Phillies Battle Back Again, Earn Another 1-run Win Over Marlins


MIAMI -- A flying piece of wood, a collision at first and a tying double by a hitter with a .147 batting average.

Needless to say, there were some unusual events that went the Phillies' way on Sunday.

In the end, it was a one-run game, a scenario that has favored the Phillies 11 out of 14 times this season, the best record in the majors in that category.

"Winning two out of three games from this team was really satisfying," manager Pete Mackanin said after his Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 6-5 at Marlins Park (see Instant Replay), "They're one of the hottest teams in baseball."

Indeed, the Marlins had won 11 of 12 games entering Saturday night. But the Phillies cooled them off, winning the final two games of the three-game series.

The Phillies (18-14) moved ahead of the Marlins (16-14) and into third place in the NL East.

"They're fighting," Marlins reliever David Phelps said of the Phillies. "They put a lot of scrappy at-bats together."

That's exactly how the Phillies were able to rally two nights in a row. They scored three runs in the eighth inning on Saturday night and two in the same frame on Sunday, rallying from deficits each time.

Before Saturday's Miami meltdown, the Marlins' bullpen had strung together 15  scoreless innings.

Miami's bullpen started to come undone in Sunday's seventh inning.

With the score tied 3-3, Odubel Herrera hit a one-out single and stole second. He then scored from second on Cesar Hernandez's broken-bat groundout to first base. Marlins reliever Nefi Ogando avoided the flying piece of wood and covered first on the flip play but could not throw home in time after colliding with Hernandez.

"[Herrera] made the smart playing of not stopping," said Marlins first baseman Justin Bour, who made the flip to Ogando.

After Miami took a 5-4 lead in the bottom of the seventh with two runs that were charged to reliever Andrew Bailey, the Phils battled back again.

Pinch-hitter Ryan Howard started the Phillies' eighth-inning rally by drawing a one-out walk. Tyler Goeddel, who is now hitting .158, tied the score with a double to right-center.

Andres Blanco, also coming off the bench, then plated the go-ahead RBI with his double to virtually the same spot on the field. 

"Goeddel, it was great to see him come up with a big hit finally," Mackanin said. "He needed that, and it was a huge hit. "(Blanco) is special. He seems to come up in a pinch all the time."

Phelps said both Phillies players hit his two-seam fastball.

"I was up in the zone today," Phelps said. "In situations like that, you have to pound the bottom of the zone."

Goeddel, who also made a diving catch in left field in the first inning, said he has been "working hard in the cage" in an effort to improve his stroke.

"The results haven't been there, but to do that in a big part of the game was huge," Goeddel said. "I've been feeling better, and I'm glad I was finally able to come through."

Jeanmar Gomez earned his 11th save and his second in less than 24 hours with a scoreless ninth, striking out dangerous pinch hitter Giancarlo Stanton in the process.

"I knew it all along," Mackanin joked when asked about Gomez's success, ignoring for the moment that the Phillies really had no idea who their closer would be as late as the first week of this season.

"Remember, I said we'd find (a closer). [Gomez] has been really good. He's not a strikeout pitcher. But he's got a good sinker, he's got a good slider, and he's got a good changeup for lefties."

Despite not being a strikeout pitcher, Gomez got Stanton to swing and miss at strike three on a pitch that was low and out of the zone.

"That was a great pitch," Mackanin said. "If you make that pitch to Stanton, you will get him. But if it's six inches closer to him, you don't get him."

Besides Gomez, Herrera, Goeddel and Blanco, three other Phillies stood out on Sunday.

Hernandez went 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and an RBI. He also saved a run by ranging far to his right to field a grounder and throw out Miami's J.T. Realmuto. Hernandez now has a team-high nine multi-hit games, all of them on the road.

Hector Neris (1-1) earned the win with 1  scoreless innings of relief work, getting one strikeout and lowering his ERA to 1.80. It was a good bounce-back game for Neris, who gave up a titanic, game-winning home run to Stanton in the eighth inning on Friday evening.

Starting pitcher Aaron Nola had one bad inning, the fourth, when he allowed three runs. But that's all he gave up in six solid innings. He also escaped injury in the fourth inning when Miami's Christian Yelich smashed a line drive in between his legs.

That may have been the most fortuitous play of the day for the Phillies – even in a game in which a lot of things broke their way.

Nola, though, was just happy his team earned another hard-fought win.

"It feels like we've only had two or three games that weren't one-run games," he said. "I think it's good for us. It makes it much sweeter when we win the close games."

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