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Phillies Close in on 1st Place in NL East With Dominant Sweep of Giants


The Phillies finished up a terrific four-day stretch of all-around baseball with a 6-3 win over the San Francisco Giants on Thursday afternoon.

With the win, the Phils posted an impressive four-game sweep of a Giants team that had won its previous five series, including a weekend sweep of Atlanta. The Giants outscored the Braves, 24-9, in that series.

Less than two months into the season, the Phils have four sweeps, including two of four games. They had not swept the Giants in a four-game series since May 13-16, 1982.

Pitching and power dominated the sweep for the Phillies. They hit nine home runs in the four games. Carlos Santana had three of them, including a game-changing three-run shot Thursday afternoon that gave the Phillies a 4-3 lead.

Starting pitcher Vince Velasquez delivered a quality start. He went six innings and gave up three runs, all on a pair of home runs in the first two innings as he fell behind, 3-0. Velasquez was able to survive the Giants' early outburst and become dominant. He struck out 12, including three in the second inning (after two-run homer by Alen Hanson) and three in the fourth (see story).

Velasquez departed with a two-run lead that bullpen protected nicely. Power-armed rookie Seranthony Dominguez registered his third scoreless inning since arriving from Triple A on Monday. Luis Garcia and Hector Neris closed it out.

Phillies starting pitching was strong in the entire series. It allowed just four runs in 24 2/3 innings. It walked four and struck out 40.

At 22-15, the Phillies are just an Atlanta loss on Thursday night away from holding down sole possession of first place in the NL East. The Phils are 15-2 against teams from outside the NL East. They are 7-13 in the division with three games coming up against the division-rival New York Mets starting on Friday night.

In addition to hitting the go-ahead homer in the fourth, Santana had a good game defensively. He made a diving stab of a ground ball by Kelby Tomlinson with two outs in the top of the seventh. Santana got the out at first but left the field with a slight limp. Afterward, he said he banged his left knee but was fine.

• Odubel Herrera had three hits and drove in two runs. He has reached base in 39 straight games and leads the NL in batting average at .353.

• The Phillies sent reliever Zac Curtis to Triple A and recalled right-hander Jake Thompson. The departure of Curtis left the Phillies without a left-handed pitcher on the active roster. Lefty reliever Adam Morgan is on the disabled list with a back strain.

• The Phillies open a three-game series with the Mets on Friday night. Jake Arrieta (3-1, 3.15) starts the opener against Mets lefty Steven Matz (1-3, 4.23). Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.71) opposes Noah Syndergaard (2-1, 3.09) on Saturday night. Aaron Nola (5-1, 2.05) and Jacob deGrom (3-0, 1.87) are the pitchers in the final game of the series on Sunday.

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