Marlins closer Puk shaky again as Phillies hit homer with two out in the ninth to win 13th in a row on the road

MIAMI — Phillies pinch-hitter Cristian Pache predicted earlier this week that he would have a home run against the Miami Marlins. He didn’t know that he would deliver one of the biggest hits of his career in his first at-bat Friday night.

Pache hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to help the Phillies rally past the Marlins 4-3 and match the franchise record with their 13th straight road victory.

“Back in Tampa I told the boys, ‘When I hit the ball out of the park in Miami, I’m going to jump and have fun,’” Pache said. “And look at that. In my first at-bat I actually hit it out of the park.”

The Phillies, coming off a three-game sweep of the AL-leading Rays, moved within 1 1/2 games of the second-place Marlins in the NL East standings by tying the franchise mark for road wins set. The Atlanta Braves lead the division.

Philadelphia last won 13 straight road games from April 17-June 2, 1976.

Miami had a 3-1 lead entering the ninth before J.T. Realmuto hit a leadoff single against reliever A.J. Puk (4-3) and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Alec Bohm then hit a one-out double that scored Realmuto and made it 3-2. Puk struck out pinch-hitter Josh Harrison to set the stage for Pache’s heroics.

The 24-year-old Pache sent a 0-1 pitch to center field, barely clearing the fence for his first career pinch-hit home run.

“It was a real man that hit that ball,” Pache said of his winner.

Philadelphia starter Zack Wheeler gave up seven hits, three runs and struck out seven. Jeff Hoffman (2-1) replaced him in the seventh and worked two innings for the win. Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth and earned his 14 save.

Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara allowed eight hits, one run and struck out five with no walks in his last start before the All-Star break. He gave up a solo homer to Realmuto in the sixth that cut Miami’s lead to 3-1.

“We hit the ball hard off Alcantara,” Phillies manager Rob Thomson said. “We hit into some bad luck. We couldn’t string anything together, but I thought we hit some really hard ball right at people. I liked our approach.”

MLB batting average leader Luis Arraez, who will be the NL’s starting second baseman in next week’s All-Star game in Seattle, had a two-out single in the seventh. His average is .386. Some fans at the Marlins’ home ballpark yelled “MVP” during his at bats.

After a two-run second inning for Miami, Garrett Cooper gave the Marlins a 3-0 lead with a solo shot to right in the fourth. He also singled in the sixth.

Joey Wendle doubled twice for Miami. Jacob Stallings and rookie Dane Myers drove in runs in the second.

Trea Turner and Kyle Schwarber had a hit apiece for the Phillies.

The blown save was Puk’s second in a row and third in his past seven opportunities. Over that span, Puk’s ERA has been a horrendous 11.37.


The Marlins entered the game at 51-38, their most wins ever before the All-Star break. The previous was 50 wins, done in 2008 and 1997. Miami had the fifth-best record in the majors and second-best in the NL, behind Atlanta.


Marlins: RHP Johnny Cueto, who is on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Jacksonville, will pitch Saturday. … Edward Cabrera will pitch three innings in Class A Jupiter, Florida, on Saturday.

Phillies: Noah Song made his fourth appearance in Clearwater, Florida, Friday night. He allowed no runs, one hit and struck out one in one inning. Song also worked out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam. Manager Rob Thomson said it would likely be Song’s last outing before the All-Star break. … Seranthony Domínguez (left oblique strain) will have another bullpen session Saturday.


LHP Braxton Garrett (4-2, 3.61) will face LHP Ranger Suarez (2-3, 3.67) in the second game of the three-game set.