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Phils empty bullpen to gain ground on leaders

September 15, 2018

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Marlins throwing a bullpen game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler knew he was going to have to use his deep bench to create some favorable matchups Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.Kapler's biggest move came in the second inning when he pulled starting pitcher Vince Velasquez in

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Marlins throwing a bullpen game, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler knew he was going to have to use his deep bench to create some favorable matchups Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Kapler's biggest move came in the second inning when he pulled starting pitcher Vince Velasquez in favor of a pinch-hitter. It paid off. Justin Bour delivered a two-run single with the bases loaded, and seven Phillies relievers combined for seven scoreless innings in a 5-4 win.
Cesar Hernandez hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the fifth inning as the Phillies moved 6 1/2 games back of the Braves in the National League East.
"We knew Miami was going to put together a bullpen day. We didn't expect to have one ourselves," Kapler said. "But certainly, they were the story of the game for us, putting up zeros for us, each one of them looking out for each other. It was a team win. Everybody contributed."
The Phillies, who are also five games back of the Dodgers in the NL Wild Card race, earned their first series victory since they swept the Marlins in early August. They had played 12 series without winning one entering this weekend.
The seven Phillies relievers -- Victor Arano, Austin Davis, Luis Garcia, Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris, Tommy Hunter and Pat Neshek allowed just two hits, struck out eight and did not walk a batter in their seven innings. Neshek pitched the ninth inning to earn the save.

Kapler made the call to pull Velasquez after the righty gave up four runs in the second inning. Velasquez deployed a lively fastball to strike out out four of the first six hitters he faced, but he allowed two-out RBI hits to Austin Dean and JT Riddle.
With Miami ahead 4-0, the Phillies loaded the bases in the bottom of the second with no outs. Roman Quinn and Asdrubal Cabrera (who pinch-hit for Scott Kingery before the starting shortstop even had an at-bat) both struck out, leaving the pitcher's spot up.
With Velasquez at 46 pitches, Kapler called on Bour, who lined a single off third baseman Brian Anderson's glove and into left field for a two-run knock.

"Bour came in with the bases loaded. Kap making that call in that situation was pretty huge," Velasquez said. "That gave us a little boost in that inning. … And a stellar job by the bullpen."
The Phillies had just four hits in the game off the Marlins, who started lefty Jarlin Garcia and used seven pitchers of their own.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hernandez homers: The home run for Hernandez, which came off righty Drew Rucinski, was his 12th of the season and first since Aug. 22. Cabrera and Odubel Herrera also scored on the three-run blast, which gave the Phillies their first lead of the game. It was the third time in 10 games Hernandez has driven in three runs in a game.
"I think Cesar has a plan for every at-bat," Kapler said. "... Today I think he saw an opportunity where he was comfortable at the plate and looked to be especially assertive."

Velasquez can't solve Riddle: The largest blow against Velasquez was a three-run double by Riddle, who cleared the bases on a 1-2 fastball over the inside corner from Velasquez. Riddle got caught sleeping on the basepaths to end the inning, but Velasquez did not retire another batter at the plate.
All the damage against him came with two outs, and Kapler said he thought the 26-year-old was "frustrated" on the mound.
"There were some things that didn't go his way and it seemed like he got a little bit frustrated," Kapler said. "If I had to pinpoint it, I'd say frustration got the best of him tonight and therefore we had to go to our 'pen."

SOUND SMART
The Phillies have won 11 of their first 18 games against the Marlins this season and they have won the season series against Miami nine years in a row. The last time the Marlins won a season series against the Phillies was in 2008. The teams went 9-9 against each other in 2009.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Playing at first base for the second day in a row, Rhys Hoskins made a running, over-the-shoulder grab in foul territory in the sixth inning. Hoskins, who played first base for most of his Minor League career, has only made five starts at the position in 2018.

UP NEXT
The Phillies will face the Marlins for the final time in 2018 on Sunday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Pivetta will get the ball for Philadelphia, and the righty has a 2.30 ERA and 0.803 WHIP in three starts against the Marlins this season. Right-hander Jose Urena will start for Miami.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia.