Phillies Andres Blanco Comes Through in a Pinch

Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Andres Blanco against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 12, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Andres Blanco against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

4. 6. Final. 3. 82

The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the host Miami Marlins on Saturday night at Marlins Park.

A formula that has worked in recent weeks for the Phillies returned to get them back into the win column once again last night in South Florida. The bullpen settled things down, shutting down the opposition, while the offense scratched out just enough for a 4-3 victory over the host Marlins.

The win pushed the Phils back to three games over the .500 mark at 17-14, in a virtual tie with the Fish for 3rd place in the NL East. It also made the ball club 10-3 on the season in one-run games.

Jeremy Hellickson got the start in this one. He was hit hard, but mostly was able to control the damage. Hellickson allowed three earned runs on eight hits over his 5.1 innings, striking out four and walking one.

With one out in the 2nd inning, Marcel Ozuna ripped his 6th homer of the season, a solo shot that put the hosts up early by a 1-0 score. The Phillies briefly tied it up in the top of the 4th when Ryan Howard brought home Odubel Herrera with a sacrifice fly. But in the bottom of the frame, Justin Bour lined a solo homer to left, his 4th of the season putting the Fish back in front.

In the home 6th, Christian Yelich led off with a single, stole 2nd base, and moved to 3rd on a wild pitch by Hellickson. He would score on a base hit by Ozuna that put the Marlins on top 3-1 and signalled the end of the day for Hellickson.

Marlins’ starter Tom Koehler was cruising along through his seven innings pitched. He allowed the Phillies just two hits while striking out eight and walking two. But manager Don Mattingly went to his bullpen for the 8th inning, and the Phillies took advantage of the new arms.

Kyle Barraclough came in to pitch, and David Lough worked a full-count walk to start the Phillies rally. Phils’ skipper Pete Mackanin sent Andres Blanco up to pinch-hit for the pitcher’s spot, and Blanco delivered a line double to right. The Phillies had the tying run now at 2nd base with nobody out, and could not afford to waste this opportunity.

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After Darin Ruf grounded easily to 3rd base, another in a series of failures for the increasingly frustrating player, Mattingly brought in a new reliever, Craig Breslow. Herrera greeted him with a clean looping single to left that scored Lough and moved Blanco to 3rd, putting the tying run just 90 feet away.

That tying run quickly came home as Cesar Hernandez singled to score Blanco, with Herrera racing around to 3rd base. Mattingly then made another pitching change, bringing in Bryan Morris. It was then that the difference-making play occurred.

Maikel Franco grounded what appeared to be an easy inning-ending double play ball at 3rd baseman Martin Prado. He fired to 2nd baseman Miguel Rojas for the start of the twin killing, and Rojas then turned and fired a perfect strike to 1st baseman Chris Johnson that had Franco beaten by a mile. But somehow, Johnson inexplicably dropped that perfect throw. Hernandez raced home, scoring the go-ahead run thanks to the error.

The Phillies bullpen shutout the Fish after Hellickson left. Colton Murray got out of the 6th inning jam with two easy outs. He was followed by shutout frames from Brett Oberholtzer and David Hernandez. Then Jeanmar Gomez closed things out with his 10th Save, the Phillies gaining the 4-3 come from behind victory.

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