PHILADELPHIA -- Cesar Hernandez held on to his bat longer than he needed to, watching the ball disappear into the left-field seats before easing into his home run jog. Forgive him. It was the Phillies' fourth home run of the night, and Hernandez wanted to bask in his sixth-inning contribution to the power outburst.
First came Nick Williams' first-inning blast against Marlins right-hander Jose Urena. Then Asdrubal Cabrera hit his first Phillies home run in the third, and Carlos Santana went deep in the fifth. The Phillies dominated from start to finish Saturday night, rolling to an 8-3 win in front of 35,194 fans at Citizens Bank Park.
Philadelphia has won the first three games of its four-game set against Miami, which concludes Sunday afternoon.
"What does a game look like when we're getting every angle? Defense, pitching, bullpen, offense. And I think tonight is what it looked like," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said.
Right-hander Zach Eflin took advantage of the cushion, throwing eight innings of four-hit ball in the victory. He allowed home runs to Justin Bour and Miguel Rojas, but otherwise kept the Marlins in check with 85 pitches, recording six strikeouts.
Kapler said the Phillies would have liked to give Eflin the opportunity to record his first complete game of the season, but instead opted to let left-hander Adam Morgan finish the deal. Morgan, who hadn't pitched since July 26, walked one in a scoreless ninth inning to seal the Phillies' 62nd victory of the season.
"I think we're better going forward because we made that decision," Kapler said. "Even though in some ways, emotionally, you wish you could have had Eflin out there in the ninth inning because that would have been a really cool moment for him and everybody at the ballpark tonight."
Eflin said he likely would've gone out for the ninth inning had it not been for Rojas' eighth-inning dinger. He walked away content with his outing, though, as the postseason nears.
"I think every time we go out we should pitch with a mindset of, 'If we lose this game, we're not in first place,' regardless of how many games up we are," Eflin said. "I think that's the mentality we should have."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Asdrubal settles in
Cabrera's home run wasn't the only impact he had on the game. The shortstop provided a highlight-reel play in the seventh, when he fielded a Brian Anderson ground ball up the middle, and in one motion, turned 360 degrees and fired to first base. It was something of an affirming moment for Cabrera, who played exclusively at second base for the Mets before being traded to the Phillies on July 27. Cabrera has spent the bulk of his professional career playing shortstop.
"I've played shortstop before," Cabrera remarked after the game, smiling.
Gold Glove Maikel?
An instant replay wasn't needed this time. One night after third baseman Maikel Franco wowed Philly fans by diving to his left and -- after review -- throwing out the runner at first from his backside, Franco made another highlight-reel play in the second inning. With Rojas at the plate, Franco once again dove to his left to corral a hard-hit liner. He pushed himself up, steadied his feet and fired a perfect strike to first baseman Santana, ending the inning.
HE SAID IT
"Players get inspired by stuff like that. You become very proud of wearing 'Phillies' across your chest. And so then you want to go out there, and you want to represent the brand well. You want to represent the organization well. You're proud of [former Phillies general manager Pat] Gillick and all the contributions Roy Halladay made to the organization. You want to be a part of that. So I think those players represented the Phillies well tonight," -- Kapler, on his team flipping the switch after an emotional pregame ceremony for Gillick and Halladay's inductions into the Phillies Wall of Fame
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (12-3, 2.35 ERA) takes the mound against Marlins right-hander Dan Straily (4-5, 4.41) in the finale of a four-game series at 1:35 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. Nola, Philadelphia's lone All-Star, last faced Miami on July 14, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk in six innings.