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Noah Syndergaard, Phillies woo Reds to bed – Daily Local

PHILADELPHIA — The New York Mets flew out of town on Sunday night, and even if they were replaced by rain on Monday, the nasty wind that battered the Phillies all weekend is long gone.

With that came a task, one Rob Thomson handled well during his interim tenure in charge.

The Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates will be in town for the next seven days, and neither has come close to contending for the playoffs. For the Phillies, whose playoff bid has been built on beating teams they should beat, the challenge would be to do it again, seven times.

Behind a vintage outing by Noah Syndergaard and home runs by Nick Castellanos and Bryson Stott, the Phillies took care of business in Game 1, a completely unremarkable 4-1 win over the Reds.

Given the high drama of the weekend, a little bit of boredom served them well in a strong performance.

“I think it’s a big week and today is a big day to recover from the weekend,” Thomson said before the game. “It was a tough weekend. Long games, long days, but these guys have been recovering from those kinds of games all year. I expect the same.”

At home in particular, the Phillies have a chance to get good results while they’re good. A team that was barely .500 at home for much of the first half of the season, Thomson’s resurgence coincided with a search for home form. With the exception of a three-game pair against the Chicago Cubs since the All-Star break, and then a meeting with the immovable object that has been the Mets this year, the Phillies have done it.

The record was 4-2 in June, and 5-4 in early July. Their seven-game winning streak in August came at Citizens Bank Park. Since the beginning of June, they have won eight of 11 series at home. The losses are the Mets, Cubs and Braves. (To be fair, the Phillies are 21 games over .500 against all teams not named the Mets this year).

Between them, they were rooting for, frankly, inferior teams. And by the end of the week, the number should be 10 out of 13.

Still, the Phillies haven’t made Citizens Bank Park the fortress they’d like it to be. They entered Monday with a 33-29 record at home. Their season-high mark was seven games over .500 at home on August 10th. That’s the worst home record among the eight teams in realistic playoff contention in the National League. And they have a higher road winning percentage (.559, at 33-26).

For a team that ends the season with a 10-game road streak, the importance of dealing with the basement increases. Thomson said last week he wasn’t looking that far ahead, but the road to the finish line was dangerous. The Phillies will play three games in Atlanta before closing out the home portion of the schedule with two games against Toronto and four games against the Braves, both certainly in contention for playoff spots. Then it’s the Cubs’ three that they haven’t beaten this year; four in Washington who would love nothing more than to play spoiler; and three in Houston, which could battle for home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs.

Monday’s game, despite a 57-minute rain delay, was a perfect game against a team like the Reds. Syndergaard didn’t allow a runner to touch third base until the fifth inning. By then, Castellanos and Stott had homered and Castellanos added an RBI double.

“We’re just back on track,” Castellanos said. “These are the games we have to win and we’ve done a really good job all year of winning the games we have to win. All these games add up. And just to put a tough streak to bed against a really good baseball team.”

JT Realmuth’s RBI double in the bottom of the fifth promptly answered a solo homer by his opposite number, Austin Romine, defusing any threat of the Reds generating momentum.

Syndergaard was a balm for a battered bullpen with seven three-hit innings. He threw just 89 innings before giving way to Sam Coonrod in a flawless eighth inning. Andrew Belati walked in the leadoff spot in the ninth to record his second career save.

“I really don’t think I felt as good as I did last game against the Reds,” Syndergaard said. “I felt like my stuff wasn’t that good, but I was able to execute. I kind of knew I needed that moment to go as deep as I could and rest the bullpen. This makes it very easy to pass, when a crime occurs there, the posting works.

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NOTES >> Castellanos extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a 436-footer to right-center in the second inning. … Kyle Schwarber had four looks. Three of referee Dan Yasonga’s called third strikes were outside the automated strike zone, and the fourth was just short of the line. … Alec Bohm stayed hot with three singles and a run. This is his second consecutive three-hit game. … A day after the Phillies-Mets odyssey lasted 4 hours, 26 minutes – four minutes shy of the longest nine-inning game in National League history – plus a rain delay, Monday’s first game ended mercifully 2:40 after that almost hours – long delay of rain.

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