The Phillies got a terrific start from Vince Velasquez and some clutch relief work from Victor Arano and Seranthony Dominguez in beating the Miami Marlins, 5-1, at Citizens Bank Park on Friday night.
The victory was the improved Phillies' third in a row. They are 61-48 after 109 games.
The Phillies won just 66 games last season.
The win, in front of 33,737 on a night when the team paid tribute to Shane Victorino (see story), enabled the Phillies to stay a half-game up on second-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves beat the Mets, 2-1, in New York.
The Phils scored just two runs through the first seven innings. Jorge Alfaro and Roman Quinn had big hits to key a three-run eighth inning as the Phils gained some late insurance.
Velasquez was a big part of the Phillies' offense. He led off the bottom of the third inning with a double and scored the Phillies' first run on a one-out hit by Rhys Hoskins, who has 15 RBIs in his last 13 games.
In the seventh, the Phillies increased their lead to 2-0. Cesar Hernandez drew a two-out walk, moved to third on a double by Hoskins and scored on a wild pitch.
Velasquez (8-8) pitched two-hit ball over 6 1/3 shutout innings. He walked one and struck out seven. His season ERA is down to 3.80 in 113 2/3 innings. He has given up just two runs in 25 1/3 innings since coming off the disabled list (forearm bruise) on July 11. The right-hander, talented but often inconsistent, seems to be putting it together.
Things got a little hairy for the Phillies in the top of the seventh. Brian Anderson led off the inning with a double against Velasquez and took third on a ground out. Manager Gabe Kapler went to newcomer Aaron Loup, a lefty, against lefty-hitting Justin Bour. Loup hit Bour with a pitch, putting runners at the corners with one out. Arano came on and got two quick outs to protect the Phillies' 1-0 lead.
The Marlins stirred again in the top of the eighth and scored a two-out run against Pat Neshek to make it a 2-1 game. Kapler went to Dominguez with runners on the corners and the power-armed right-hander struck out J.T. Realmuto on three pitches to preserve the lead.
The Phils rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth, two on a double by Quinn, to give Dominguez some breathing room in the top of the ninth. He recorded his 12th save.