PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies manager Pete Mackanin told Rhys Hoskins to swing away, and the powerful rookie slugger showed why.
Hoskins homered and drove in five runs, Mark Leiter Jr. allowed one hit over seven innings, and Philadelphia rode that rookie tandem to an 8-0 victory over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.
With runners at first and second with no outs in the third inning and the Phillies ahead 2-0, Hoskins asked Mackanin whether to try to advance the runners by making contact to the opposite field or drive them in.
“I said, ‘We’re paying you to drive runs in,'” Mackanin said.
Hoskins did just that by launching Justin Nicolino’s 3-2 pitch an estimated 445 feet into the upper deck in left field, a three-run shot that put Philadelphia in front 5-0.
“The more that at-bat went on, the more comfortable I got,” Hoskins said. “He left the pitch over the middle of the plate and I didn’t miss.”
Hoskins continued to impress. He has clubbed seven homers in 14 games since his call-up from Triple-A earlier this month. He has 16 RBIs during that time.
“The thing about Hoskins is he knows the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “He looks like a professional hitter, he’s not afraid to get behind in the count, he’s not afraid to go the other way, he wants to drive in the run.”
Leiter (2-3) didn’t allow a hit until Miguel Rojas doubled to lead off the sixth with a hard chopper that bounded over the head of drawn-in third baseman Maikel Franco. He struck out five and walked two to help the Phillies rebound from a doubleheader sweep Tuesday in which the Marlins homered six times while scoring 19 runs.
“He was good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “He kept us off-balanced. We never really got anything going.”
Miami couldn’t muster anything close to that kind of offense against the 26-year-old Leiter, who averages less than 90 mph with his fastball. A 22nd-round draft pick, Leiter had a 19.29 ERA in three previous appearances against the Marlins, but the left-hander baffled the Marlins with a mix of changeups, sliders and a well-positioned fastball.
Leiter is the son of former Phillies pitcher Mark Leiter and the nephew of two-time All-Star left-hander Al Leiter.
After reaching .500 for the first time since April with Tuesday’s sweep, the Marlins dropped to 62-63. They began the day 5 ½ games behind Colorado for the second NL wild card but also behind Milwaukee and St. Louis.
Nicolino (2-2) lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up six runs and eight hits.
After Tommy Joseph’s two-out RBI double in the first gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead, Philadelphia broke out with five runs on six hits in the third.
Hoskins put Philadelphia in front 8-0 in the sixth with a two-run double just inside third base.
Leiter’s outing was a much-needed one for the Phillies, who used six relievers on Tuesday and recalled right-hander Drew Anderson prior to the game to shore up the bullpen.
ANOTHER ROOKIE DOING WELL
Phillies rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro doubled in the third inning has a hit in all nine of his games this season.
A STEP BACK
Nicolino was making his third start since getting demoted to Triple-A in July. The left-hander had allowed two runs in 10 1/3 innings in his previous two starts, but he struggled against Philadelphia.
“I kind of put this whole game on myself, especially what we did yesterday taking two and knowing the bullpen was a little taxed,” he said. “That’s the biggest disappointment. My job was to go out there and go deep in that ballgame so for me that was the most frustrating part.”
Mattingly said afterward that reliever Odrisamer Despaigne would make a spot start on Friday or Saturday against the Padres. Despaigne threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Wednesday.
Marlins: 3B Derek Dietrich was in the lineup and showed no ill effects after fouling a ball hard off his left in the nightcap of Tuesday’s doubleheader.
Marlins: RHP Vance Worley (2-3, 4.82) closes out the four-game series on Thursday for the Marlins. Worley is 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in four games, including two starts, against his former club.
Phillies: RHP Jake Thompson (1-1, 4.20) is expected to be recalled from Triple-A and get the ball for Philadelphia. Thompson would be making his third start.
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)