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Phils alone in 1st as De Los Santos wins debut

Franco, Herrera go deep to support rookie's 6 1/3 quality innings
July 10, 2018

NEW YORK -- Enyel De Los Santos walked down the clubhouse steps and into the visitors' dugout Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field. He took a seat on the bench by himself. He soaked in the scene alone.De Los Santos said he felt nervous before he made his Major League debut

NEW YORK -- Enyel De Los Santos walked down the clubhouse steps and into the visitors' dugout Tuesday afternoon at Citi Field. He took a seat on the bench by himself. He soaked in the scene alone.
De Los Santos said he felt nervous before he made his Major League debut Tuesday night in a 7-3 victory over the Mets. He said he wanted to clear his mind. He showed plenty of poise a few hours later, allowing five hits, three runs and three walks and striking out six in 6 1/3 innings to earn the win.
"This is a dream come true," he said.
The victory, coupled with the Braves' loss to Toronto, gave Philadelphia (51-39) sole possession of first place in the National League East for the first time since May 26.
De Los Santos, 22, got a spot start Tuesday because of Monday's doubleheader and because Vince Velasquez is not eligible to be activated from the 10-day disabled list until Wednesday. De Los Santos, who is the organization's No. 11 prospect, got optioned back to Triple-A Lehigh Valley after the game. But based on his performance and pedigree, he figures to be the first pitcher back if the Phillies need another starter at some point this season.

They might. The Phillies are in a pennant race. If he returns, it will be because the Phils are trying to win games down the stretch, more than sticking with a young pitcher they are trying to develop.
"I think I showed them that I'm capable of doing really good things here," De Los Santos said. "I'm confident. I think I did a pretty good job, so yeah. Hopefully I opened some eyes."
De Los Santos has been on the Phillies' radar for some time. They acquired him from the Padres for Freddy Galvis in December. He went 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts with Lehigh Valley, earning him the start in the Triple-A All-Star Game, which he will miss because it is on Wednesday. He also has been selected as the Phillies' lone representative in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park on Sunday.
"I was going to start the Triple-A game, but this was much better," he said. "This is an opportunity that I cannot pass up."

De Los Santos walked the leadoff hitter in both the first and second innings, but neither advanced. He allowed a run in the third inning when Amed Rosario tripled after Rhys Hoskins crashed violently into the wall. Rosario scored on a sacrifice fly.
De Los Santos retired 10 of 11 batters at one point before the Mets scored twice in the seventh. His teammates enthusiastically patted him on the back as Phillies manager Gabe Kapler removed him from the game.
"It was impressive," Hoskins said. "We had heard about the stuff, but I was most impressed by how he commanded his pitches and his offspeed stuff for strikes. He had three walks. That's pretty good to calm the nerves and perform under the bright lights for the first time and [to] be in the strike zone was impressive."

"What first came to mind was Curt Schilling in 2004, the year we won the World Series," Kapler said, referring to his former Red Sox teammate, "very emphatically saying that in order to win a World Series you need not 25 guys, you need 35. And I thought this was a very clear indication that you need to have guys come up and make big starts for you. You need to have guys come up and get big clutch pinch-hits for you. And sometimes they need to be in your organization. You can't always go out and get them. So it was really nice to have a guy come up, in our organization, a guy that has been developed by our staff at Triple-A … that's an indication of a healthy organization."

Be like Maik: Franco ripped a two-out, three-run home run to left field in the second inning against Mets rookie Andrew Gagnon -- also making his Major League debut -- giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. Franco is hitting .440 (11-for-25) with one double, two home runs, seven RBIs and a 1.237 OPS in eight games since Kapler started hitting him eighth on July 3. He is hitting .412 with a 1.180 OPS in 17 games since June 23.
• Mets mess with Franco by trying to push him off bases
"I'm not even thinking about it that way," Franco said, asked if hitting eighth has motivated him. "I'm not even thinking. I'm just trying to come in, if I'm playing and I'm in the lineup, it doesn't really matter what position I hit. I just try to go out there and play my game and do everything I can do for my team. Nothing is going to change. For me, everything is going to be the same. I just try to go out there and play my game." More >

Williams delivers:Nick Williams hit a one-out single to center field in the third inning to score two runs to make it 5-0. After going 3-for-5 on Tuesday, Williams is hitting .276 with 10 home runs, 29 RBIs and an .867 OPS since May 6, earning himself more regular playing time in right field.

Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera hit a solo home run to right field in the fifth inning to make it 6-1. It was Herrera's 16th homer of the season, setting a career high. He hit 15 homers in 2016 and 14 in '17.
"He's got as much power as anybody on our club," Kapler said. "And when he drives the ball, he drives it in the air often."

Hoskins crashed violently into the left-field wall chasing Rosario's fly ball in the third inning. As soon as the play ended, Kapler and head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan ran onto the field to take a look. Hoskins immediately waved them off. He stayed in the game.
"I saw a replay during the game and I thought it was every part of grace and athleticism put together," Hoskins said. " No, honestly I laughed when I saw it. Obviously, thank God that I'm OK. Just going after the ball."
Hoskins ditched his double-flapped helmet Tuesday because he learned that his jaw, which he fractured earlier this season, is completely healed.

"There's a consideration there. On the flip side, I feel like there's something to him in that spot. Since he's been in that spot he's been producing. It's constantly under evaluation." -- Kapler, on possibly moving up Franco in the lineup
Velasquez (5-8, 4.69 ERA) faces Mets right-hander Jacob deGrom (5-4, 1.79 ERA) in Wednesday night's series finale at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. ET. Velasquez rejoins the rotation after spending the past 10 days on the disabled list with a bruised right forearm. Folks might remember that Velasquez took a line drive off his arm, but picked up the ball and threw left-handed to first base to record the out against the Nationals.

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