PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins continue to be one of the best stories in baseball this season.Following José Fernández's 14 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings for Miami, Marcell Ozuna knocked in the game-tying run with two outs in the ninth and Martín Prado hit the game-winning home run in the 11th
PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins continue to be one of the best stories in baseball this season.
Following José Fernández's 14 strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings for Miami, Marcell Ozuna knocked in the game-tying run with two outs in the ninth and Martín Prado hit the game-winning home run in the 11th to beat the Phillies on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park, 3-2. The victory moved the Marlins into sole possession of the second National League Wild Card, one game ahead of the Mets.
"You kinda feel like you stole that one, but that's what you've gotta do to be a good team," Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich said. "That was a big win for us."
It was the first win for the Marlins this season when they were trailing after eight innings. They had previously been 0-40.
"I think [the come-from-behind win] gives you confidence from the standpoint that you're not out of games," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "Even in a game where we basically got handcuffed most of the night, our pitching kept us there … in striking distance, where we're able to get to the point where one baserunner changes the game."
The Phillies' bullpen spoiled a superb effort from right-hander Aaron Nola, who had struggled in his previous five starts. Nola allowed two hits and struck out five in six scoreless innings. He had been in line for the win until Phillies closer Jeanmar Gómez blew his third save of the season in the ninth.
"It's a shame we couldn't hold onto that lead in the ninth," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "But the good news was Nola. He pitched really well. He was painting both sides of the plate. He had his fastball working on both corners, down in the zone. Very encouraging."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Nola returns to form: The Phillies skipped Nola's last start before the All-Star break, saying he needed to clear his mind after posting a 13.50 ERA in his previous five starts. Nola disputed he needed a mental break, but whatever the reason for his struggles, he looked like himself again.
"It was a tough month for me," Nola said afterward. "Those two weeks off felt like a really long time, and I was ready to get back on the mound." More >
Ole, Jose: Fernandez didn't only match a personal best Monday, he also set an MLB record. With his 10th strikeout of the game, Fernandez became the fastest starting pitcher to reach 500 career strikeouts, needing only 400 career innings (65 starts) to do so. It looked as if Fernandez might have been be on his way to a 20-strikeout game, getting the 10th whiff in the fourth inning, but his pitch count stood in the way. He exited after 6 1/3 innings and 104 pitches, having struck out 14 Phillies to tie a career-high.
"I felt very strong, even when I was warming up," Fernandez said. "Sometimes you've got to be careful with that. But I was just trying to locate well." More >
Herrera hustles, Joseph bashes: Phillies center fielder Odúbel Herrera ripped a double down the left-field line in the bottom of the first and advanced to third on a dropped third strike. He later scored on Maikel Franco's groundout to second to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The score remained the same until the seventh, when Phillies first baseman Tommy Joseph crushed an 0-1 breaking ball to left field for a solo home run to make it 2-0.
"That was nice heads-up baserunning," Mackanin said.
Not so fast: The Phillies looked to have escaped Fernandez's 14-K day with a win when they handed the game off to Gomez in the ninth. But hits from J.T. Realmuto, Yelich and Ozuna combined for two runs that tied the game. Mattingly pinch-ran Yefri Pérez for Giancarlo Stanton, but the Marlins would not miss him. Two innings later, Prado put the third pitch he saw from Brett Oberholtzer into the left-field seats to give the Marlins the decisive, 3-2 lead. Gomez hadn't blown a save since June 12 and it was just his third in 28 attempts this season.
"I'm just happy to see everybody not panic when we don't need to," Prado said. "We just made it out all the way ... You never know what's going to happen."
Fernandez was watching the ninth-inning comeback from the clubhouse, where he was getting his routine postgame treatment on his arm.
"I was watching and I was like, 'Come on!' 'Come on!' It was fun to watch. That tells you how good this team is." More >
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Fernandez beat the record set by Yu Darvish two seasons ago for the fastest starting pitcher to 500 career strikeouts. Darvish accomplished the feat in 401 2/3 innings, while Fernandez did it in 400. Aroldis Chapman owns the record among all pitchers, getting to 500 strikeouts in 292 innings. Going by games started, only Darvish (62) and Doc Gooden (61) did it faster than the 65 games it took Fernandez.
Fernandez also matched a career-best with 14 strikeouts. He has struck out 14 four times now, but Monday was the fastest he's done it, needing only 6 1/3 innings. It was also the first time a pitcher has struck out 14 or more Phillies in less than seven innings.
JOSEPH KEEPS HITTING
Joseph has 12 homers in his first 48 games in a Phillies uniform. According to Elias, he is the fourth Phillies player to hit 12 homers in his first 48 games. The others are Raul Ibanez (17), Pete Incaviglia (12) and Lefty O'Doul (12).
Marlins: Miami opened the second half with an extra position player on its roster, choosing to wait until Tuesday to add a starter for the second game of its four-game series against the Phils, which gets underway at 7:05 p.m. ET. It will be José Ureña (1-1, 7.52 ERA), making his first start of the season after 16 relief appearances. Urena started nine games for the Marlins last year.
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez (8-2, 2.32 ERA) pitches the second of the four-game series on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park. Velasquez leads the team in wins despite missing time in June because of a strained right biceps. He is 3-0 with a 2.12 ERA in three starts since his return from the DL.
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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.