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Velasquez leads Phillies' 17-K race vs. Marlins

May 17, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez set the tone, working out of a first-inning jam, and struck out 10 in five shutout innings. The bullpen kept the K's coming, Phillies pitchers racking up 17 in a 3-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.Tommy Joseph, who

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez set the tone, working out of a first-inning jam, and struck out 10 in five shutout innings. The bullpen kept the K's coming, Phillies pitchers racking up 17 in a 3-1 win over the Marlins on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.
Tommy Joseph, who picked up his first big league hit on Monday, homered for the first time in his career in a 3-for-4 night. The drive off the foul pole in left in the second inning was the first of three runs (two earned) allowed by Miami lefty Wei-Yin Chen in six innings. The Marlins had their three-game win streak snapped.
"Tonight was all about Tommy Joseph and the bullpen," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "It was nice to see Tommy get his first home run. He made that great play to end the game. Not much more you can ask for from him."

The 17 strikeouts by the Phillies is the most since the club fanned 18 on May 6, 2011, against the Braves, which also is a franchise mark for a nine-inning game. For Miami, the 17 times striking out matches a team high for nine innings, with the last coming on April 10, 2014, at Washington.

Miami had runners on second and third with no outs in the first against Velasquez. But the right-hander worked out of it, and he also stranded runners at the corners in the third. Miami did manage to raise his pitch count, and after 103 pitches and five innings, the Phillies were into their bullpen.
"To win a game when your starter throws over 100 pitches in five innings is really a bonus," Mackanin said.
With the win, the Phils moved a half-game behind the Nationals for first place in the National League East. Miami's Marcell Ozuna had his 16-game hit streak snapped.
"[Velasquez] gets off the hook in the first there, we get him in trouble," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "He's got 75 through three innings. We did a nice job of battling him. He's got good stuff. It seems like from there, we didn't really put anything together until there at the end."
• Marlins can't capitalize on scoring chances
Miami loaded the bases in the ninth against Jeanmar Gomez, who allowed a Derek Dietrch sacrifice fly, but got Martin Prado to ground out to Joseph to seal the win and earn his 15th save.

Joseph's first HR and more: If getting his first Major League hit and home run on back-to-back nights wasn't enough, Joseph piled on, collecting two more hits in addition to his long ball and driving home two of the Phillies' three runs. Tuesday marked the first time Joseph batted cleanup, and Mackanin's decision paid off. It was just the third time in 40 games this season that a Phillies No. 4 hitter recorded three hits. Spanning 202 games since the start of 2015, it was just the 10th such occurrence.

"I didn't expect that," Joseph said of being penciled in the No. 4 hole. "To hit cleanup for this team, who's playing really well right now, it's pretty awesome." More >
Velasquez escapes trouble: Velasquez didn't retire the Marlins 1-2-3 in an inning until the fourth, when he was already at 91 pitches. He allowed the first two to reach base in the first inning, but a strikeout paired with smart play from Freddy Galvis at short prevented any damage.
In the third, Miami again had a runner at third base, but Velasquez got Justin Bour to whiff on a curveball to end the threat. Velasquez dodged trouble all night, but the 103 pitches it took him to do so prevented him from going any deeper. It was his fourth start this season in which he's allowed zero runs on three hits or fewer, but he's only reached the seventh inning once.

"Velasquez, he was just spraying the ball all over the place," Mackanin said.
Chen's quality start: With a worn-down bullpen, the Marlins were in need of a quality start. Chen delivered, going six innings, while giving up three runs (two earned). Ideally, Miami would have liked to have squeezed a seventh inning out of the lefty, but trailing by three, the Marlins lifted him for a pinch-hitter. Chen threw just 85 pitches, 61 for strikes.

"In the bullpen before the game, I didn't really feel well, but I'm happy that during the game I was able to make the adjustments," Chen said through his interpreter. "There also were some hits that weren't hit so hard. But that's just baseball."
Ichiro's pinch-hit single:Ichiro Suzuki is inching closer toward 3,000 hits. The 42-year-old, called upon to pinch-hit in the seventh inning for Chen, swatted an opposite-field single to left. The flare fell just out of the reach of a sprinting Galvis. It was career hit No. 2,949 for Ichiro, now 51 away from 3,000. The pinch-hit also had significance because it gave Miami two runners on and one out in a three-run game.

"I don't really worry about [Giancarlo Stanton] as far as struggling. You don't want him to struggle, but as far as physically, he's fine. It's like everybody else. All these guys are running into stuff and doing stuff. As long as he's OK, and he's able to play, then he keeps playing." -- Mattingly, on Stanton, who struck out three times and made two nice catches in right field

Velasquez is used to posting big strikeout numbers. He fanned 16 Padres in a win on April 14. In the third inning, Velasquez achieved a rarity when he struck out Prado, who had gone 59 at-bats between striking out.
The Marlins picked an opportune time to challenge a close play at third base. Joseph was on third in the sixth inning, and with the Phillies up by three, Miami asked for a replay review on catcher Jeff Mathis' pickoff attempt of Joseph, who dove back into the base as Prado applied the tag. The Marlins challenged the safe call, and after a review of one minute and 33 seconds, the ruling was the call on the field stands.

Marlins: The Marlins wrap up their seven-game road trip, and their three-game set at Philadelphia, on Wednesday at 1:05 p.m. ET at Citizens Bank Park. Tom Koehler (2-3, 5.14 ERA) goes for Miami. On May 7 in a no-decision, Koehler struck out eight Phillies in seven innings.
Phillies:Jeremy Hellickson (3-2, 4.12) takes the ball for the Phils in Wednesday's series finale. Philadelphia will be looking to secure its fourth straight series victory and seventh in its last eight. Hellickson was phenomenal his last time out, going seven innings and only surrendering two unearned runs to the Reds in a 3-2 win.
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Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for since 2002. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.

Evan Webeck is a reporter for based in Philadelphia.