PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Vince Velasquez’s promise finally is coming to fruition.
Velasquez allowed two hits in 6 1/3 scoreless innings to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-1 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night.
Always regarded highly within the organization as a potential top-of-the-rotation starter, until recently Velasquez had been plagued by inconsistency for much of his 2 ½-year tenure with the Phillies.
Velasquez (8-8) struck out seven and walked one to continue his strong form. The right-hander has a 0.71 ERA in his last five appearances. Velasquez didn’t allow a hit until Miguel Rojas’ two-out single in the fifth.
“He’s proven that he’s not just capable but thriving,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “He’s proven the last month that he’s a force to be reckoned with.”
The right-hander, who was acquired from Houston prior to 2016 for reliever Ken Giles, is finding his comfort zone.
“Everything is falling into place and I’m still learning as I go,” he said. “Still a lot of room to work.”
Seranthony Dominguez recorded the final four outs for his 12th save in 13 chances as the Phillies won their third straight to remain a half-game in front of Atlanta for first place in the NL East.
“It’s fun for all of us,” Velasquez said.
Brian Anderson had two hits with a double and an RBI for the Marlins, who have lost four in a row.
“(Velasquez) was really good, kind of overpowered us,” Miami manager Don Mattingly said.
Dominguez pitched out of a jam in the eighth, striking out J.T. Realmuto on three pitches with runners on first and third. Miami had pulled within 2-1 on Anderson’s two-out RBI single off Pat Neshek, who gave up a run for the first time since last September to snap his scoreless streak at 14 innings.
The Phillies, helped by an error on shortstop JT Riddle, gave Dominguez some breathing room with three unearned runs in the eighth on Jorge Alfaro’s RBI single and Roman Quinn’s two-run double.
Miami threatened against Velasquez in the seventh. Anderson led off with a double and went to third on Realmuto’s groundout. Kapler lifted Velasquez despite just 85 pitches for Aaron Loup to face slugger Justin Bour in a lefty on lefty matchup. Loup, acquired from Toronto on Tuesday for just these situations, plunked Bour with his second pitch to put runners on first and third. But the Phillies got out of the jam when right-hander Victor Arano came on and struck out Martin Prado and got Derek Dietrich to pop out in foul territory to first baseman Carlos Santana.
Velasquez helped himself in the third when the Phillies took a 1-0 lead. He led off with a double to right off Trevor Richards (3-6) for his second extra-base hit in his 97th career at-bat and scored on Rhys Hoskins’ single just in front of diving center fielder Magneuris Sierra.
Philadelphia added a run in the seventh. Cesar Hernandez walked with two outs, went to third on Hoskins’ double and reached on a wild pitch by Adam Conley.
Richards allowed one run on four hits in five innings with seven strikeouts and two walks.
AFTER FURTHER REVIEW
First-base umpire Sean Barber had a pair of out calls overturned by replay. Sierra was ruled out in the sixth on a bang-bang play after a tremendous diving stop by third baseman Maikel Franco, who then made the throw from his backside. And Realmuto was retired after video showed Santana applied the tag in time after shortstop Scott Kingery’s throw pulled the first baseman off the bag.
Hoskins reached base in his 20th straight game, setting a career high, while recording his 16th RBI since the All-Star break. He entered second in the majors in RBIs in the second half.
DOUBLE THE FUN
Anderson upped his total to 25 doubles, making him the first Marlins rookie to have as many since Gaby Sanchez, who finished 2010 with 37 two-baggers.
Marlins: RHP Sandy Alcantra, out since June 29 with a right armpit infection, pitched 4 2/3 scoreless innings in a rehab outing with Single-A Jupiter on Friday.
Phillies: Franco fouled a ball off his left foot in the fourth but remained in the game. . C Alfaro took a foul off his right foot in the seventh but stayed in the contest.
Marlins RHP Jose Urena (3-10, 4.40) faces RHP Zach Eflin (7-3, 3.64) on Saturday night in the third game of the four-game set. Urena has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances in Philadelphia. Eflin earned the win, tossing six innings of one-run ball, in the Phillies’ 20-1 victory over Miami on April 7.
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