PHILADELPHIA -- Fueled by grand slams from third baseman Maikel Franco and outfielder Aaron Altherr, the Phillies cruised to a 20-1 win over the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night, improving to 3-4 on the season with their second straight win.
Right-hander Vince Velasquez pushed through six innings, allowing just a single run on four hits, striking out six and walking just one in earning his first win of the 2018 season.
"A lot of great things happened tonight," said Phillies manager Gabe Kapler. "Carlos got his 1,000th hit [on a three-run home run in an eight-run fourth], which was really cool. Vince had a solid effort.
"But something nobody will be talking about. It will get lost in all this, is the walk Cesar Hernandez had in the first inning to start this all off. He took [a 1-2] count and ended up with a walk. We keep stressing patience and going deep in counts."
Franco -- who had a career-high six RBIs -- and Altherr hit grand slams in the first and third innings, respectively, giving the Phillies a 9-1 lead after 2 2/3 innings against Marlins starter Dillon Peters, who became the first Miami pitcher to allow two slams in the same game. The floodgates opened in the fourth to make it 17-1.
Grand slams mean 40% off pizza
The Phillies last hit two grand slams in a game April 27, 2009, vs. the Washington Nationals, with Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez the hitters.
Franco is adjusting to a new stance he has worked on since Spring Training.
"I really feel comfortable in my new stance," said Franco. "I knew I hit the ball hard [on the grand slam]. I really am trying to see more pitches, go deeper into counts, get better pitches to hit."
The slam was the fourth of Franco's career, the last being April 26, 2017, vs. Wei-Yin Chen of the Marlins.
Kapler feels Franco has made significant progress with his new stance.
"In Spring Training, he was hitting line drives all over the place, but they were getting caught. We preach patience. This shows what can happen."
Kapler was also pleased with Velasquez, who, after scuffling a bit in the first two innings, retired 12 straight, and pitched through the sixth.
"He attacked, using all his pitches," said Kapler. "He attacked, but let the defense help him. That made a big difference. It was a strong effort."
Velasquez surpassed his goal, bouncing back well after a tough opening start March 31, in which he allowed seven runs (four earned) and nine hits in Atlanta.
"I just wanted to get to five,'' said Velasquez. "That was my goal. I had to make five. I was happy I got to six."
Jake Thompson finished the game and was credited with a save -- the Phillies' first of the season -- even though he entered the game in the seventh inning with an 18-run lead. That's because by rule, a pitcher is eligible for a save regardless of the score in the game if he pitches at least three innings. Thompson tossed three scoreless frames, allowing one hit and striking out four.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Keep the line moving: The Marlins actually struck first, scoring in the first inning, but the Phillies' five-run first set the tone. The big inning was set in motion by Hernandez drawing a leadoff walk. Peters' second walk in the inning was to Rhys Hoskins with the bases loaded, which tied the game at 1. The two free passes helped set the stage for Franco's slam.
"This is why you don't evaluate baseball on three or four games, but on a lot more. We have to keep working." -- Kapler
"You need a few of these along the way.'' -- Hoskins
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Thompson became the first pitcher to save a game his team won by 19 or more runs since Texas' Wes Littleton (30-3 win over the Orioles on Aug. 22, 2007).
Offseason free-agent signee Jacob Arrieta makes his first start with the Phillies on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. He is 2-0 with an 0.60 ERA and 16 strikeouts in his 15 career innings at Citizens Bank Park. Both shortstop J.P. Crawford and outfielder Nick Williams, who have sat out the last few games, are expected to return to the starting lineup Sunday.
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