Joseph cleans up in third career game

Batting fourth, rookie homers, plates a pair

May 18th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- Less than 24 hours after receiving a standing ovation while standing on first base after his first big league hit, Tommy Joseph stepped on the bag again -- but didn't stay there very long.

Joseph's second-inning solo homer bounced off the left-field foul pole, and the 24-year-old first baseman trotted around the Citizens Bank Park basepaths for the first time. The home run would be almost all the Phillies needed in a 3-1 victory over the Marlins on Tuesday night, but Joseph didn't stop there.

He singled to right in the fourth and to center in the sixth, where Marcell Ozuna misplayed the ball and let Joseph get to third and Cesar Hernandez to score the Phillies' third and final run. By the time Jeanmar Gomez recorded the final out, when Joseph made a diving stop at first base, he was 3-for-4.

"Tonight was all about Tommy Joseph and the bullpen," 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."

Not since 2009 has a Phillies player homered in a multihit effort within his first three Major League games. It's been done 11 times in franchise history, but the last to do so was John Mayberry Jr., going 2-for-3 against the Yankees on May 23, 2009.

Joseph's big night gets even larger when put into context. Mackanin threw him into the cleanup hole because, "Why not?" he joked pregame. But Joseph gave his manager a better answer going forward.

"I didn't expect that," Joseph said of seeing his name in the No. 4 slot on the lineup card. "To hit cleanup for this team, which is playing pretty well right now, it's pretty awesome."

Only three times this season has a Phillies No. 4 hitter recorded three hits in a game -- Joseph joining Maikel Franco, who had three singles against the Padres on April 11, and Ryan Howard, who enjoyed a 3-for-5 night against the Indians on April 29. In 202 games since the start of 2015, it's now only been done 10 times.

Despite the big game, Mackanin said the plan is to stick to the platoon at first base with Howard. Joseph, however, likely won't get pulled against righty relievers like Darin Ruf did. The rookie can hit right-handers, but it's important to Mackanin to keep Howard in the lineup, too.

"I might mix in Joseph against a couple of right-handers here and there," Mackanin said. "But Howie's still a big a part of the team. We all know what he's capable of doing. It's nice to see Joseph add some offense to the team, but we'll just play it a day at a time."

The Marlins' Wei-Yin Chen is the last lefty starter the Phillies will face for the foreseeable future, but Joseph will get his chances against righties when the Phils head to Detroit a series from now, where he and Howard will share first base and designated hitter duties.