Velasquez flirts with a no-hitter; Phillies win finale with Rockies

Vince Velasquez looked sharp in Phillies win over Rockies
Having been shelled his last time out, Vince Velasquez knew he had to piece together a strong performance on Thursday to quell the rumors of a potential move to the bullpen.

Throwing 6 2/3 innings without surrendering a hit will usually silence detractors, at least for a bit, and that's what he did on Thursday in a 9-3 win over the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.

Velasquez carried a no-hitter into the seventh before issuing a walk to Carlos Gonzalez. Trevor Story followed with a double down the left-field line, putting the Rockies on the board and ending the no-hit bid.

"Just pretty much focusing on a new outcome," Velasquez said afterward (see video). "After the other day, I just tried to have a solid bounce-back and have the team win and take the series."



Velasquez surrendered a career-high 10 runs over 3 2/3 innings last Friday and looked as bad as ever in a loss to the Brewers. He needed an outing like Thursday's and left to a standing ovation.

"I thought that was as confident as I've ever seen him," manager Gabe Kapler said of Velasquez. "But most notably for me was how comfortable he looked in his own skin today. It was a breath of fresh air, and I think when things aren't going that smoothly for him if he can maintain that composure, maintain that easiness and maintain that confidence, that's when he's going to reach his true potential."

Rhys Hoskins hit a solo shot in the opening frame to put the Phillies ahead early. Nick Williams added to the lead with a solo shot of his own in the third. The offense then erupted in the seventh, collecting five hits to plate four runs to put the contest out of reach.

The Phillies finished with 13 hits, marking the first time in nearly a month the club ended a contest with more than 10. The victory secured the first series win for the club since May 21-23.

Hoskins led Thursday's charge with the bats for the Phillies, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored.

"We know we can do that every time out," Hoskins said. "But I think it's nice to be reminded every once in a while and have a game like that. I think guys' confidence in here is starting to grow a lot, especially after the last couple weeks. I think there's exciting stuff to come."

The Phillies travel to Milwaukee to open a three-game set with the Brewers beginning Friday night. Jake Arrieta will make the start for the Phils, opposing Brewers' left-hander Brent Suter.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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