By Sam Bush
Rhys Hoskins finally broke out of his stunning offensive slide, and for the Phillies it couldn’t have come at a better time.
He doubled, tripled and drove in a run as the Phillies got 17 hits in a 12-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hoskins also made a game-changing error in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss so Phillies manager Gabe Kapler considered giving Hoskins a day off before putting him in the cleanup spot — and it paid off.
“It looked like Rhys had a lot of weight lifted off his shoulders,” Kapler said.
Hoskins, who entered in a 2-for-20 slide, said he swung at “80 percent” effort in an attempt to control the barrel of his bat better.
“I throttled down even more than usual and it got me back to where I wanted to be,” he said.
Every position player who started for the Phillies finished with at least one hit and RBI.
J.T. Realmuto had three hits and a home run, Cesar Hernandez added three hits and three RBI, and Corey Dickerson also went deep. The Phils remained two games behind the Chicago Cubs for the second NL wild card.
“We attacked from the get-go and never let off the gas,” Hoskins said.
Starling Marte homered and had three hits for Pittsburgh, and Josh Bell hit a two-run shot.
Pirates rookie Bryan Reynolds, who began the day leading the NL in batting, went 0 for 3 to snap his seven-game hitting streak and drop his average to .330.
Vince Velasquez (6-7) went five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and no walks. Velasquez coughed up a 7-0 lead in the third inning of a 19-11 loss at Miami last Friday.
Kapler didn’t give Velasquez the opportunity to blow a lead this time, lifting the right-hander for a pinch-hitter in the fifth even though he had thrown only 75 pitches.
“I knew I needed to make an impact,” Velasquez said. “Today was a pretty important game for me and the team in general.”