The Phillies used power in the batter’s box and on the pitcher’s mound in rolling past the San Francisco Giants, 11-0, in the opener of a four-game series and seven-game homestand Monday night.
Ten of the Phillies’ 11 runs came on home runs, two by Odubel Herrera and one each by Cesar Hernandez and Carlos Santana.
Herrera belted a long, three-run homer to center off Jeff Samardzija in the first inning. He added a two-run shot in the sixth against reliever D.J. Snelton. Hernandez took Samardzija into the second deck above right field with a runner on base in the fourth inning. Santana drove a three-run homer over the centerfield wall in the fifth against Snelton.
The four home runs provided more than enough offense for Zach Eflin. The 24-year-old right-hander pitched shutout ball for 6 2/3 innings. He gave up just four hits, walked three and struck out a career-high nine.
Typically a sinker-baller who pitches to contact, Eflin struck out just 4.7 batters per nine innings over 22 starts in 2016 and 2017. His strikeout total on Monday night was fueled by a big fastball. Fifty-seven of his 109 pitches were four-seam fastballs. The pitch averaged 94.2 miles per hour and topped out at 96.9 mph. That’s power (see story).
Eflin has made two starts since coming up from Triple A Lehigh Valley and allowed just seven hits in 13 2/3 innings. He gave up over 10 hits per nine innings in his first two seasons in the majors.
Eflin cooled off one of the hottest teams in the majors. The Giants entered as winners of four in a row and 11 of their last 14. They scored 24 runs in a three-game, weekend sweep of the Braves and had averaged 5.63 runs per game since April 20, third most in the majors over that span.
The Phillies, meanwhile, entered the game with one of the coldest offenses in baseball, averaging just 3.42 runs per game since April 24, fourth lowest in the majors over that span.
Right-hander Seranthony Dominguez, called up earlier in the day from Triple A, made his big-league debut with a perfect eighth inning. He struck out one and hit 97 mph on the radar gun (see story).
Hernandez and Rhys Hoskins, the Nos. 1 and 2 hitters in the Phillies’ lineup, helped the team get going in the first inning. They both walked against Samardzija. Herrera then followed by unloading on a first-pitch fastball. The three-run shot landed in the upper-tier bullpen beyond the center-field wall.
🔥🔥 ODUBEL 🔥🔥— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) May 7, 2018
He hits a 3-run homer in the 1st to give the Phillies an early lead! pic.twitter.com/yMXxQ9IKQt
Herrera has reached base safely in 36 straight games, dating to last season. He is hitting .345 with a .400 on-base percentage and .532 slugging percentage over that span.
He is hitting .341 this season.