Phillies

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Phillies

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MIAMI — There have been times this season when the Phillies have played poor defense behind Jake Arrieta.

This was not one of them.

Arrieta pitched seven shutout innings to lead the Phillies to a 2-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Friday night. He got the only run he needed on a second-inning RBI double from Aaron Altherr. Maikel Franco smacked his third homer in the last six games for some insurance in the top of the ninth.

In the sixth inning, Altherr had a hand in the defensive play of the game as he teamed with shortstop Scott Kingery to cut down the potential tying run at the plate.

The victory was the Phillies’ 12th in the last 16 games as they improved to 53-40 — a season-best 13 games over .500 — and maintained their first-place standing in the NL East (see story).

The Phillies are nine games into an 11-game road trip that will take them into the All-Star break. They are 6-3 on the trip with Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin slated to pitch the final two games before the break.

Arrieta improved to 7-6 and lowered his ERA to 3.23. He allowed three hits and three walks over his seven innings of work. He struck out three.

The veteran right-hander has allowed a majors-high 15 unearned runs this season, an indication of the poor defense that his mates have played behind him. 

 

Back on June 3, Arrieta singled out Kingery for failing to make a key play behind the pitcher in a loss at San Francisco.

In this game, Kingery came up huge on defense with a run-saving play in the sixth. Cameron Maybin had walked with one out, bringing pinch-hitter Derek Dietrich to the plate. Dietrich smoked a line drive off the top of the right-field wall. It missed being a go-ahead two-run home run by an inch or two. Altherr, who had moved from center field to right at the start of the frame, quickly retrieved the ball and fired a strike to Kingery who in turn fired a strike to catcher Jorge Alfaro to nip Maybin at the plate. Maybin did not slide and Alfaro administered a nice tag on the leg.

Altherr had started the game in center field and Trevor Plouffe got the call in right as Kapler went with all right-handed bats or switch-hitters against Miami lefty Wei-Yin Chen. Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams, both left-handed hitters, did not start. Kapler inserted Herrera in center and moved Altherr, ostensibly for defense, in the sixth inning and the move paid huge dividends.

Victor Arano and Pat Neshek finished up the shutout after Arrieta departed.

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