PHILADELPHIA — The debut at second base for Matt Vierling, the career outfielder and Car Shield commercial star went well, to say the least.
The veteran handled six ground balls flawlessly, including the last out of the game and caught a pop fly to help the Phillies to a 4-0 victory over the Diamondbacks Saturday in front of 30,820 at Citizens Bank Park.
It was the ninth straight win for the Phillies, their most since 2011. The all-time club record is 13 straight victories, the 1991 Phillies last accomplishing it.
In the middle of this is Vierling, who kidded that yeah, maybe he should start asking for more money for the commercials he does with the widely advertising Car Shield automobile warranty. Vierling is pictured swinging the bat and talking about “Knocking expensive car repairs out of the park.”
For now, Vierling is happy to be in the middle of this winning business, starting with the new challenge at second. For now he and Bryson Stott, who played shortstop and belted a two-run homer Saturday, are all the healthy players the Phillies have to play second base.
“It was good to get that first one out of the way,” Vierling said. “With every game I play, I’ll get more comfortable. I kind of expected it. I had a feeling when I was out there the ball was going to be hit to me.”
Vierling did throw the ball away trying to complete a double-play that had no chance, but that wasn’t ruled an error. The only mistake he made was getting caught stealing for the last out of the seventh inning.
“It was a good day for him,” winning pitcher Zack Wheeler said. “And I’m happy for him.”
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Wheeler allowed just two hits and struck out eight in six shutout innings, exiting after throwing 98 pitches. And he did so after a hectic week in which his wife Monique delivered their second child, a baby girl.
“I felt good, pretty much,” Wheeler said. “A little bit of rust but I felt fine.”
Wheeler didn’t miss a turn in the rotation yet threw twice at CBP while his teammates were in Milwaukee. It was hiss seventh start of at least six scoreless innings with no walks since the start of 2021.
Of particular interest was the work of the bullpen.
In the seventh inning Jeurys Familia loaded the bases. Andrew Bellatti got Diamondbacks pinch-hitter Ketel Marte to fly out to deep center.
After Brad Hand hurled a 1-2-3 eighth inning, manager Rob Thomson used Cristopher Sanchez in the ninth. He allowed two hits.
Thomson said he shut down Corey Knebel after getting a report from the bullpen that Knebel felt tightness in his shoulder during his warmup.
At his post-game presser Thomson wouldn’t deny that Seranthony Dominguez will be a consideration in the ninth going forward.
Five Phillies pitchers combined for the team’s fifth shutout this season. It was the first time the Diamondbacks have been blanked this year.
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NOTES >> Thomson became just the third major league manager since at least 1900 to win his first eight games as manager. The other two are Joe Morgan (his first 12 games for the Red Sox in 1988) and Pat Moran (eight in a row for the 1915 Phillies). … The game was completed in a svelte 2 hours, 56 seconds. … The Phillies’ 9-0 record in June is their longest to start any month since they won 11 in a row in August of 1991.