Velasquez leads surging Phillies to sweep

Velasquez leads surging Phillies to sweep

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez continues to live up to the hype.

He pitched six scoreless innings Sunday afternoon in a 2-1 victory over the Indians at Citizens Bank Park. Freddy Galvis singled to score a run in the third, while Indians pitcher Danny Salazar balked in the Phillies' second run. The Phillies swept the series, extending their winning streak to six games. It is the first time the Phillies (15-10) have swept back-to-back series since Sept. 7-12, 2012, when they swept the Rockies and Marlins.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003 and for MLB.com since 2009.

Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Mother Nature can't slow Velasquez

Mother Nature can't slow Velasquez

PHILADELPHIA -- It seems only a wet mound could slow Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

He walked Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana on just nine pitches to start the fourth inning in a 2-1 victory over the Indians. He summoned the Phillies' grounds crew to fix the mound, which had become soaked from a steady rain. Finally in better shape and Velasquez feeling more comfortable with his footing, he retired the final nine batters he faced.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hoskins among top prospect perfomers Sunday

Rockies, D-backs hurlers both don't allow a run in pitchers' duel

Hoskins among top prospect perfomers Sunday

Top 100 pitchers Jeff Hoffman (No. 49) and Braden Shipley (No. 64) squared off Sunday in the final game of the four-game set between Triple-A Albuquerque and Reno, and both hurlers were electric.

Hoffman, No. 5 on the Rockies' Top 30, turned in his best start of the season for the Isotopes, firing seven scoreless innings, during which he allowed just three hits (all singles). The right-hander matched his season high with six strikeouts and did not issue a walk in the outing, his first walk-less performance of 2016, with 68 of his 99 pitches going for strikes.

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Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Save Neris: Fill-in picks up 1st save

Save Neris: Fill-in picks up 1st save

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Hector Neris tucked the baseball into his backpack Sunday evening at Citizens Bank Park.

It sat right on top, perhaps so he could keep an eye on it.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson tries to tame Cardinals

Hellickson tries to tame Cardinals

PHILADELPHIA -- Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright said he loved the way he threw the ball last week in Arizona.

He hopes to take those good feelings a step further Monday night in a start against the Phillies at Busch Stadium. Wainwright (1-3, 7.16 ERA) allowed seven hits and four runs in just 5 1/3 innings against the D-Backs, but he said his pitches had more life and finish to them than in his previous four starts. He has won three of his last four starts against the Phillies.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Galvis pushes Phillies to 4 games over .500

Galvis pushes Phillies to 4 games over .500

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies have not had a view like this in five years.

They beat the Indians on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park, 4-3, to improve to 14-10. It is the first time they have been four games over .500 since the end of the 2011 season, when they finished 102-60. Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis led the way with three RBIs.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the Indians on Saturday.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Catch by Bourjos saves save for Gomez

Phillies right fielder makes impressive grab on liner by Kipnis to end game

Catch by Bourjos saves save for Gomez

PHILADELPHIA -- Peter Bourjos froze momentarily before he broke toward the right-field wall in the top of the ninth inning Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis had just hit a rocket to right with runners on second and third and two outs. If the ball had fallen both runners would have scored and the Indians would have taken a one-run lead. But Bourjos, whom the Phillies acquired in December because they loved his defense, got a good read on the ball. At the last possible moment he turned, leapt and outstretched his glove to make a spectacular game-ending catch in the Phillies' 4-3 win.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Home run nice, but clutch hit nicer for Galvis

Phillies shortstop drives in go-ahead run with single in seventh inning

Home run nice, but clutch hit nicer for Galvis

PHILADELPHIA -- Maybe Freddy Galvis deserved one.

After he hit a two-run home run in the first inning Saturday night in a 4-3 victory over the Indians at Citizens Bank Park, he dropped a bloop single down the right-field line in the seventh inning to score the game-winning run to help the Phillies improve to 14-10.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phils place Hinojosa on DL, recall Murray

Phils place Hinojosa on DL, recall Murray

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies right-hander Dalier Hinojosa never expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list.

But he still cannot grip a baseball because of a bruised right hand, so the Phillies put him there before Saturday night's game against the Indians at Citizens Bank Park. Hinojosa said he hopes to rejoin the team when he is eligible to be activated May 14.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rupp to catch first pitch from mom in Philly

Rupp to catch first pitch from mom in Philly

PHILADELPHIA -- It was Cameron Rupp's first Major League Opening Day on April 6, 2015. It was also Kathi Rupp's -- at least as a mother of a big leaguer.

As Kathi and the rest of the Rupp clan took their seats at Citizens Bank Park, they got a group text from Cameron. It read, "Here we go."

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard's homer delivers walk-off win for Phils

Howard's homer delivers walk-off win for Phils

PHILADELPHIA -- If you blinked, you might have missed it.

After 10 1/2 innings of play and nearly 3 1/2 hours, Ryan Howard ended Friday night's game at Citizens Bank Park on one pitch. The veteran first baseman lined a 3-2 pitch from Cody Allen over the right-field wall to give the Phillies a 4-3, 11-inning win over the Indians.

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Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB's K leaders, Phils bolstered by Morgan

Philadelphia strikes out 18 vs. Indians, most since May 2014

MLB's K leaders, Phils bolstered by Morgan

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said before Friday's game that Adam Morgan was not guaranteed a spot in the starting rotation moving forward. For the first 14 outs of his start, Morgan looked like a pitcher deserving of it in the Phillies' 4-3, 11-inning win.

Morgan, a 26-year-old lefty, cruised through the first 4 2/3 innings of his first Major League start of the season, even retiring nine consecutive batters before Indians pitcher Corey Kluber stepped in to the batter's box with two outs in the fifth. What looked to likely be an innocent end to the inning turned into trouble.

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Stephen Pianovich is a contributor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Howard turns back the clock at Citizen's Bank

Veteran first baseman tallies three hits, including walk-off homer in 11th

Howard turns back the clock at Citizen's Bank

PHILADELPHIA -- Ryan Howard hit a walk-off home run as the Phillies continued their winning ways on Friday night.

It felt like the good old days at Citizens Bank Park.

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Stephen Pianovich is a contributor for MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Nola's curve gives him confidence to top Nats

Right-hander threw seven shutout innings, striking out seven

Nola's curve gives him confidence to top Nats

WASHINGTON -- Phillies starter Aaron Nola was on a mission to find himself on Thursday against the Nationals. And what he found at Nationals Park was the right combination of a split-finger fastball with a devastating curve.

"I felt better about that pitch," Nola said, when asked about the curve. "I felt like I had a much better feel for it than the last few games."

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rupp's clutch double seals sweep of Nats

Rupp's clutch double seals sweep of Nats

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals and Phillies found themselves in a pitchers' duel on Thursday afternoon, but thanks to some clutch ninth-inning hitting, the Phillies completed their three-game sweep, winning 3-0 at Nationals Park. It was the Phillies' first sweep at Nationals Park since 2009.

Scoreless heading into the ninth inning, the Phillies loaded the bases with one out and Jonathan Papelbon on the mound. On a 2-2 pitch, Cameron Rupp doubled over Bryce Harper's head in right field to score Odubel Herrera and Freddy Galvis. Two batters later, David Lough reached base on an infield single, scoring Maikel Franco. All three runs were charged to Nationals reliever Felipe Rivero, who allowed two hits and an intentional walk to start the inning.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002.and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Lindor gives back with Philadelphia RBI program

Indians shortstop takes part in drills with Philly youth players during off-day

Lindor gives back with Philadelphia RBI program

PHILADELPHIA -- The Indians had an off-night in Philadelphia on Thursday. You have to understand. Off-nights are precious for big leaguers, a rare opportunity to take a break from the daily grind of the regular season.

Shortstop Francisco Lindor chose to spend part of his evening at Citizens Bank Park. There was no game. Outside, it rained on and off. The place was nearly deserted by the time the 22-year-old rising star arrived. Except at one of the indoor batting cages where members from three of Philadelphia's Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) program were going through some drills.

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Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Barry M. Bloom

Phils making other Nats, not Harper, beat them

Phils making other Nats, not Harper, beat them

WASHINGTON -- When the Phillies faced the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park earlier this month, Bryce Harper pummeled Philadelphia pitching.

So prior to this week's three-game sweep that ended on Thursday with a 3-0 win at Nationals Park, the Phillies' baseball brain trust decided on a different strategy: pitch around the left-handed power hitter, who is again tearing up the National League to the tune of a .314 batting average, nine homers and 24 RBIs.

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Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Top 100 Draft prospects: Prep flamethrowers lead the way

Hurlers bring intrigue with no clear-cut choice for Phillies at No. 1

Top 100 Draft prospects: Prep flamethrowers lead the way

Though Jason Groome and Riley Pint headline MLBPipeline.com's new Top 100 Draft Prospects list, the odds that they will actually go first and second in the Draft are as long as the odds of piling up runs vs. Jake Arrieta.

Groome, a Barnegat (N.J.) High product, is a 6-foot-6 left-hander who dazzles scouts every time he takes the mound and could have three plus pitches in his 92-96 mph fastball, tight curveball and improving changeup. Pint, a right-hander from St. Thomas Aquinas High (Overland Park, Kan.), has even better stuff, with a heater that has reached 102 mph, a more powerful curve and a more advanced changeup, though his command isn't as consistent.

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Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson, Phils combine for two-hitter

Hellickson, Phils combine for two-hitter

WASHINGTON -- What a difference nearly two weeks makes for Jeremy Hellickson.

On April 15, the Nationals hit him hard, scoring six runs over three innings in Philadelphia. Hellickson was virtually unhittable in a 3-0 victory Wednesday at Nationals Park. The Phillies have won four of their last five games in the nation's capital.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Sparkplug Herrera making offense go 'round

Sparkplug Herrera making offense go 'round

WASHINGTON -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin made a couple noticeable changes to his lineup a week ago.

Mackanin put Odubel Herrera in the leadoff spot and placed his pitcher eighth.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Eflin, Cozens among top prospect performers Wednesday

Indians' No. 3 notches three extra-base hits, Rangers' No. 29 prospect strikes out 11 in one-hit shutout

Eflin, Cozens among top prospect performers Wednesday

Bobby Bradley is on a roll right now, and his hot hitting continued on Wednesday.

Baseball's No. 90 overall prospect (Indians No. 3) helped Class A Advanced Lynchburg to a 12-6 win over Winston-Salem by going 3-for-5 with a home run, a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Bradley's three-run homer was part of a 10-run fifth inning for the Hillcats, who erased a 4-1 deficit.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hellickson steps up as veteran presence

Hellickson steps up as veteran presence

WASHINGTON -- The Phillies acquired Jeremy Hellickson and Charlie Morton in the offseason because they believed they needed a couple veterans to stabilize a rotation of talented, but inexperienced starters.

The Phillies learned on Wednesday they lost Morton for the season with a torn left hamstring.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Hamstring surgery will end Morton's season

Phillies right-hander to undergo procedure Monday; recovery is 6-8 months

Hamstring surgery will end Morton's season

WASHINGTON -- Phillies right-hander Charlie Morton's season is finished.

The Phillies announced Wednesday that he will have surgery on his torn left hamstring Monday in Philadelphia. Morton, 32, will need six-to-eight months to recover, which means he will miss the remainder of the year.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Franco signs brand contract with Fantex

Franco signs brand contract with Fantex

WASHINGTON -- Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco has been heating up the past few days.

Entering Wednesday's 3-0 win over the Nationals, Franco had hit .444 (8-for-18) with one double, three home runs and nine RBIs in his last four games. He went 1-for-3 with a walk from the third spot in the lineup. 

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blanco, Franco propel Phils past Nats

Blanco, Franco propel Phils past Nats

WASHINGTON -- The Nationals' bullpen had been virtually unhittable entering Tuesday, but it proved it could be scored upon as the Phillies claimed a 4-3 win at Nationals Park on Tuesday night. It's Philadelphia's second straight victory over Washington.

The score was tied at 3, when the Phillies took the lead in the seventh inning off left-hander Oliver Perez. With one out, Andres Blanco doubled to left field. Maikel Franco followed and doubled over the head of center fielder Michael Taylor to send Blanco home to take the one-run lead.

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Bill Ladson has covered the Nationals/Expos for MLB.com since 2002 and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the Time. He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Working over Scherzer pays off for Blanco

Shortstop calls time twice before HR in 1st inning of Tuesday's win

Working over Scherzer pays off for Blanco

WASHINGTON -- Give Andres Blanco a break. He just wants to get comfortable, too.

He had a big night Tuesday in a 4-3 victory over the Nationals at Nationals Park. He hit a two-run home run against Nationals ace Max Scherzer in the first inning and made Scherzer work hard in a nine-pitch at-bat in the third. Blanco then hit a first-pitch fastball for a single against Scherzer in the fifth and doubled and scored the go-ahead run in the seventh against Oliver Perez.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Phillies' strategy vs. Harper a walk in the park

Philadelphia deals Nats' star three free passes in 4-3 win

Phillies' strategy vs. Harper a walk in the park

WASHINGTON -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said Tuesday afternoon he had some ideas for handling Nationals right fielder Bryce Harper. He said he conveyed those ideas to Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure.

"Just throw him fastballs down the middle of the plate," Mackanin joked before Tuesday night's 4-3 victory at Nationals Park.

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Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.