May 16, 2014

The Philadelphia Phillies are off to their surprising start despite some serious hitting woes. They'd be in much worse shape without Odubel Herrera.

Rookie Tyler Goeddel also has left his mark on this series, which has the Phillies one Sunday win away from their first home sweep of the Cincinnati Reds since 2010.

Following Saturday's dramatic 4-3 victory, Philadelphia is seven games above .500 for the first time since winning 102 in 2011. The club has done it despite ranking near the bottom of MLB with a .231 batting average, 29 homers and 3.3 runs per game.

Herrera has been a bright spot, ranking in the NL's top 10 with a .336 average, .447 on-base percentage and six stolen bases. The leadoff man went 2 for 4 with his fourth homer Saturday to give the Phillies a huge insurance run in the seventh inning.

The center fielder has reached base in 33 of his last 34 games and has at least one hit in 22 of 24. He had been 1 for 14 in four games against Cincinnati before Saturday.

Goeddel had the big blow in Friday's 3-2 series-opening win with a two-run triple. On Saturday, he threw out Eugenio Suarez as catcher Cameron Rupp held on during a collision in a game-ending double play that gave the club its sixth win in seven games.

''I put everything into the throw and Cam made a great play,'' Goeddel said.

The Phillies (22-15) have been able to overcome their low-scoring ways thanks in part to a starting rotation that has posted a 3.26 ERA over its last 17 games.

Now Adam Morgan (1-0, 3.94 ERA) takes the ball as he comes off one of the best outings of his career. The left-hander gave up one run and four hits over a career high-tying seven innings in Tuesday's 3-2 win at Atlanta.

Morgan had allowed six runs and 11 hits over nine innings in his first two starts in place of the injured Charlie Morton.

"We thought about letting him go back out (for the eighth inning), but his previous two outings were not real good," manager Pete Mackanin told MLB's official website.

Morgan will try to build on that effort against a Cincinnati team that has batted .227 and averaged 3 runs while losing 12 of 14 on the road. Slugger Joey Votto hasn't been able to get going no matter the venue as he's hitting .194 with 15 strikeouts over his last 13 games.

The Reds couldn't drive in the tying run in Saturday's ninth inning despite having runners on second and third with nobody out.

''It's frustrating,'' catcher Tucker Barnhart said. ''We had opportunities.''

Adam Duvall has been a positive with a pair of two-hit games in the series. The outfielder has batted .364 with eight extra-base hits in his last 10.

The Reds (14-22) own the NL's second-worst record after losing five of six.

Cincinnati's Dan Straily (1-1, 3.47) has eased into a groove as he goes after his fourth consecutive quality start. The right-hander settled for a no-decision Monday when he allowed two runs over six innings of a 3-2 home victory over Pittsburgh.

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