Hoskins, Leiter lead Phillies’ rout of Marlins
PHILADELPHIA -- Coming up to bat in a one-run game with runners on first and second and nobody out, Philadelphia left fielder Rhys Hoskins had a curious question for Phillies manager Pete Mackanin.
Move the runners over or drive them in?
“He kind of just laughed at me,” Hoskins said. “Rightfully so, I guess.”
“I said, ‘We’re paying you to drive runs in, that’s what we’re paying you for,'” Mackanin quipped.
The rookie slugger listened.
Hoskins’ three-run homer punctuated a five-run third inning as the Phillies backed a terrific outing by Mark Leiter Jr. with a well-rounded offensive performance en route to an 8-0 win over the Miami Marlins on Wednesday night.
Leiter Jr. carried a no-hitter through five innings -- a second-inning walk to Marcell Ozuna his only blemish until Miguel Rojas doubled to lead off the sixth.
The son of 11-year major league veteran Mark Leiter still finished what was the best of five major league starts thus far, going seven innings for the first time while giving up one hit and two walks. He struck out five.
“He kept us off-balanced, we never really got anything going,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “Used both sides of the plate, knew how to pitch, a lot like his dad.”
Leiter (2-3) lowered his ERA from 4.38 to 3.86.
“Just trying to command the strike zone, get ahead early,” he said. “They’ve got a great lineup over there, so the key is getting ahead and just trying to keep guys off balance as much as you can and I think just executing that was the game plan.”
The Phillies (46-79) chased Marlins starter Justin Nicolino with one out in the third inning, batting around while opening a 6-0 lead.
Hoskins, quickly becoming a sensation in a town starved for some positive results on the diamond, lit up the crowd of 19,161 with a three-run shot that hit the first row of the second deck in left field. He tacked on a two-run double in the sixth inning to extend the lead to 8-0.
That gave Hoskins seven home runs and 16 RBIs in his first 14 games -- numbers no Phillies hitter had achieved in the first 130-plus years of the franchise.
“You try to keep everything in check and not get too excited,” Mackanin said, “but as I’ve said, what I saw in the spring is what I‘m seeing now: quality at-bats.”
The 24-year-old Hoskins, a fifth-round selection in 2014, was rated the No. 4 prospect in the organization by Baseball America and has already impressed with his power and overall approach at the plate. His homer, which came on a full count after he was down 0-2, was just the latest example.
“The thing about Hoskins is he knows the strike zone,” Mackanin said. “He looks like a professional hitter. He’s not afraid to get behind in the count. ... He’s not afraid to go the other way.”
Hoskins finished 2-for-3 to raise his average to .271, leading a Phillies offense that collected 11 hits.
Nicolino (2-2) was tagged for six runs and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings.
“That second time through (the lineup) it seemed like (Nicolino) had a lot of trouble,” Mattingly said. “They weren’t missing.”
The loss snapped a run of three straight victories for the Marlins (62-63). Miami had rallied from nine games below .500 on July 19 to move within 5 1/2 games of Colorado for the second National League wild-card spot entering Wednesday night.
NOTES: The Marlins swept a doubleheader to open the four-game series on Tuesday, winning the first game 12-8 and the second 4-7. They will go for the series win on Thursday afternoon. Miami RHP Vance Worley (2-3, 4.82 ERA) takes the mound against RHP Jake Thompson (1-1, 4.20), expected to be called up from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... The Phillies called up RHP Drew Anderson from Lehigh Valley and optioned OF Cam Perkins to the Triple-A club. ... The Marlins still lead the season series 6-5.