Nick Castellanos hits a dinger to wrap up Phillies' sweep of Rangers
Nick Castellanos hits a dinger to wrap up Phillies' sweep of Rangers (Credit: )

Todd Pletcher named to HISA advisory group

PHILADELPHIA -- — Zack Wheeler tossed seven strong innings and J.T. Realmuto and Nick Castellanos homered to help Philadelphia complete a three-game sweep of the World Series champion Texas Rangers with a 5-2 win Thursday, the Phillies’ seventh series sweep this season. “We're all having a lot of fun doing it,” Castellanos said. With good reason. It's been 132 years in the making — the Phillies are 29-6 over their last 35 games, which matches the best 35-game span in franchise history, last done in 1892. Not the world champs, not a 45-minute weather delay, not even twice wasting bases-loaded opportunities could stop a Phillies team that won its sixth straight game and has steamrolled through the spring. Not even weekday baseball could curtail attendance — with a sellout crowd of 42,377 stuffed inside Citizens Bank Park to watch the Phillies finish a 7-1 homestand and improve to 22-8 at home. They are 37-14 and have the best record in baseball, with a slew of notable achievements stuffed inside that record. Such as, 17-3 in May. Or how about this: The Phillies either split or won each of their last 15 series, the longest span since a 19-series stretch in 1984. And the Phillies improved to 15-3 since they lost two-time All-Star shortstop Trea Turner to a left hamstring injury. Asked before the game if he had any real concerns with this year’s team, manager Rob Thomson could only offer the threat of complacency. But Thomson added the thought of any self-satisfaction inside the clubhouse was a stretch, especially after last season’s loss in the NL Championship Series to Arizona and the 2022 World Series loss to Houston. “I don’t think so, not with this group, especially after the last two years,” Thomson said. “And the people that we’ve brought in have joined in on that motivation. I think we’ve got a really good group.” Wheeler (6-3) won his sixth straight decision (over seven starts) and allowed five hits and two runs. He gave up Adolis García’s solo homer in the second inning and another run in the seventh. Phillies starters have pitched at least seven innings in 18 starts this year, the most in baseball. “I think we all have that mentality of going seven-plus every time,” Wheeler said. “If you don't, that's not necessarily a bad thing. But that's our goal. We have goals every time out and that's one of them.” José Alvarado worked a scoreless eighth and Jeff Hoffman pitched the ninth for his fourth save. “They swing the bats, they're one of the best offensive teams in baseball,” Rangers manager Bruce Bochy said. “We caught a hot team.” Must like a night earlier when the Phillies rallied from a 2-0 hole, García’s homer was just an early nuisance. Realmuto hit an 0-2 pitch off Rangers starter Andrew Heaney (0-6) the other way into the right field seats for a tying shot in the third that stretched his hitting streak to 13 games. Cristian Pache knocked a two-run triple off the left field wall in the fourth for a 3-1 lead and he scored on Kyle Schwarber’s RBI single. Castellanos added a solo shot in the seventh, giving the Phillies four or more runs in 13 straight games. “Hats off to ownership and the front office for believing in the pieces that are already here,” Castellanos said. The Rangers did get Schwarber on an inning-ending groundout in the second and Alec Bohm — who entered Thursday leading the majors in doubles and RBI — slammed his helmet after he closed the fourth by hitting into a double play with the bases loaded. The Phillies have yet to win a series against a team that entered Thursday above .500 and they sure knocked the Rangers (24-27) down a few pegs with the sweep. Texas has lost four straight and 12 of 19. TRAINER'S ROOM RHP Jon Gray (right groin strain) was placed on the 15-day injured list. Gray took the loss in the series opener. UP NEXT The Rangers did not name a starter for Friday's opener of a three-game series at Minnesota. RHP Bailey Ober (4-2, 4.40 ERA) get the start for the Twins. The Phillies send LHP Cristopher Sánchez (2-3, 3.31 ERA) to the mound against Rockies LHP Ty Blach (1-2, 5.14 ERA) in the opener Friday of a three-game series at Colorado. ------ AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb