Vince Velasquez delivered his best start of the season at an important time as the Phillies edged the Toronto Blue Jays, 3-1, at chilly Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night.
Velasquez held the Jays to two hits over six innings in outpitching lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu, who led the National League in ERA last season as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The win was Velasquez' first in 368 days.
The Phillies had nine hits in the game and five of them came in the bottom of the fifth inning when they rallied for two runs.
The Phils added a run in the eighth.
The Phillies' much maligned bullpen did an excellent job protecting the lead after Velasquez exited. Blake Parker, David Phelps and Tommy Hunter all pitched a scoreless inning.
Hunter got the call in the ninth and earned his first save of the season.
Phelps, who had struggled after coming over from Milwaukee in a deadline deal, has racked up three straight scoreless appearances, registering five strikeouts in 2⅓ innings over that span.
The Phillies entered the game as the No. 7 seed in the NL playoffs and held on to that spot. They are 27-25 with eight games to play.
Just what the doctor ordered
The Phils dipped deep into their bullpen in Friday's doubleheader and will do so again on Sunday. So it was imperative that they get some distance out of Velasquez. The right-hander responded with six innings of one-run ball. It was the first time Velasquez had gone at least six innings since August 5, 2019, a span of 14 starts. It was just the sixth time in a span of 29 starts over the last two seasons that Velasquez had gone more than five innings.
Toronto took a 1-0 lead on homer by Travis Shaw in the top of the fifth inning.
The Phillies came right back with two runs against Ryu in the bottom of the inning.
Jay Bruce started the rally with a double, the Phillies' only extra-base hit of the night. He moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Scott Kingery and scored on a single by Andrew Knapp.
Adam Haseley kept the rally going with a base hit and Andrew McCutchen followed with an RBI single to put the Phillies ahead, 2-1.
The Phils were without Alec Bohm's hot bat. Here's why.
J.T. Realmuto, out for a week with a hip strain, took batting practice before the game. The Phils hope to get him back Monday in Washington.
The Phillies play their final home game of the season Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Taijuan Walker (3-3, 3.05) pitches for the Blue Jays. The Phillies had not immediately announced their starting pitcher.
With a win Sunday, the Phils will sweep the four-game series.