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Turning garbage into gold: Phillies 4, Marlins 3

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Alvarado able to lock all windows and doors to pick up a W in series opener

MLB: Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any more painful, and the Phillies’ kryptonite, the NL East-worst 33-44 Miami Marlins, roll into town for a three-game series.

Some good news is that Jean Segura, the Phillies’ best hitter before his injury, returned to the lineup tonight.

Segura made his presence known early by reaching base on a HBP by Marlins’ rookie Trevor Rogers in his first plate appearance.

A batter later, Bryce Harper walked to put two runners on with two outs in the first. Next up was Andrew McCutchen, batting .313 in June entering tonight’s game. Well, Cutch stayed hot by singling in Segura for his 41st RBI of the season, and his 20th of the month.

The RBI-single was then followed by five innings of one-run ball, with Rogers silencing the Phils’ bats...that was until the sixth when Rhys Hoskins hit his 17th homer of the season to make it 2-0. The 419 ft. home run snapped an 0-for-23.

While Rogers was good, Vince Velasquez was even better.

Velasquez pitched seven shutout innings, the first time he’s pitched into the seventh since August 2019, and just the eighth time in his career he’s accomplished the feat. Tonight, he allowed just two hits and struck out seven. You know he was doing something right since he made it onto @PitchingNinja.

Where the rest of the team has been lacking, the starting pitchers have been delivering. According to The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Matt Breen, Velasquez, Zack Wheeler, Aaron Nola, Zach Eflin, and Matt Moore have combined for a 0.30 ERA in their latest starts.

On in relief of Rogers was Anthony Bender, who gave up a double in the seventh to pinch-hitter Odúbel Herrera that scored pinch-hitter Brad Miller, who walked earlier in the inning. Herrera was then able to score on two wild pitches. These were the first runs that Bender had allowed all season.

It was now up to the Phils’ bullpen to pick up six outs to preserve the 4-0 lead. Sigh. Here we go.

Connor Brogdon entered in the eighth, who walked the first batter he faced, Jon Berti, who was able to swipe second base. After a mound visit with J.T., Brogdon struck out the next two batters but then walked pinch-hitter Garrett Cooper with two outs.

Questionably, Joe Girardi opted to lift Brogdon from the game for Jose Alvarado with Jazz Chisholm, Jr. coming up. Alvarado walked Chisholm to load the bases, with Starling Marte on deck. In typical Alvarado fashion, he threw a wild pitch that allowed Berti to score.

It was now 4-1, and with the Phils blowing an NL-leading 22 leads this season, it wasn’t hard to imagine what was coming with the tying run at the plate. However, after Alvarado was checked for substances by the umps and forced to wipe his arm with a towel in the middle of the inning, Marte grounded out. So, crisis averted...for now.

To the ninth we went, with Alvarado trying to pick up the save. LOL. We all knew where this was going. Jesús Aguilar promptly singled, leading to the next batter, Adam Duvall, to hit a 2-run homer to dead-center to bring the Fish within one with no outs.

But hold on, we’re coming in for a landing! Alvarado was, fortunately, able to close it out and pick up the save after inducing two groundouts and a strikeout of former Phillie Jorge Alfaro to end the game.

Whew! Onto tomorrow.