The Phillies broke up a tie game, exploding for four runs in the bottom of the 8th, and held on for a 6-3 win over the visiting Miami Marlins in the opener of a 3-game weekend series at Citizens Bank Park.
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Morgan didn’t earn the Win, which went to reliever Ken Giles (4-2), but he was absolutely the star on this night. Fernandez was expected to be strong, and he was. The young Marlins’ star making a strong return from Tommy John surgery lasted 6 innings, allowing just 2 earned runs on 4 hits, striking out 6 and walking just 1 batter.
But Morgan matched him by lasting 6.1 innings, also allowing just 2 earned on 4 hits, striking out 3 and walking 3 Fish batters. He threw 54 strikes among his 85 pitches in what was the longest outing of his Major League career to this point.
Morgan actually left with a 2-1 lead. After allowing a 4th inning run that put Miami up 1-0, the Phils scored twice in the bottom of the 6th to take the lead. First, Maikel Franco grounded into a bases loaded doubleplay, with Morgan scoring the tying run from 3rd. Ryan Howard followed with an RBI single to score Ben Revere with the go ahead run.
In the top of the 7th, Morgan allowed a walk and a single. With two on, his night was over. Reliever Luis Garcia would allow two hits, including a game-tying double off the bat of Marlins’ centerfielder Cole Gillespie.
The 2-2 tie held into the Phils’ 8th, when the bats would get to Fish relievers Bryan Morris (3-2) and Carter Capps. The rally began with a leadoff pinch-hit single by Odubel Herrera off Morris, who then walked Cesar Hernandez with one out, ending his own night and bringing on Capps.
Maikel Franco then sent a ball out to center. Gillespie appeared to get a beat on it, but the ball began to slice away from him slightly and clanked off his glove to the grass. Herrera scored on the error to put the Phillies ahead again 3-2. Then with two outs, Jeff Francoeur came to the plate as a pinch-hitter for Cody Asche.
Francoeur provided the night’s big offensive moment, drilling a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left field for his 7th homer of the season. The 3-run blast pushed the Phillies lead out to 6-2, and gave Miami just three more outs.
That brought on controversial closer Jonathan Papelbon, the Phillies’ lone All-Star Game rep who had spent the break emphasizing his desire to be traded. He was greeted by a chorus of boos from the home crowd, and would yield a one out, 0-2 homer to J.T. Realmuto, followed by an Ichiro Suzuki single. But Paps settled down to retire the final two batters to seal the win.
With the victory, the Phillies lead dropped to 9 games over Miami in the race for the top overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft. With both Giancarlo Stanton and Dee Gordon on the DL, this weekend could be a chance for the Fish to drop a couple more, making a run at the label of worst team in the Majors.