PHILADELPHIA -- The game was hanging in the balance when Rhys Hoskins stepped in the batter's box during the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies' bullpen needed to record six more outs. Recent history offered no guarantees that would happen with a two-run
PHILADELPHIA -- The game was hanging in the balance when Rhys Hoskins stepped in the batter's box during the bottom of the seventh inning Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies' bullpen needed to record six more outs. Recent history offered no guarantees that would happen with a two-run lead still intact.
"Insurance runs are big, especially against a good offense like the Rockies," Hoskins said. "We've seen the last couple days how they string five, six hits together."
Hoskins whacked a one-out RBI double to ignite a four-run inning for the Phillies in a 9-3 win. He drove in the final insurance run an inning later with an RBI single. Philadelphia's first game with 10 hits or more since May 29 -- and just its second such outing since May 17 -- really got going when he crushed a solo shot in the first inning.
For a slumping slugger, that had to feel good, right?
"It feels normal," Hoskins said. "It feels like it should."
It had not felt that way for some time, though. Hoskins slashed .161/.253/.299 in May. He struck out 22 more times than he walked. The plate discipline that prompted a hot start as a Major Leaguer went missing.
But since returning from the disabled list with a broken jaw on June 9, Hoskins has hit .383 (6-for-17) with two home runs, eight RBIs and three walks. He won't attribute the improvements to a tweak in his approach, but he appears to have finally found a rhythm at the plate.
"Not much has changed," Hoskins said. "I haven't changed anything. I think it's just finally starting to flip the other way.
"We know that we're capable of doing that every time we step on the field. But it's nice to see it finally happen."
Nick Williams crushed a solo shot of his own in the second. Odubel Herrera, Carlos Santana and J.P. Crawford all contributed RBIs. The Phillies logged 13 hits, their most since doing the same on April 13. It all started and ended with Hoskins.
"I think there's some leadership elements there," Phils manager Gabe Kapler said. "We see how [Hoskins] manages an at-bat. We see how calm he is when he's going really good. It's almost like he doesn't mind getting down 0-2 because he knows he's going to get a pitch to hit at some point."
Hoskins fell a triple short of the cycle and collected three hits in a game for the first time all season. The rest of the lineup followed suit, and the Phillies won a series for the first time since May 21-23.
** Joe Bloss ** is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.