Franco, Altherr Slam Marlins in 20-1 Win

Where did that come from?

The Phillies offense exploded behind two grand slams and a three-run home run to beat the Marlins 20-1, leveling Vince Velasquez‘ record at 1-1 on the season. In between the long-ball parade came a number of patient at-bats that led to key walks or hits throughout the game.

“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 it all off,” said manager Gabe Kapler following the win.

Hernandez worked his way back from a 1-2 count to draw a leadoff walk with the Phillies down 1-0 in the bottom of the first. Carlos Santana followed with the 999th hit of his career, a line drive single to right, and Scott Kingery followed with another line drive single to load the bases. Rhys Hoskins watched four straight pitches go by out of the strike zone to walk and force in a run to tie the game. After starter Dillon Peters struck out Odubel Herrers, Maikel Franco launched a long home run on a 2-2 fastball out over the plate for the fourth grand slam of his career. Peters rebounded to retire the next two batters and keep the Phillies lead at 5-1 – temporarily.

In the bottom of the third, Hoskins and Herrera picked up one-out singles to put runners on first and second and a walk to Franco loaded the bases for Aaron Altherr who lifted a home run to left field breaking the game wide open and making it 9-1.

The real damage came in the bottom of the fourth. Hoskins drew another walk and went to third on a double from Herrera and Franco just missed his second home run of the day, but drove in both runners with a double to left-center. Altherr then walked and Jorge Alfaro singled to center to make it 12-1. Vince Velasquez followed with his second hit of the day to load the bases for Cesar Hernandez, who grounded out, but pushed a run across on the play. Santana then stepped to the plate and made his 1,000th career hit one to remember when he lifted a fly ball to right that carried out of the park and give the Phillies a 16-1 advantage. Kingery then walked and scored on a double by Hoskins before Herrera struck out to end the inning.

In the eight-run fourth, six straight hitters reached base and at one point, nine of the 10 batters to come to the plate all reached base.

In the sixth, with one out, the Phillies got three straight hits and a sacrifice fly to score two more runs and make it 19-1. The following inning, Alfaro hit his first home run of the season to cap the scoring.

Vince Velasquez looked like he was going to have trouble reaching the five-inning mark when he was getting hit around in the first two innings and his pitch count started to climb. With the comfortable lead, he started going after hitters more aggressively and was able to go six innings, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk. He also struck out six hitters and finished throwing 98 pitches.

In a weird quirk of the save rule, Jake Thompson, who threw the final three innings, allowing just one hit and striking out four, picked up the first save of his major league career and the first save of the season for the Phillies. The rule states that any pitcher who throws the final three innings of a game, regardless of the score when he enters the game, is to be credited with a save.

In all, the Phillies collected 20 hits, eight of which were for extra bases and they drew six walks. Unfortunately, their hitters did strike out 11 times in the game. Franco finished with a career-high six RBI and Altherr’s grand slam was the third of his career. The 27-year old outfielder is now 5-for-15 (.333) with a triple, three home runs and a walk in his career when batting with the bases loaded.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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