Andres Blanco, Jorge Alfaro knock in runs as Phillies rally in the ninth to beat Marlins

Andres Blanco, Jorge Alfaro knock in runs as Phillies rally in the ninth to beat Marlins

MIAMI – The Phillies offense dragged for eight innings on Friday night, appearing as lifeless as the crowd that scattered the lower bowl of Marlins Park. They had four hits and were mystified by a 5-foot-9 lefthander that jumped from double A to make his major-league debut.

Then Maikel Franco cracked a leadoff double in the ninth and a 2-1 win was born. Jorge Alfaro blooped a single to right to score Franco. Andres Blanco then provided the game-winning groundout, scoring Pedro Florimon on a soft tapper to second. It was not pretty but it was a win.

The rally took Nick Pivetta off the hook. He would have been saddled with the loss despite pitching six strong innings. The righthander struck out six, walked three, and allowed four hits in six innings.

Pivetta needed just 13 pitches on Friday night to put himself in serious trouble. He loaded the bases without an out in the first inning. Danger was near.

But Pivetta escaped, yielded just a run, and rallied to turn in one of the best outings of his rookie year, striking out six, walked three, and allowed four hits in six innings. He battled to keep the Phillies in it. Pivetta found command of his fastball as the game waned and paired it with an effective curveball.

The Phillies do not know who the four pitchers will be next season that they pair with Aaron Nola. Pivetta made his case on Friday.

Pivetta began the night with an infield single to Dee Gordon. He then walked Giancarlo Stanton on four-straight balls. He walked Christian Yelich on five pitches. It was shaping up to be an early night. Marcell Ozuna smoked the first pitch he saw, but it was hit straight at Tommy Joseph for an out. Pivetta struck out Realmuto with a curveball. He yielded a run on a wild pitch before Anderson grounded out to end the inning. Disaster diverted.

The night came just 10 days since the Marlins chased Pivetta after four outs. It would have been easy to fold on Friday when the bases were loaded. But Pivetta chose to persevere.

Dillon Peters stymied the Phillies in his major-league debut. He pitched seven scoreless innings, struck out eight and walked three. Peters allowed just two runners to reach second base. Peters yielded just three hits, two of which came from Tommy Joseph. The Phillies never threatened him.

Rhys Hoskins went 0 for 3 with a walk and three strikeouts to snap his 13-game hitting streak. He has reached base safely in 16-straight games.

Pivetta avoided trouble again in the fifth after Dee Gordon led off with a single and appeared to steal second. The speedy runner slid past the bag and was tagged out. Pivetta then caught Giancarlo Stanton looking at a fastball. Pivetta picked up his sixth strikeout in the sixth, throwing a nasty curveball that brought Pablo Ozuna to his knees after he swung past it.

Pivetta walked back to the dugout and slapped hands with teammates, celebrating him for pitching six strong innings. It was a scene that seemed far from possible just 90 minutes earlier.


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Published at Sat, 02 Sep 2017 02:07:37 +0000

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