On Saturday, the Phillies exploded for a historic 12-run first inning at the expense of Nationals pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.
There has been baseball in this town for more than 130 years and what we just saw has never happened before. We’ve seen an unassisted triple play, a ball kicked to the cut-off man from the outfield, even a walk-off inside-the-park-homerun. But, a first inning like that? Never before.
So, let’s take another look at the Phillies historic 12-run first inning avalanche of offense that buried the Washington Nationals Saturday night.
To begin with, the Nats started Jeremy Guthrie, a righthander who had gone from starting Game 7 of the 2014 World Series for the Kansas City Royals to spending all of last season struggling in AAA (6-8, 7.17 ERA), then spent the winter pitching in Australia. Guthrie would be celebrating his 38th birthday on the mound at Citizens Bank Park.
Cesar Hernandez wasted no time in blowing out the candles, lining Guthrie’s second pitch past Jayson Werth into the leftfield corner for a leadoff double. Howie Kendrick followed with a single to place runners on the corners for Odubel Herrera. With the count 1-0 to Herrera, Kendrick took advantage of the threat of a double steal, swiping second base without a throw. The count would eventually go full to ‘El Torito’ before ball four loaded the bases.
Willing to take what he was given, Maikel Franco drove a ball into rightfield for a sacrifice fly that plated Hernandez. Michael Saunders got the train rolling again with a single to right that chased home Kendrick for a 2-0 lead. Next was Tommy Joseph who entered the game 0-for-2017. TJ shook the collar by grounding a 2-0 pitch right back up the middle for an RBI knock and a 3-0 lead.
Cameron Rupp walked to reload the bases. Freddy Galvis’ sacrifice fly scored Saunders. Then, pitcher Aaron Nola worked a walk to load the bases yet again. Guthrie had now faced the entire Phillies lineup, he was 36 pitches and four runs in … and it was about to get a whole lot worse.
Hernandez walked to force in the fifth run of the inning before Kendrick smashed a bases-clearing triple off the out-of-town scoreboard in right-center. The free agent leftfielder would score when Herrera hustled out an infield hit that marked the end of Guthrie’s evening. He and his 135.00 ERA were Designated for Assignment shortly after the game ended.
Leading 9-0, Franco welcomed lefthander Enny Romero to the party with a gap double that drove in Herrera. Saunders split the same gap just a few seconds later to trade places with Franco. Joseph’s second steak of the inning brought Saunders around and set the score at 12-0.
Alas, all good things must come to an end. In this case, the inning ended with a swing and a miss by Rupp.
Here is a little perspective on what we all witnessed:
– Twelve runs is a new franchise record for first inning runs, besting the 10-spot they dropped on the Cincinnati Reds in July of 2009
– This was only the third time the Phillies have scored 12 runs in an inning in their history (13 .vs Cincinnati in April, 2003 and 12 .vs Chicago in July, 1923)
– At the moment that the 12th run of the inning crossed the plate, there were still five teams in the major leagues (Atlanta, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and St. Louis) that had not scored 12 runs ALL SEASON!!
– Saunders and Joseph became the first Phillies to each have two, run-scoring hits in the same inning since Mike Schmidt and Gary Matthews. Schmitty and Sarge did it against St. Louis in September of 1981
More Phillies: Philadelphia Phillies 2017 Preview
There are so many things that make baseball special. Here at The Cave, we love that, on any given night, you could see something that has never happened before. When something like that does happen, what’s more fun than discussing all the crazy stuff you just saw?
If you noticed any other notable achievements from that record-setting frame, feel free to add a comment below!