PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Zach Eflin and the Phillies are on a roll.
Eflin pitched seven strong innings for his sixth straight victory, Andrew Knapp had the winning hit for the second straight game and Philadelphia beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-2 on Tuesday night for its 11th win in 16 games.
Rhys Hoskins had a two-run double, rookie Seranthony Dominguez pitched four outs for his eighth save and Maikel Franco made a game-saving defensive play for the Phillies, who pulled within 2 ½ games of the Braves for first place in the NL East.
“It was a great team win,” Eflin said.
Eflin (7-2) allowed two runs and five hits with six strikeouts and no walks to become the first Phillies pitcher since Cliff Lee in 2011 to record six consecutive wins. The right-hander has a 1.91 ERA while striking out 34 and walking six in 37 2/3 innings over that stretch.
“More aggressive and trusting my pitches,” Eflin said.
The Phillies bullpen preserved the win, but it got interesting.
Tommy Hunter got the first two outs of the eighth before manager Gabe Kapler went to Dominguez with Orioles star Manny Machado up.
“One of the best hitters in the game, you try to neutralize him with your best bullet,” Kapler said.
Dominguez walked Machado and Mark Trumbo to load the bases for Chris Davis. Franco made a stellar diving play to his right at third base to snare Davis’ ground ball before throwing him out at first to keep the Phillies ahead 3-2. The out was upheld after an Orioles challenge.
“Play of the game,” Kapler said. “Got us the win.”
Franco, who has been in and out of the lineup this season, cherished the out.
“I just tried to make a good play and make a good throw,” he said. “I wanted that play so bad.”
Trumbo homered for Baltimore, which has dropped eight of nine.
“The effort was there,” Trumbo said. “The frustration, it’s as much as you make of it.”
The game was delayed 1 hour, 25 minutes due to rain and played mostly under a persistent drizzle.
Philadelphia took a one-run lead in the fourth on Knapp’s two-out triple to right off Alex Cobb (2-10) that scored Nick Williams. Knapp, Philadelphia’s backup catcher, started two days after his game-ending homer in the 13th lifted the Phillies over the Nationals 4-3.
Cobb gave up three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 6 2/3 innings.
Trumbo staked Baltimore to a 1-0 lead by crushing Eflin’s 94 mph fastball into the seats in left in the second.
Philadelphia went in front 2-1 in the third on Hoskins’ two-out double off the wall in left that scored Franco and Cesar Hernandez.
CHEERS FOR MANNY
Machado, speculated to be a target of the Phillies either via trade or free agency, was loudly cheered when he was introduced by PA announcer Dan Baker prior to the contest.
Eflin was pulled after just 82 pitches, and Kapler said that was partly because of a blister on Eflin’s right middle finger. Eflin said he was ready and able to continue if asked. Eflin was hampered consistently by blisters last season, but Tuesday was his first time dealing with one this year.
Orioles: OF Colby Rasmus has been placed on the restricted list after informing the club that he was leaving the team. Rasmus has struggled with a left hip injury for two seasons. He was hitting .133 with one homer in 18 games this season after signing a one-year, $3 million deal in the offseason. … INF Steve Wilkerson (left oblique) was placed on the 10-day DL. Wilkerson, who is 4 for 17 since making his debut June 20, was injured in Sunday’s 8-2 win over the Angels.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (right lat strain) will throw live batting practice Wednesday. He has been out all season. … Reliever Edubray Ramos (right shoulder impingement), who has been on the DL since June 25, threw a bullpen Tuesday and could be activated on Friday.
Baltimore rookie RHP Yefry Ramirez (0-1, 2.89) will make his second start and third appearance with the Orioles against Phillies RHP Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48) on Wednesday afternoon.
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