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Phils win in 14 on Segura's 1st extra-innings HR

@ToddZolecki
April 14, 2019

PHILADELPHIA -- Jean Segura has a knack for putting the ball in play. It is one of his greatest skills, which is why it could not have been better to see him stepping into the batter’s box in the top of the 14th inning Sunday evening at Marlins Park. Andrew

PHILADELPHIA -- Jean Segura has a knack for putting the ball in play. It is one of his greatest skills, which is why it could not have been better to see him stepping into the batter’s box in the top of the 14th inning Sunday evening at Marlins Park.

Andrew McCutchen had just smacked a one-out triple to left field to put the game-winning run 90 feet from home plate. In a game that featured 31 strikeouts, surely Segura could put the bat on the ball and hit a fly ball somewhere, right? He did better than that. He hit a 0-2 slider from Wei-Yin Chen over the left-field wall for a two-run home run to hand the Phillies a 3-1 victory over the Marlins.

“I was going to the plate trying to put the ball in the air far enough to let McCutchen score,” Segura said. “0-2, I was trying to battle. He hung a slider.”

The Phillies won the series and improved to 9-5 as they open a three-game series Monday night against the Mets at Citizens Bank Park.

“I was just trying to keep the ball down, and avoid throwing it into his hot zones,” Chen said. “He actually was a little bit out in front, but he still managed to hit the ball so firmly. All I can say is he did a good job hitting that pitch.”

It was the Phillies’ pitching that saved the series with the offense struggling. The Phillies are batting .227 with 10 home runs, a .707 OPS and averaging 3.8 runs in their past eight games after batting .280 with 10 home runs, a .914 OPS and averaging 8.2 runs in their first six.

There is no reason to worry about the Phillies’ offense. It should be fine.

“I think hitting is one of those things that can be a little bit hit and miss,” Kapler said. “Sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition for pitching well. I think that we have the ability to score lots of runs in consecutive games. And I think that’s going to happen for us. We just didn’t score that many in that series. We have to continue to work on identifying pitches to drive and getting on those pitches.”

Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez allowed two hits, one run and three walks in six innings. He struck out four. He has a 2.25 ERA after three appearances (two starts), which is encouraging for a rotation that has struggled this season.

Pat Neshek, Adam Morgan, Hector Neris, David Robertson and Seranthony Dominguez threw a combined five scoreless innings in relief. They struck out eight.

But Vìctor Arano stole the show.

You remember Arano, right? He posted a 2.73 ERA in 60 appearances last season, but pitched terribly in Spring Training. It is not an understatement. He allowed 17 hits and allowed 20 runs in just four innings in Grapefruit League action. But after he started the season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, striking out seven and walking one in four scoreless innings, the Phillies recalled him Friday.

After throwing two scoreless frames Friday, he pitched the 12th and 13th innings Sunday, striking out six batters in two scoreless innings.

“I think Arano is kind of the star of the show right now,” Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. “That was really good. And also just the ability to give us some length right there was huge for us. We had a lot of guys in our bullpen step up in a really major way. Obviously Vince had a great outing. [Jose] Alvarez, too. He wore it for us a couple days ago and he’s kind of an incredible teammate so we’re really happy to see him finish the game for us.”

So what happened, Victor?

“In Triple-A that was my main focus, I wanted to work on my slider a lot,” Arano said. “I wanted to get it back to where it was last year.

“It was just a small adjustment I had to make. I wasn’t grabbing it hard enough.”

Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez hit a solo home run just over the right-field wall in the fourth inning to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead. Hernandez entered the game batting .178 in 50 plate appearances, which has had Phillies fans clamoring for more Scott Kingery.

Kingery played Sunday, but he started at third base. He had three hits, including a two-out double in the second. Entering the game with five hits in his previous seven plate appearances, Sunday’s effort only strengthened his case for more playing time, either at second, third or elsewhere.

“It’s kind of a good problem to have,” Kapler said. “We have three guys who are very deserving of playing time at second and third base. It’s something we'll take a close look at, and Kingery can also get out there and play some center field for us. We’ve got some options.”

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .