By Sam Bush
Jeremy Hellickson pitched a three-hitter and A.J. Ellis backed him with a three-run double to lead the Phillies over the fading Miami Marlins 8-0 last night at the Bank.
“That was fun. He’s been outstanding all year,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s a great guy, a good worker and very focused.”
Miami, which fell six games back for the NL’s second wild card, trailed by seven runs in the second inning and lost for the 14th time in 20 games.
Hellickson (12-9) struck out five, walked none and hit two batters in his second big league shutout and third complete game. He threw 75 of 106 pitches for strikes.
“It wasn’t something I was thinking about,” he said of the shutout. “It was nice to go out there and get a chance to finish it.”
The 2011 AL Rookie of the Year with Tampa Bay, Hellickson pitched a four-hit shutout against Baltimore that May 13 and another four-hitter against the Orioles that Sept. 4.
“It’s been a long time,” he said.
Miami’s only hits were singles by Dee Gordon leading off the game and Martin Prado in the fourth, and Derek Dietrich’s double in the seventh.
Tommy Joseph also homered in a game that took 2 hours, 42 minutes, nearly half the 4:43 of the Phils’ 4-3, 13-inning win Friday night.
Jose Urena (4-7) lasted just two innings and allowed seven runs and seven hits in his worst outing since moving to the starting rotation on July 19. Urena pitched 8 2/3 innings in last Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“He had trouble keeping the ball down,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “They were waiting for his fastball.”
The Phils took a 5-0 lead in the first on Ellis’ two-out, bases-clearing double just inside the bag at third and RBI doubles by Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco.
“That was a giant hit,” Mackanin said of Ellis’ double.
Joseph hit a two-run homer in the second off Urena, giving the rookie first baseman 20 for the season.
“You have to make the right pitches and learn from games like this,” Urena said. “This kind of game, it happens.”
Phillies pitchers have four complete games and have allowed three runs or fewer in 14 consecutive games, the team’s longest stretch since going 17 in a row in 2000.
Joseph became the third Phillies rookie since 1972 to hit at least 20 homers, joining Ryan Howard (22 homers in 2005) and Scott Rolen (21 in 1997).
It’s been quite a turnaround for Joseph, a converted catcher who struggled with concussions in the minor leagues. He was left off the Phillies’ 40-man roster following last season and his goal entering spring training was to get a September call-up.
“At this time last year, a lot of people were giving up on my future,” he said. “Now with 20 homers in The Show, it’s pretty special. It means a lot to me.”