|Philadelphia (3-3) «||0||0||0||2||0||0||1||0||x||3||8||1|
PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Blanton is back on the mound and back on his game. His right elbow feels fine again.
Blanton pitched seven strong innings, Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton homered, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat Miami 3-1 on Thursday night in the Marlins' second game without suspended manager Ozzie Guillen.
Blanton (1-1) allowed three hits and a run in his first start following an injury-plagued season. Blanton had two lengthy stints on the disabled list and pitched in only 11 games in 2011, the lowest for a full season in his career.
|More on Marlins-Phillies|
|More MLB Coverage|
Blanton is often overlooked in a rotation that boasts three aces. Against the Marlins, he was as effective as he was during his first two seasons in Philadelphia.
"I wanted to get back to who I was and keep the ball down in the zone," Blanton said.
He did just that against the Marlins. Blanton outdueled Mark Buehrle (0-2) to help the five-time NL East champions win their second straight game and move back to .500.
The 31-year-old Blanton made only eight starts last season because of elbow problems. He was in a groove and had good command of his fastball while throwing 85 pitches against Miami. He felt strong enough to keep pitching, but manager Charlie Manuel decided to play it safe.
"It's fun just to be back out there and not have anything weighing on my mind," Blanton said. "By the end of spring, I had a feeling my stuff was pretty good. I had a lot of positives coming out of spring."
Aided by a shutdown bullpen, Blanton earned his first win since May 9, 2011, also against the Marlins.
The Marlins lost their second straight game without Guillen. He was suspended five games by the Marlins on Tuesday for saying he admired Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.
The Phillies know they can count on Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels to help them overcome an offense weakened by the loss of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. But Vance Worley and Blanton are rotation wild cards.
Lee, Worley and Hamels are the probable pitchers for this weekend's three-game series against the improved New York Mets.
Having Blanton back in the mix as a dependable starter would bolster Philly's chances to hold off NL East teams on the rise such as the Marlins, Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves.
"He makes us better," Manuel said.
The Phillies broke through for seven runs a night earlier against the Marlins after scoring a combined eight runs over the first four games. They couldn't put together a big inning against Buehrle -- but a team that became annual contenders on the back of the long ball went deep twice.
Buehrle retired the first nine batters before Victorino led off the fourth with a shot to left for Philadelphia's third home run of the season. John Mayberry Jr. added a run-scoring single later in the inning for a 2-0 lead.
That was it for the Marlins, who dropped to 2-5. Chad Qualls tossed a scoreless eighth, working out of a jam after Miami put runners on first and second with two outs. He caught Giancarlo Stanton looking at a 92 mph fastball to end the threat.
"There's only so long you can keep saying that it's early before you just have to start doing it," Stanton said. "But it'll be good for us to get home, and get a full series in. It'll give us a chance to get comfortable there, and just start hitting. Because that's how baseball works sometimes. You're ripping them all over the place, but you're hitting them right at someone. That's been the case for us."
Wigginton homered in the seventh to make it 3-1.
Buehrle allowed eight hits, struck out two and walked none over 6 1/3 innings.
"I was making good pitches tonight, they just hit the ball hard and a few got in there," he said. "But I threw well, and I thought my location was there."
|Shane Victorino homers to help the Phillies beat the Marlins and move to .500 for the young season. (Getty Images)|
|Players of the Game|
Miami Marlins Small Window Cling
$2.25 Shop Now!
|Jose Reyes, SS||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||.233|
|Emilio Bonifacio, CF||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||.370|
|Hanley Ramirez, 3B||2||0||0||0||2||0||0||.160|
|Giancarlo Stanton, RF||4||0||0||0||0||1||4||.240|
|Logan Morrison, LF||4||0||1||0||0||0||2||.188|
|Gaby Sanchez, 1B||4||0||0||0||0||1||1||.125|
|Omar Infante, 2B||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.360|
|John Buck, C||4||0||2||1||0||1||1||.190|
|Mark Buehrle, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||2||.000|
|Randy Choate, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Steve Cishek, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Greg Dobbs, PH||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.333|
|Edward Mujica, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-grounded out for Cishek in the 8th|
|2B - Omar Infante (3, Blanton), John Buck (2, Blanton)|
|RBI - John Buck (4)|
|2-OUT RBI - John Buck (2)|
|Team LOB - 7|
|E - Giancarlo Stanton (2, Dropped fly)|
|Mark Buehrle (L,0-2)||6.1||8||3||3||0||2||2||3.65|
|Pitches-Strikes - Mark Buehrle 92-64, Randy Choate 4-3, Steve Cishek 1-1, Edward Mujica 9-7|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Mark Buehrle 9-7, Edward Mujica 3-0|
|Batters Faced - Mark Buehrle 26, Randy Choate 1, Steve Cishek 1, Edward Mujica 3|
|Shane Victorino, CF||4||1||1||1||0||0||1||.333|
|Placido Polanco, 3B||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||.227|
|Jimmy Rollins, SS||4||0||1||0||0||1||1||.280|
|Hunter Pence, RF||4||1||2||0||0||0||0||.391|
|John Mayberry Jr., LF||3||0||1||1||0||1||2||.263|
|Ty Wigginton, 1B||3||1||1||1||0||0||1||.167|
|Carlos Ruiz, C||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||.375|
|Freddy Galvis, 2B||3||0||1||0||0||0||0||.150|
|Joe Blanton, P||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Jim Thome, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||1||.000|
|Chad Qualls, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Jonathan Papelbon, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a-struck out for Blanton in the 7th|
|2B - Hunter Pence (2, Buehrle)|
|HR - Shane Victorino (1, Buehrle), Ty Wigginton (1, Buehrle)|
|RBI - Shane Victorino (2), John Mayberry Jr. (1), Ty Wigginton (1)|
|2-OUT RBI - John Mayberry Jr. (1)|
|Team LOB - 4|
|DP - Rollins-Galvis-Wigginton|
|E - Freddy Galvis (1, Misplayed grounder)|
|Joe Blanton (W,1-1)||7||3||1||1||1||3||0||2.35|
|Chad Qualls (H,1)||1||1||0||0||1||1||0||0.00|
|Jonathan Papelbon (S,2)||1||2||0||0||0||0||0||3.00|
|Pitches-Strikes - Joe Blanton 85-57, Chad Qualls 22-13, Jonathan Papelbon 12-9|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Joe Blanton 9-10, Chad Qualls 2-0, Jonathan Papelbon 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Joe Blanton 26, Chad Qualls 5, Jonathan Papelbon 4|
|Attendance - 44751|
|Game Time - 2:20|
|Temperature - 56|
|Umpires - Home - Jeff Nelson, First Base - Bill Welke, Second Base - Chris Guccione, Third Base - Tim Tschida|