Velasquez throws 5 strong innings in return, Phillies romp
PHOENIX (AP) The Philadelphia Phillies sure didn't look like the team that the Arizona Diamondbacks dominated a week ago.
In fact, the cleats were on the other foot.
Vince Velasquez threw five strong innings in his return from the disabled list and the Phillies opened a three-game series in Arizona with an 8-0 rout of the Diamondbacks on Monday night.
The Diamondbacks were just back from a 7-3 road trip that included a four-game sweep of the Phillies. The eight runs were more than the Phillies scored combined in Arizona's four-game sweep a week ago, when the Diamondbacks outscored them 22-5.
''I was pretty much on top of everything,'' Velasquez said. ''Everything was working well. Today was a good start.''
Velasquez (6-2), who hadn't pitched since June 8 because of a right biceps strain, gave up five hits and struck out seven with no walks. The 24-year-old right-hander threw 84 pitches before he was removed as a precaution. His limit was to have been 90 pitches.
His trademark fastball hit 97 mph.
''I feel pretty strong,'' he said. ''All the way through I had no hesitation, no doubt, no nothing. I pretty much trusted myself and just tried to get five innings in and get a win.''
Velasquez is a big part of Philadelphia's future plans.
''He's back to where he was,'' Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. ''Hopefully he'll feel fine tomorrow. We'll check him out. I'm sure he's got his confidence back so it's nice to see.''
The Phillies had a season-high 16 hits.
''This whole trip,'' Mackanin said, ''starting in Minnesota and then in San Francisco, we've been swinging the bats very well, which is very nice to see.''
Robbie Ray (4-7) blanked the Phillies through five innings before getting tagged with two runs in the sixth and two in Philadelphia's six-run seventh.
Odubel Herrera had four hits, including a routine fly ball that Arizona's Rickie Weeks Jr. misplayed for a double in left field, his second misjudged fly of the game.
Maikel Franco drove in three runs with two singles. Cesar Hernandez had three hits, two in the seventh inning, with two RBIs.
Philadelphia has won three of five since snapping a nine-game losing streak.
Ray escaped a first-inning jam and cruised for the next five innings before running into trouble.
Herrera led off with a single, then Weeks misjudged Peter Bourjos' short fly ball and it dropped for a base hit. The runners advanced on Ray's wild pitch, and RBI singles from Franco and Cameron Rupp put Philadelphia up 2-0.
Ray came back out for the seventh, giving up a leadoff single to Hernandez and an RBI double to Cody Asche, who had just entered the game in a double switch. Ray threw one more pitch but left with a blood blister on his left middle finger.
''I wanted to be cautious about it and didn't want it to get any worse,'' Ray said. `I called the coaches out to the mound and they took a look at it and decided not to go any further. `'
Arizona returned from its 10-day trip with a 23-17 road record, fifth-best in the National League, but fell to 13-26 at home, second-worst in the league.
Phillies: RHP Dalier Hinojosa (bruised right hand) had his rehab assignment moved from Class-A Clearwater. Through three rehab appearances, Hinojosa has allowed one earned run in four innings with 10 strikeouts.
Diamondbacks: SS Nick Ahmed was back in the starting lineup. He had not started three of the previous four games due to hip tightness, although he has come in as a late-inning replacement. Also, Ahmed's wife is expecting the couple's first child any day now.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff (5-9, 3.36 ERA) tries to make it two straight Tuesday night after getting the win at Minnesota when the Phillies snapped a nine-game losing streak.
Diamondbacks: RHP Zack Greinke (10-3, 3.61 ERA) won seven straight starts before a no-decision in Colorado his last time out. With a victory, he would join Hall of Famer Randy Johnson as the only Diamondbacks pitchers to win five times in June.