Eflin and Phillies take down Orioles in opener

Zach Eflin helps lift Philadelphia past Baltimore
Rain fell throughout the contest, but the Phillies pulled out a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night over the Orioles at Citizens Bank Park. The win, coupled with an Atlanta loss, leaves the Phillies just 2 1/2 games off the pace in the NL East.

Yes, the Orioles entered play Tuesday with baseball's worst record, but it's the type of business-like performance Philadelphia needs to put forth to ensure Gabe Kapler and Co. remain in contention deep into September.

Zach Eflin pieced together another masterful performance, surrendering two runs on five hits over seven innings to secure the victory. He's the first Phillies' hurler since Cliff Lee in 2011 to win six consecutive starts. Since June 1 he's 6-0 with a 1.91 ERA.

Mark Trumbo delivered the biggest damage to Eflin, crushing a 95-mph fastball over the center-field wall to open the second frame to give the Orioles an early 1-0 advantage.

"I believe in my stuff a lot more than I ever have in my life," Eflin told reporters afterward. "It's good to carry that confidence into the game and to have a good game plan heading into the game. I have a lot of confidence right now and I don't think I've ever felt this way before."



Rhys Hoskins delivered a two-run double in the third to give the Phillies a one-run advantage, but the Orioles countered in the fourth with Trumbo again driving in a run, this time via a single to right scoring Manny Machado to even things 2-2. Andrew Knapp delivered what was the game-winning hit, drilling a triple in the bottom of the fourth to score Nick Williams who reached earlier in the frame via a walk.

Eflin was lifted after throwing just 82 pitches over seven innings, but that was partly due to a blister that developed on his middle finger. Both Eflin and Kapler said the blister isn't a serious concern.

The bullpen pieced together a shaky eighth inning with Tommy Hunter surrendering a single and Seranthony Dominguez walking a pair of hitters, but an outstanding diving grab by Maikel Franco at third on a Chris Davis shot to the left side enabled the Phillies to escape unscathed.

Dominquez closed things out in the ninth to notch his eighth save of the season.

The Phillies look to go for the two-game sweep on Wednesday as Aaron Nola takes the mound to face right-hander Yefry Ramirez.
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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