Kyle Schwarber took seven pitches for Phillies fans to fall in love with him. I
On Friday afternoon, the slugging leadoff man hit a home run in his first at-bat with his new team.
The Phillies never surrendered the advantage Schwarber delivered, winning 9-5 against the Oakland Athletics in front of a sellout crowd of 44,232 at Citizens Bank Park to start the 2022 season.
In 2021, the Phillies had a lot of trouble in the leadoff spot. They posted the second-worst on-base percentage in the majors, at.302. Schwarber was signed to a four-year, $79 million contract by management in the hopes of bringing on-base ability and power to the position.
He’s all of that after just one game of the new season.
Schwarber walked twice and singled home a run in five at-bats, including a leadoff homer on a 3-2 fastball from Oakland starter Frankie Montas.
The first-inning home run energised the crowd. Rhys Hoskins, who had two singles and two RBIs, added, “What a way to introduce yourself.”
After the home run, Schwarber was enticed out of the dugout for a curtain call. He said, “That was pretty cool.” “I couldn’t think of a better way to express myself.”
“Everything was unique. As a visiting player, I always looked forward to coming here. Now, to be on the home team and play in front of these fans is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
It was more difficult than it needed to be to win.In the seventh inning, Aaron Nola ran out of gas, and the defence turned ugly with a pair of blunders.
The A’s scored four runs in the seventh and eighth innings to make it a one-run game, but the Phillies pulled away with big hits from Nick Castellanos, Bryce Stott, and Schwarber in the seventh and eighth innings.
“We overcame some adversity and went out there and started putting runs on the board,” Schwarber said. “We responded forcefully, and that’s how it’s supposed to appear.
You can see how the momentum is shifting there, and we’ve put together some excellent at-bats. We didn’t give up. We didn’t fall apart.”
To keep the game alive, Jeurys Familia, Brad Hand, Seranthony Dominguez, and new closer Corey Knebel all got key outs.