Rhys Hoskins belted the go-ahead home run and Zach Eflin pitched a gem one day before his 25th birthday to lead the Phillies to a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon.
The Phillies took two of three in the interleague series to improve to 6-2.
Hoskins' third homer of the season, a two-run shot capping a tremendous at-bat, came with two outs in the sixth.
Eflin pitched seven innings of one-run ball to go to 2-0.
Relievers David Robertson, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris combined for the final six outs to close out the one-run victory. Neris got the final three outs for the save.
• Hoskins’ at-bat in the bottom of the sixth against Minnesota starter Jose Berrios was a magnificent nine-pitch battle in which the Phillies’ cleanup man fouled off three full-count offerings before planting a breaking ball in the flower boxes in left-center.
Hoskins GOLFS one into the stands in left to give the Phillies the lead! pic.twitter.com/VSSMY8IR8E— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 7, 2019
Berrios gave up just two hits in six innings.
• Manager Gabe Kapler showed confidence in Eflin in sending him back to the mound for the top of the seventh inning. Eflin was at 95 pitches, but had ended the previous inning with a strikeout on a 95-mph fastball. Pitching with a one-run lead thanks to Hoskins’ homer, Eflin responded with a 1-2-3 seventh inning to end his day. Kapler’s decision to stick with Eflin is the kind of move that builds confidence in a pitcher and pays dividends down the road.
• Andrew McCutchen has debuted brilliantly at the plate and on the base paths with his new club. He added defense to the mix in this game by cutting down a run at the plate with a great throw in the fourth inning. In a one-run contest, it was a game changer and the crowd of 39,735 gave him a standing ovation.
What. A. Throw.— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) April 7, 2019
Andrew McCutchen keeps it a one-run game with a laser from left field. pic.twitter.com/DefJfos2ul
The right-hander allowed a leadoff homer to Max Kepler (he homered in all three games of the series) but pitched shutout ball the rest of the way. He gave up six hits, walked none and struck out five.
Eflin has been the Phillies’ best starter so far. In two outings, he has given up just one run over 12 innings. He has walked one, struck out 14 and allowed nine hits.
Roman Quinn had three hits, including a homer, a walk and three runs scored for Single A Clearwater on Saturday. Quinn missed extensive time in spring training with an oblique strain. It would not be surprising to see him back with the big club sometime this week.
The Phils face a tough decision in making room for Quinn, who is out of minor-league options. Aaron Altherr is also out of minor-league options and the Phils are likely to lose him (and the centerfield depth he provides) if they try to sneak him through waivers. Nick Williams does have options, but he’s a valuable left-handed power threat off the bench. Stay tuned.
The Phillies open a three-game series against the Washington Nationals on Monday night. Vince Velasquez makes his first start of the season in the opener against Nats’ right-hander Anibal Sanchez. Aaron Nola pitches Tuesday night against Stephen Strasburg and Nick Pivetta closes it out Wednesday night against Jeremy Hellickson.
The Phils split a two-game series with Washington last week.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.