have a winning record for the first time since they were 3-2 on April 12.
“I was just hoping that it would get back around to me, and I could keep it going,” Wheeler said about the winning streak.
If it gets around to Wheeler again, it means the Phillies will be trying to set a franchise record with 14 consecutive victories. They won a franchise-record 13 consecutive games in 1991, ’77 and 1895.
Wheeler pitched six scoreless innings against the D-backs, striking out eight and allowing two hits. He is 5-0 with a 1.42 ERA in his past eight starts, striking out 64 and walking 11 in 50 2/3 innings. He would have started the seventh, but Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson exercised caution following Wheeler’s hectic week.
“To come out here and perform well today, it’s icing on the cake,” Wheeler said. “I felt good for the most part. A little bit of rust, but it was fine. Good enough.”
Vierling played second base for the first time in his life because the Phillies wanted shortstop Didi Gregorius to rest after returning last Sunday from the injured list. The Phils thought Vierling had enough athleticism to handle a position he never played, even in Little League.
But when things are going well, these types of moves just seem to work.
It worked. Vierling was flawless….