MIAMI (AP) — Aaron Altherr drove in his first run of July and later started a sensational relay to protect the lead, helping Jake Arrieta and the NL East-leading Philadelphia Phillies top the Miami Marlins 2-0 on Friday night.
Arrieta pitched seven innings of three-hit ball. Victor Arano got three outs and Pat Neshek finished the three-hitter for his first save.
Maikel Franco hit his 13th homer of the season in the ninth for the Phillies, who have won 10 of their last 13.
Altherr, who came in hitting only .169, doubled in Scott Kingery in the second inning for all the support Arrieta (7-6) would need. The 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner struck out three and walked three.
Arrieta faced the minimum 15 batters through five innings, helped by two double plays and a pickoff of Cameron Maybin.
His defense was even better in the sixth, protecting what was then a 1-0 lead.
Pinch hitter Derek Dietrich drove a ball within a couple inches of clearing the fence in right. Altherr — who had just shifted from center to right to start the inning — played the carom, got a one-hopper relay throw to Kingery in short right. Kingery turned and fired the ball to Jorge Alfaro barely in time for him to slap a tag on the back of Maybin’s leg before he could get a cleat on home plate.
For Marlins starter Wei-Yin Chen (2-7), it was another brilliant home showing. He allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out eight — his most since May 2016 — and walking one. At home this season, his ERA is now 1.83. On the road, it’s 10.47.
It was the ninth time the Marlins have been blanked this season, three of those coming against the Phillies.
Phillies: Philadelphia was playing its third game in three cities in three days — at the Mets on Wednesday, at Baltimore on Thursday and then the opener in Miami. So the lineup got shook up a bit, with newly called-up Trevor Plouffe getting his first start of 2018 and batting third, Kingery batting fifth for the 10th time this year and Alfaro in the No. 6 hole for the third time.
Marlins: OF Lewis Brinson’s right hip injury is worse than first thought. Originally thought to be merely inflammation, Brinson has now been diagnosed with a bone bruise and could be out for several more weeks. Brinson is hitting only .186 this season.
Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley, a Phillies legend, said Friday he is retiring after this season. That brought up a certain memory for Phillies manager Gabe Kapler, who was there for Utley’s first hit. Kapler was the starting right fielder for Colorado on April 24, 2003, and that initial Utley hit — a grand slam — sailed over his head on its way toward becoming a souvenir. “I remember it well,” Kapler said.
Imagine this: Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto is going to the All-Star Game, and that selection isn’t even the best part of his week. Realmuto was back in the lineup Friday night after missing three games for the birth of his daughter. “It’s definitely been an exciting week so far,” Realmuto said.
The Phillies are 53-40 through 93 games. That’s better than their 1980 and 2008 World Series champion teams were this deep into a season — the Phillies were 48-45 in 1980, 50-43 in 2008. Meanwhile, the 2017 Marlins had Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, Dee Gordon and Marcell Ozuna. The 2018 Marlins don’t, and it barely has mattered. Through 96 games last season, the Marlins were 44-52 — this season, they’re 39-57.
RHP Aaron Nola (12-2, 2.27 ERA) tries to become the NL’s first 13-game winner when he gets the ball for the Phillies on Saturday afternoon. RHP Trevor Richards (2-5, 5.24 ERA) starts for Miami.
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