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Phelps employs lessons right away vs. Rockies

MIAMI -- It took only five days, but Marlins righty David Phelps certainly figured out the Rockies' offense.

While Colorado roughed him up for nine earned runs on Saturday at Coors Field, Phelps (3-3, 4.11 ERA) responded with eight scoreless innings in Thursday's 6-0 win at Marlins Park. He struck out six and allowed just four hits on 111 pitches.

"I like to think that I learned what not to do last time out," Phelps said. "I didn't make a whole lot of quality pitches the last time against these guys, and that really was what I was focusing on tonight -- just keeping the ball down in the zone and executing my pitches. It paid off."

Video: [email protected]: Phelps talks about his pitching performance

The outing marked the longest of Phelps' career, surpassing his 7 2/3 innings pitched against Tampa Bay on May 24, 2013. It was his first victory since May 9.

"That's an outstanding outing by him to set the tone the way he did," manager Dan Jennings said. "Five days ago, he certainly wasn't pleased with his outing against this same team that was leading the National League in hitting."

Phelps entered Thursday 1-3 with a 5.31 ERA over his previous seven outings. But he was efficient against the Rockies, throwing 75 of his 111 pitches for strikes.

"For me, the most impressive thing for him was strike one," Jennings said. "If he didn't get strike one, he got right back in the count on the next pitch. Just tremendous. It put him in a position to be able to execute pitches. He worked both sides. Just a [heck] of an effort by the kid to set that tone."

Two of the Rockies' hits came in the first four innings. Phelps then didn't allow a hit until the seventh. He danced into danger in the eighth when consecutive batters reached with two outs, but he forced Troy Tulowitzki into a flyout to cap his night.

"Guys made plays," Phelps said. "The biggest play all night was no outs in the second and [Christian Yelich] makes [a running catch in left field]. We just scored three runs [in the first], and if I give up a leadoff double there, it can be a completely different game.

"I'll sleep a lot better tonight than I did five days ago, that's for sure."

Steve Wilaj is an associate reporter for
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