There’s always a lot of talk about the Phillies and their resiliency, and rightfully so. They don’t quit. They believe they can win a game at time, no matter the situation. It’s ingrained in the culture of this clubhouse.

A far more interesting study is finding the little motivations that lead to the Phillies’ seemingly innate ability to come from behind to win ball games late.

Thursday was the latest instance, as the Phillies picked up their fourth walk-off victory of the season, 3-2 over the Detroit Tigers, sweeping the series and winning for the fifth straight game.

Kody Clemens played the hero in this one, lining a base hit to right field to score Trea Turner, exacting some revenge against his former team, but we’ll get into Clemens in a minute, because how the game played out was much more interesting and tells you a lot more about these Phillies, even though they are still a couple games under .500 and sitting eight games out of first place in the N.L. East.

That’s because Zack Wheeler was sensational in the game. He took a no-hitter into the eighth inning. He struck out eight and walked one:

Yet, as dominant as he was for most of the game, he had to be almost perfect because like the Tigers, the Phillies were also struggling to hit the ball and score runs.

The game was scoreless into the bottom of the sixth, and the Phillies ended up plating just one run there, meaning Wheeler would go into the seventh and eighth innings protecting just a one-run lead. There wasn’t much margin for error. Wheeler had to be almost perfect to win, and he was.

But then in the eighth, things went a little sideways. With one out Jonathan Schoop hit a tough ground ball toward third base. Josh Harrison made a really nice play to field it and then, with his only option to try and get Schoop, threw a one hopper across the diamond, which Clemens couldn’t scoop.

The generous home scorekeeper ruled it a throwing error on Harrison, a tough call on him for sure, but a favorable call for Wheeler, whose no-hit bid was still intact.

Alas, the next hitter, Tyler Nevin, poked a single to right field, for the Tigers’ first hit of the game, and after 108 pitches, Wheeler’s night was over.

A bunt single and a miscommunication by the Phillies defensively allowed the Tigers to tie the score. Then, in the ninth inning, reliable closer Craig Kimbrel gave up a single, committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt (although Clemens could have prevented it from getting by), and then yielded a one-out single to former Phillie Nick Maton.

In the span of six batters, the Phillies went from being five outs away from the first regular season no hitter at Citizens Bank Park by a Phillies pitcher (Roy Halladay had one in the 2010 playoffs) to trailing in the game.

It wasn’t Kimbrel’s best outing. He gave up two hits, two walks and had the error all while throwing 34 pitches, but he did keep the Phillies within a run, dancing out of a bases loaded jam.

That’s where you have to assume the motivation for the latest comeback is borne on the Phillies bench between innings. In this case, “Win this one for Zack.”

It’s not every day that a pitcher gets that close to a no-hitter. It’s even more infrequent that he gets that close and his team loses the game.

So when the bottom of the ninth happens, and the Phillies are suddenly behind instead of ahead, that motivation automatically kicks in.

The approach at the plate suddenly changes.

Bryce Harper, who seemed to struggle most of the night with breaking balls early in the count and fastballs late, jumped all over the first pitch he saw and ripped it for a double to right field:

Trea Turner, who was in the middle of another 0-for-the game, grinded out a walk. After J.T. Realmuto struck out, Bryson Stott was looking for a pitch to hit the other way, as the Tigers were cheating more up the middle on him. He was able to do that, and only a fine defensive play by Javier Baez kept a run from scoring on Stott’s infield single. Brandon Marsh knew he had to get a ball in the air, and let a pitch get deep on him so he could put it out into left field for a sacrifice fly. Then, Clemens walked it off.

With the exception of Realmuto, every player did what they set out to do to help the team win.

It was the Phillies’ fourth walk-off of the season, but they’ve also had three other come-from-behind wins in the sixth inning or later, meaning seven of their 30 wins so far this season have been in games where they trailed late and still won.

It’s a mindset that serves this team well, and it’s finding these little motivations that gets them going in the right direction and keeps them afloat even when the results haven’t been what is expected.

And that’s something that can still carry them a long way with 100 games to go in this season.

Other Observations:

  • With Wheeler throwing 7 1/3 innings, it marked the first time since 2014 that the Phillies had starters throw at least seven innings in four consecutive starts. When asked about how important that is after the game, Harper said, “We still need that fifth, right? Hopefully we can get whoever that is or whatever that may be and kind of put a little less pressure on the bullpen.” As Bob calls him, Bryce Harper, the Phillies Assistant GM.
  • Jose Alvarado will officially rejoin the Phillies Friday. Someone will have to come off the roster. My money is on Dylan Covey being DFA’d. The Phillies signed Drew Hutchison to a minor league deal Thursday. You may remember him from his brief stint (11 games, 21 innings) in 2018. He’s bounced around and really isn’t very good (he opted out of a minor league deal with Toronto last week), but he can serve the same purpose as Covey did down the road if the Phillies need to get desperate again.
  • Alec Bohm will probably be back Saturday. The Phillies worked him hard both Wednesday and Thursday and as long as he still feels good Friday, he’ll be back in the lineup Saturday. Who gets sent out will be interesting. Drew Ellis seems most likely, but none of the Phillies righties on the bench have impressed, so you could possibly see it be Josh Harrison, too. I still think he has some cache as a versatile, heads-up style veteran who is well-liked and respected in the clubhouse to hold on to his job for now, but the Phillies really need another righthanded bench bat.
  • With the Canadian smoke cancellation Wednesday, the Phillies’ bullpen game will now be Monday in Arizona instead of Tuesday. This means it will come up next Saturday in Oakland as well instead of Father’s Day. The Phillies wanted it to be that Sunday because there’s an off day on the following Monday, but now they’ll lose that benefit.