DENVER -- Upset over his early lack of control, rookie right-hander Zach Eflin had a quick heart-to-heart conversation with himself and set things right.
Eflin’s outing did not start out the way he wanted. He walked two of the first four batters he faced, ending a string of 21 straight innings in which he had not issued a walk. And even though he got out of the first unscathed, Eflin knew he had to regain his command to give himself a chance for success in his first career outing at hitter friendly Coors Field.
“As soon as I got out of the inning, I told myself it was unacceptable,” Eflin said. “I don’t really walk guys and I walked two in the same inning. Something wasn’t right but I was able to bounce back and even learn after the first inning. I kept the ball down, kept guys guessing. I attacked the bottom part of the zone.”
Eflin, who went the distance against Atlanta in earning his first big-league win last time out, allowed two runs in six innings. He struck out three and walked two in putting together two straight strong outings. And, especially confidence-wise, the 22 year old continues to move on from his very shaky big-league debut June 14 against Toronto, when he didn’t get out of the third inning while allowing nine runs in 2 ⅔ innings against the powerful Blue Jays.
“You just can’t live in the past,” Eflin said. “You’ve always got to have your head high, your chin up and a positive attitude. I learn after every outing and I learned a lot after that one. I’ve done a good job of keeping the ball down and throwing all my pitches for strikes and keeping the hitters guessing.”
Manager Pete Mackanin noted that excluding the outing in Toronto, Eflin has fashioned a 2.20 ERA in five starts since then.
“Toronto was a tough team to break in against; he just didn’t locate anything,” Mackanin said. “Lately, he started locating better and better. This Rockies team is a darn-good hitting team and he handled them pretty well. I’m very pleased.”
It didn’t hurt that he got plenty of offensive support from his teammates as well.
Cameron Rupp had a career-high four hits, including a home run to break out of an 0 for 12 streak. Maikel Franco added three hits, including his 18th home run of the season.
Rupp and Franco had seven RBIs between them. Franco extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He has had multiple hits in six of those games.
Franco teed off on a 3-0 offering from Jason Motte, connecting for a three-run homer during the Phillies’ four-run eighth inning.
“I knew 3-0 I had to be ready for my pitch, and 100 percent, I knew he wanted to give me the fastball right there,” Franco said. “And I was ready for it and I got good contact on it. It felt great.”
Franco’s homer reached the concourse beyond the left field bleachers, traveling 471 feet. It was the longest home run by a Phillies player since Ryan Howard hit a 473-foot home run on Sept. 9, 2009 in Atlanta.
Rupp's homer on Sunday went nearly as far, going 465 feet into the greenery in dead center.
"They were both good ones," Rupp said. "We know the ball travels well here but you still have to make good swings and you can't miss your pitches. We didn't this weekend."
Freddy Galvis had a pair of hits, recording multiple hits in a career high fifth consecutive game. He had an RBI single in the eighth.
The Phils have won 12 of their last 17 games heading into this week's All-Star break. The schedule picks back up Friday when the New York Mets come to Citizens Bank Park to start a three-game set.