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Phils' patience pays off in 1st in home opener

MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Eventually, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler insisted, the work would pay off.

The Phillies entered Thursday afternoon's home opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park leading baseball by averaging 4.37 pitches per plate appearance. Mets pitchers Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard lasted just five and four innings, respectively, against them earlier this week in New York. But the Phillies also struck out 26 times and scored only two runs.

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PHILADELPHIA -- Eventually, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler insisted, the work would pay off.

The Phillies entered Thursday afternoon's home opener against the Marlins at Citizens Bank Park leading baseball by averaging 4.37 pitches per plate appearance. Mets pitchers Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard lasted just five and four innings, respectively, against them earlier this week in New York. But the Phillies also struck out 26 times and scored only two runs.

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But the Phillies broke through in the first inning of Thursday's 5-0 win over Miami against Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith. Cesar Hernandez worked a six-pitch walk to start the game. Rhys Hoskins and Odubel Herrera each worked five-pitch walks to load the bases.

Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco then hit a 2-2 pitch to left field to score Hernandez and Hoskins to hand the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

"We continue to grind out long at-bats and wear opposing pitchers down," Kapler said. "I think that's something we're going to continue to stay focused on."

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

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