The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
In this unexpected contending start to their 2016 season, one of the key developments for the Phillies has been the ability to avoid a losing streak.
Since dropping their first four games of the season, the Phils have not lost three games in a row. With last night’s 3-1 victory over the Marlins, they assured that will continue for at least a few more days.
The Phillies win moved the team to 23-17 on the season, tied with the New York Mets for 2nd place in the NL East. Both teams are now just 1/2 game behind the first place Washington Nationals.
Velasquez (5-1) shut the Fish out on three hits while striking out 10 and walking two over five innings pitched. He only lasted five because it took him 103 pitches to get to that point.
Key for the 23-year old right-hander was getting out of a big first inning jam that saw the Marlins put runners at 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.
Velasquez got Christian Yelich to ground sharply to short, struck out Giancarlo Stanton, and then induced Justin Bour to pop out weakly to Maikel Franco in foul territory to end the threat without the Fish getting on the board.
“[Velasquez] gets off the hook in the first there, we get him in trouble,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said per MLB.com contributors. “He’s got 75 through three innings. We did a nice job of battling him. He’s got good stuff. It seems like from there, we didn’t really put anything together until there at the end.”
He left with a 2-0 lead supplied partially by Joseph, who crushed his first career big league home run to lead off the bottom of the 2nd inning. Joseph would finish with three hits on the night.
The home run was a validation of sorts for manager Pete Mackanin, who inserted the rookie into the cleanup spot in his batting order in just the 24-year old’s third game.
“I didn’t expect that,” Joseph said per MLB.com’s Even Webeck. “To hit cleanup for this team, which is playing pretty well right now, it’s pretty awesome.”
The very next inning, Cesar Hernandez led off with a single. When Joseph ripped a one-out base hit to center field, Hernandez zipped around to 3rd base.
But on that same hit, the ball was misplayed by Marlins’ center fielder Marcel Ozuna, skipped past him, and rolled back to the wall as Hernandez scored to give the Phils a 3-0 lead.
Mackanin then broke out most of his bullpen to nail down the victory. Elvis Araujo, Andrew Bailey, David Hernandez, and Hector Neris each shut the Fish down from the 6th-8th innings to allow the club to take their 3-0 lead into the 9th.
In the top of the 9th, Jeanmar Gomez came on to close it out, and the righty got into some trouble, loading the bases with one out.
A sac fly from Derek Dietrich brought home Adeiny Hechavarria with a run that made it 3-1. But then Joseph made a nice diving stop of a Martin Prado grounder, flipping to Gomez covering at 1st base for the final out.
The game also marked the 1,000th as a catcher in the career of Carlos Ruiz. The fan favorite “Chooch” became just the fourth man to reach that mark as a Phillies backstop.
This series will conclude with a matinee’ on Wednesday. The Phils will then enjoy an off-day at home before hosting the last place Atlanta Braves over the coming weekend.