Marlins sweep twin bill behind Yelich, Nicolino

Marlins sweep twin bill behind Yelich, Nicolino

PHILADELPHIA -- Marlins left fielder Christian Yelich stole the show Saturday night in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.

He played a part in three of the Marlins' runs in a 5-2 victory. He singled and scored in the first, doubled to score Dee Gordon in the second and singled and scored in the fifth. He had eight hits in the doubleheader sweep.

"We're fighting 'til the end, battling 'til the end," Yelich said. "I'm glad to see we're playing so well at the end of the year. Hopefully, we can come in here tomorrow and end it on a good note."

Yelich gets eighth hit of day

 The Marlins will end the year having won eight of their final 10 series.

The news wasn't completely bad for the Phillies, who must win Sunday to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961. They locked up the first pick in the 2016 Draft by clinching the worst record in baseball. The Phillies will have the first overall pick for the second time in franchise history and the first time since 1998, when they selected Pat Burrell.

"We're trying to win every game," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "Nobody wants to lose 100 games. Nobody wants to lose 90 games -- 99 or 100 is just as bad. We've heard about [the top pick in the Draft] for a couple weeks now. We're very aware of it. That's one positive that comes out of it. We're guaranteed getting the guy and apparently he's a pretty good pitcher. It's been on our minds."

Mackanin did not say who that pitcher might be, but he might be Florida pitcher A.J. Puk, who scouts think could move quickly through the Minor Leagues and help a team as early as 2017. IMG Academy (Lakeland, Fla.) left-hander Jason Groome and St. Thomas Aquinas (Overland Park, Kan.) right-hander Riley Pint could be the top two high school arms in next year's Draft. Puk and Oklahoma right-hander Alec Hansen could be the top two college arms.

Marlins rally in ninth to take Game 1, 7-6

Yelich matches Marlins' mark: After going a perfect 5-for-5 in Game 1, for an encore Yelich had hits in each of his first three at-bats in Game 2. With hits in eight straight plate appearances, Yelich tied a Marlins' record. Preston Wilson, in May 2001, also had hits in eight straight plate appearances. Counting a walk in his final plate appearance on Thursday at Tampa Bay, Yelich reached safely in nine straight plate appearances. The streak ended in the seventh inning when Yelich bounced out to first. Yelich's eight hits also is the most by a Marlins player in a doubleheader. Cody Ross had six at Colorado on Aug. 16, 2009. More >

"It was pretty cool," Yelich said. "There's a lot of luck involved in that as well. I don't really know if that will happen again, at least for me. But I'm glad it did."

Franco feeling fine: Phillies third baseman Maikel Franco started his first game since Aug. 11, when he was hit by a pitch and broke his left wrist. He ripped a solo home run to center field in the fourth inning and singled to score a run in the sixth inning. Franco's homer was his 14th of the season. More >

Franco's RBI single

"I felt good," Franco said. "Just coming into today, be ready for everything. My wrist is really good, 100 percent."

Nicolino's quality finale: Justin Nicolino capped his rookie season with a gem. The 23-year-old rookie threw seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits. He struck out just two, but didn't issue any walks, although he hit a batter. Nicolino went seven innings for the second straight start. The lefty also did it on Sept. 26 at Marlins Park in a win over the Braves. For the season, Nicolino logged 74 innings in 12 big league starts. Counting his numbers at Triple-A New Orleans, the lefty collected 189 innings. He will enter Spring Training competing for a rotation spot.

"There's been a lot of ups and downs, a lot to take from this -- a lot to learn," Nicolino said. "The biggest thing for me is knowing I can pitch up here against all these guys I've faced. It's about being consistent every five days, every six days. I think the biggest thing is going out there, having fun and competing."

Asher's rough start: Phillies rookie Alec Asher will hope for better next season. He allowed six hits and three runs in two innings in his seventh and final start of 2015. He finished 0-6 with a 9.31 ERA, becoming the first pitcher to go winless in his first seven starts with the Phillies since Paul Abbott in 2004.

"We ran Asher out there and he struggled again," Mackanin said. "He's got work to do."

"He looked at me and he said, 'One more, Papi.'" -- Phillies right fielder Jeff Francoeur, who promised Franco he would buy him a suit if he hit 15 home runs this season. Franco enters Sunday's season finale with 14

"Christian Yelich going 8-for-8. I've been in the game a long time. I've never seen a guy that locked in to have eight straight hits. Up-and-down the lineup, there were some quality at-bats." -- Marlins manager Dan Jennings

Yelich's RBI double

The Marlins completed their first doubleheader sweep since May 25, 2008, against the Giants.

A.J. Ramos is the first Marlins pitcher to ever close both games of a doubleheader.

Ramos notches save

The National League batting title is going right down to the final day. Gordon enters Sunday's season finale in a razor-thin close race with Washington's Bryce Harper. After going 2-for-4 in Game 2, Gordon is hitting .3306. Harper, meanwhile, is at .3307.

Marlins: In the season finale on Sunday, the Marlins are handing the ball to rookie left-hander Adam Conley (4-1, 3.84) in the 3:05 p.m. ET affair. In five September starts, Conley was 2-0 (2.54 ERA) with 30 strikeouts in 28 1/3 innings.

Phillies: The Phillies finish their season Sunday against the Marlins. Right-hander David Buchanan (2-9, 7.54 ERA) gets the final start. He hopes to carry some positive momentum into the offseason. He has allowed four earned runs in 15 2/3 innings in his last three starts.

The season finale is available to stream free out of market live on MLB.TV, presented by AT&T. Blackout restrictions apply.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Joe Frisaro is a reporter for He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.