By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
April 9, 2016 - Updated: 11:30 p.m.
QUEENS, N.Y. - Vince Velasquez hurled 16 consecutive fastballs to open Saturday night's contest against the Mets at Citi Field.
He struck out a career-high nine over six innings and Ryan Howard's opposite-field home run in the fifth inning off Bartolo Colon provided enough offense. The Phillies won 1-0 on a chilly night for their first victory this season.
"If we were 0-5, we're just going to hold our heads down low," Velasquez said.
The 23-year-old righty found himself in trouble meandering through the first inning, needing 26 pitches to escape. After that, he sailed for another five innings.
Velasquez had the most strikeouts in a Philadelphia debut since Roy Halladay in 2010.
"He locked in," Howard said. "He pitches pitch a chip on his shoulder or pitches kind of with an attitude, if you will."
For the first time this year, the Phillies bullpen held onto a late inning lead. Hector Neris, Daniel Stumpf, David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez combined for hitless relief. Gomez got three outs with six pitches for his second career save, his first since July 2014 with Pittsburgh. He retired Wilmer Flores on a game-ending lineout to shortstop Freddy Galvis.
For the Mets, Colon allowed five hits in six innings, walked none and struck out seven -- including six looking. His fastball reached up to 92 mph.
Most Important Play
Howard's solo shot in the fifth was the play the made the difference on the night (+.160). He launched the 88-mph pitch from Colon to the opposite field where it cleared the original wall in left.
Matt Harvey (0-1), who lost last weekend's opener at Kansas City, starts for New York in Sunday's series finale against Jeremy Hellickson (0-0). Hellickson allowed one run -- not earned -- over six innings in the Phillies' opening loss at Cincinnati.
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