Joseph's homer gives Phils late lift vs. Rockies

Joseph's homer gives Phils late lift vs. Rockies

DENVER -- Tommy Joseph emerged from a recent funk to deliver a three-run, pinch-hit homer in the seventh inning and lift the Phillies over the Rockies, 5-3, at Coors Field on Friday night.

Joseph's 455-foot shot came off lefty Jake McGee, who let the two runners he inherited from effective starter Jon Gray and two others score in his fourth appearance since his return from missing three weeks with a left knee injury. Gray fanned eight in 6 1/3 innings.

"No doubters, you don't feel them," Joseph said of his homer.

McGee, who entered because manager Walt Weiss watched Gray's leadoff four-pitch walk and saw fatigue signs, had increased the use of the slider since coming off the disabled list. But for much of his career he has thrown the fastball around 95 percent of the time.

"Most of my career, I've got to stick with my fastball and not get beat with a secondary pitch," McGee said. "My slider, in that situation, lost the game and kind of spoiled Gray's good outing."

The Joseph homer made a winner of Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, who gave up eight hits but held the Rockies to two runs in six innings. The Phillies prevailed on a night when Rockies All-Star right fielder Carlos Gonzalez had three hits, including a double, and Trevor Story drove in two runs.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Joseph delivers:
Joseph might be getting his mojo back after struggling since a hot start. His pinch-hit, three-run homer in the seventh was the Phillies' first pinch-hit homer of the season and Joseph's first pinch-hit of his career. He had been 0-for-7 in pinch-hitting opportunities. He is 6-for-12 in his last four games. More >

"To feel like you did something for the team, it feels pretty good," Joseph said.

Joseph talks about his big hit

Gray shoulders the load: Gray prevented any runs while he was on the mound, despite having a runner at third with one out in the fourth. But he was missing precious run support. It was the fifth start in which the Rockies didn't manage as many as four runs. The team has lost them all, and four of those losses were charged to Gray. Friday's "L" went to McGee.

Gray had struggled in the first two innings for much of the year, but his fastball and all of his secondary pitches were effective Friday night.

"I was just locked in from the beginning," Gray said. "I knew everything was going to work well judging by how I felt in the bullpen. I was just ready to go into attack mode." More >

Gray strikes out eight

Oh my, Goeddel: Tyler Goeddel replaced Cody Asche in left field in the eighth inning and it paid off with a game-saving catch. The Rockies had a runner on second with two outs when DJ LeMahieu hit a blooper into shallow left-center field. Goeddel sprinted in from his position and made the diving catch.

"I got a good read off the bat," Goeddel said. "I knew if that ball dropped that run would score. I knew I had to make an effort to make a play. When I hit the ground the ball sort of squirted in my glove a little bit. It stayed in there." More >

Goeddel's spectacular catch

Deceptively fast: Gonzalez jokes that he doesn't run as fast as he once did, but maybe it's just to lull folks into thinking he can't motor. Gonzalez beat out a bouncer to short with two out in the fifth for his 19th infield hit this season. According to Stats LLC, Gonzalez was tied with the Cardinals' Aledmys Diaz for the National League lead. The hit set up Story's RBI double that gave the Rockies a 2-0 lead.

QUOTABLE
"I'll take it. Everyone has their ups and downs. You're not going to be perfect all the way through." -- Velasquez, speaking about his first half. He finished 8-2 with a 3.32 ERA

Velasquez's strong start

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Joseph's homer traveled a projected 455 feet, according to Statcast™. It is the Phillies' longest homer of the season, surpassing Maikel Franco's 449-foot homer, which he hit Monday. It is the Phillies' longest homer since Cameron Rupp's 461-foot long ball on Aug. 24, 2015.

ALTHERR IS PLAYING, BAILEY ACTIVATED
The Phillies announced outfielder Aaron Altherr began a rehab assignment Friday with the rookie level Gulf Coast League Phillies. He is recovering from a torn tendon in his left wrist. The team also announced right-hander Andrew Bailey had been activated from the 15-day disabled list. Bailey had been sidelined with a strained left hamstring.

JUST OUT OF REACH
With a long tradition of road struggles, the Rockies cannot contend without dominating their home field. It hasn't happened this year, and Friday's loss prevented them from reaching .500 at Coors. Now that's the best they can hope before the All-Star break. One issue: they're 0-42 when trailing after seven innings. Home is where they need to make those comebacks.

Weiss said the lack of comebacks is surprising, "especially here. You figure we're going to have some of that Coors Field magic, late, and have a few walk-off wins. That just means we're due. We'll get some in the second half."

WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (6-9, 3.30 ERA) makes his final start before the All-Star break on Saturday night at 8:40 p.m. ET against the Rockies at Coors Field. Eickhoff is 4-2 with a 2.25 ERA in his last seven starts.

Rockies: Tyler Anderson will make his sixth start of the season and his fourth at Coors Field at 6:40 p.m. MT. His ERA is lower at home (2.50) than it is on the road (3.86). He has held opponents to three runs or fewer and two walks or fewer in all of his starts.

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Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.