PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.T. Realmuto answered the challenge.
Realmuto hit a three-run homer and fell a triple shy of the cycle, Cesar Hernandez and Roman Quinn also went deep, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 10-2 Thursday.
A day earlier, Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said: “For this team to accomplish what it wants to accomplish we’re going to need the stars in that room to carry us.”
Realmuto, the team’s lone All-Star and one of several splashy offseason additions, delivered.
“We feel like we’ve underperformed to this point,” Realmuto said. “We feel we have the guys to get it done.”
Jake Arrieta pitched two-hit ball into the fifth but was pulled after 71 pitches because of a bone spur in his right elbow. He allowed two runs — one earned — and four hits, striking out five in four-plus innings. Jose Alvarez (2-2) and three relievers tossed five scoreless innings.
“I just hit a wall,” Arrieta said. “It’s what I’m working with.”
Giants starter Dereck Rodriguez (4-6) gave up seven runs — four earned — and eight hits in three innings.
The Phillies (57-51) and Nationals are tied for the top spot in the NL wild-card standings. Both teams will be tied with the loser of the Cubs-Cardinals game later Thursday night.
Arrieta helped himself in the second when he hit a sharp one-hopper with two outs and bases loaded. The ball handcuffed three-time NL Gold Glove shortstop Brandon Crawford and Arrieta hustled to beat the throw to first. He was initially ruled out but the call was overturned after a video review and a run scored on the error. Hernandez followed with a two-run double to right to make it 3-0.
“You never know which run is going to win you the game,” Arrieta said.
Bryce Harper hit a single with one out in the third, Realmuto doubled and Scott Kingery’s two-run single extended the lead to 5-0.
Hernandez drove his eighth homer out to right in the fourth. It was the first time he connected since June 15.
Realmuto then lined a three-run shot just beyond center fielder Kevin Pillar’s reach over the 401-foot sign for a 9-0 lead. Pillar lost his glove in the bushes over the fence on his leap and came up limping but stayed in the game.
In his last seven games, Realmuto has four homers and 10 RBIs.
“Realmuto has been hitting the ball hard for a good part of the season,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Like Matt said, if we’re going to be the team we expect to be, our stars are going to carry us. J.T. is one of our stars.”
Brandon Belt and Mike Yastrzemski had RBI singles for the Giants, who climbed into the wild-card race with a 19-6 record in July.
Crawford left the game after jamming his shoulder diving for a ball. It’s uncertain whether he’ll miss time.
“There’s some concern there,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Phillies closer Hector Neris dropped his appeal and began serving a three-game suspension for intentionally throwing a pitch at the Dodgers’ David Freese on July 16.
Giants: OF Alex Dickerson was placed on the 10-day injury list with a right oblique strain and LHP Sam Selman was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento.
Phillies: Arrieta has made four starts since revealing that he will likely require surgery at some point for the bone spur.
Giants: RHP Shaun Anderson (3-3, 5.06 ERA) starts Friday night at Colorado. The team has won five of his last six starts.
Phillies: LHP Jason Vargas (6-5, 4.01 ERA) makes his first start since he was acquired from the Mets in the opener of an interleague series against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night.