David Phelps was brilliant on Saturday as his Miami Marlins beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1.
The reliever turned starter gave Miami an ace-like effort. Phelps tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and allowed no runs across six innings of work. The right-hander only allowed a pair of hits along with two walks. Phelps is now 7-6 on the season with a 2.28 E.R.A.
With the victory, the Marlins have moved back ahead of the Pirates in the Wild Card standings. The St. Louis Cardinals also lost on Saturday which puts Miami only 1.5 games out of a playoff spot.
Phelps needed help from his bullpen due to a high pitch count and he got it. Mike Dunn worked a scoreless seventh inning and picked up his fifth hold of the year. Kyle Barraclough allowed a run in the eighth, but still earned his 25th hold of the season. In the ninth, Fernando Rodney had a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts for his 23rd save of the year.
Backing up Phelps on the offense was newcomer Xavier Scruggs. The slugging first baseman hit his first career home run. The homer was good for two runs and ended up being the difference. Phelps had a big year in AAA and could see regular at-bats at first base for Miami going forward.
Jose Urena will get the ball on Sunday as Miami looks for a three-game sweep in Pittsburgh.