PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Zach Eflin continued to shine for Philadelphia with a four-hitter over seven shutout innings, and Rhys Hoskins hit a three-run homer to help the Phillies beat the New York Yankees 3-0 on Wednesday night.
Eflin, acquired in the 2014 trade that sent fan favorite and former NL MVP Jimmy Rollins to the Los Angeles Dodgers, won his fifth straight start and kept the surprising Phillies in the thick of the NL East race.
Eflin (6-2) became the first Phillies pitcher to win five starts in a month (he had a 1.76 ERA in June) since Cole Hamels went 5-0 in May 2012. Eflin has turned into a stopper of sorts for Philly: He won his fourth game this month following a Phillies loss. Eflin walked two, struck out six and helped the Phillies avoid a three-game sweep before beginning a key four-game series against the division rival Washington Nationals.
He also at last got most of the 42,028 fans at packed Citizens Bank Park to root, root, root for the home team. Yankees fans swarmed the stadium for all three games of the series, and “Let’s go Yankees!” chants boomed at first pitch.
By the time Searanthony Dominguez struck out Gleyber Torres to wrap up his fifth save, over two scoreless innings, Phillies fans were on their feet as Yankees fans trudged toward the exits.
The Yankees, who have the best record in baseball at 52-26, sat slugging outfielder Aaron Judge for the series finale. Manager Aaron Boone wanted to pair a day of rest with Thursday’s off day to keep Judge fresh when the team returns to the Bronx for a weekend set with Boston. The Yankees and Red Sox have been neck and neck atop the AL East, the only teams with a legitimate shot at the division tile.
“If we’re going to win a division, that’s the likely team we’re going to have to beat out,” Boone said before the game.
Luis Cessa (0-1) lasted only three innings in his first start for the Yankees since last Aug. 14. The Phillies had two runners on and two outs in the second inning when Hoskins connected on an opposite-field blast to left for his 12th homer of the season. He hit his sixth home run in 17 games this June, and he has given the Phillies a lead with 11 of his homers.
Yankees: RHP Masahiro Tanaka, on the 10-day disabled list since June 9 with strained left and right hamstrings, is set to throw again on Friday. The Yankees haven’t decided if Tanaka will make a rehab start or throw a simulated game.
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek, out all season because of an injured right shoulder, is set to make his third rehab appearance on Friday. He’s pitched twice for Double-A Reading. … RHP Jerad Eickhoff (nerve) will throw a bullpen session on Thursday and head to Florida for more work. … RHP Luis Garcia (sore right wrist) will throw a bullpen session on Friday and could possibly be activated on Sunday. … RHP Edubray Ramos (right shoulder) will throw from flat ground on Thursday.
Actor and diehard Phillies fan Miles Teller (of “Project X,” and “Footloose”) threw the first pitch. Teller, wearing a jersey of former catcher Darren Daulton, had promised in a TV interview earlier this season he would buy every fan at this game a beer if the Phillies scored 10 runs.
Yankees: After a day off on Thursday, CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.18 ERA) takes the mound to open the three-game set against the Red Sox.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (9-2, 2.58) opens the first of a four-game series against the Nationals. The Phillies won two of three at Washington last weekend.