Vince Velasquez again had Phillies officials holding their breath.
This time, they were able to exhale.
Pitching at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since June 8 when he departed after just two pitches, Velasquez needed checking following five pitches on Sunday.
The 24-year-old, activated off the 15-day disabled list Monday from a right biceps strain, remained in the game, saw his velocity increase with each pitch and effectively led the Phillies to a 7-2 win over the Royals.
The Phillies (37-46) took two of three games from the defending World Series champion Royals (43-38), winning consecutive series for the first time since May 13-18.
Kansas City is 27-11 at home but 16-27 on the road.
Starting pitching report
It was déjà vu for Velasquez and the Phillies.
Velasquez, whose fastball clocks at an average of 95 mph, hit 87, 90, 90 and 85 in four pitches to Royals leadoff man Alex Gordon, who singled.
It took just one more toss for the Phillies to call time as manager Pete Mackanin accompanied a trainer to the mound, joining catcher Cameron Rupp and the rest of the infield.
As the right-hander stayed in, his velocity gained steam. He worked out of a first-and-third, two-out jam in the opening frame by striking out Cheslor Cuthbert, an at-bat in which Velasquez climbed to 95 on the radar gun.
On the game, Velasquez maxed out at 96 and consistently hovered in the 91-to-93 mph range. He finished six innings of two-run ball in 96 pitches, while striking out seven, walking two and surrendering a homer.
In two starts off the DL, Velasquez has allowed two runs over 11 innings to go with 14 strikeouts and two walks.
Unlike the Phillies, the Royals did not escape the injury bug. Starting right-hander Yordano Ventura exited with a left ankle sprain after yielding four runs on a pair of homers in 2 2/3 innings.
At the plate
The Phillies scored at least four runs for the 10th time in the last 12 games.
They entered Sunday hitting .319 since June 21, best in baseball.
Rupp staked Velasquez to a 3-0 lead by blasting an opposite field, three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning.
Cody Asche added to it in the third with a solo home run into the second deck of right field. The leftfielder’s batting average has jumped from .200 to .286 in 17 games.
Maikel Franco went 3 for 4 with his 14th home run in 77 games. Last season, Franco had 14 in 80 games. He's had multiple hits in six of his last nine contests.
Peter Bourjos extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single. Since June 21, Bourjos is second in the majors with 21 hits, behind only Angels outfielder Mike Trout.
Six of the Phillies' seven runs came with two outs.
Alex Gordon provided Kansas City’s offense with a two-run homer in the fifth inning.
Edubray Ramos, Hector Neris and Jeanmar Gomez pitched a scoreless inning apiece to seal Velasquez’s win.
Royals relievers Dillon Gee and Brian Flynn combined for 5 1/3 innings of three-run ball.
In the field
The Phillies did not commit an error after making 20 in their previous 16 games.
Cesar Hernandez turned a nice double play in the third inning when he tagged out a runner while charging and then throwing to first to complete it.
Nola to be skipped
Aaron Nola has been struggling and manager Pete Mackanin was toying with the notion of skipping his next start. After Sunday's win, it was announced that Nola would not make his next scheduled start Thursday night in Colorado. A replacement has not been named. In his last five starts, the 23-year-old righty is 0-4 with a 13.50 ERA.
Reliever Dalier Hinojosa (right hand contusion), on a rehab stint at Triple A Lehigh Valley, will stay with the IronPigs after being activated from the disabled list on Sunday.
Hinojosa has not pitched with the Phillies since April 28. He’s 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 11 innings of work.
The Phillies welcome the Braves for a three-game series starting the Fourth of July. Leading with the Phillies, here are the probable starters:
Monday, 4:05 p.m. — RHP Jerad Eickhoff (5-9, 3.38) vs. RHP Joel De La Cruz (0-1, 4.50)
Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. — RHP Zach Eflin (0-2, 5.75) vs. RHP Mike Foltynewicz (2-2, 3.72)
Wednesday, 1:05 p.m. — RHP Jeremy Hellickson (6-6, 4.06) vs. RHP Julio Teheran (3-7, 2.72)