Joseph finding early-season groove again

Phillies rookie hits homer for first pinch-hit of career

Joseph finding early-season groove again

DENVER -- Tommy Joseph never felt it.

He crushed a pinch-hit, three-run home run to left field in the seventh inning Friday night in a 5-3 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field. It was the Phillies' first pinch-hit home run of the season, and the first pinch-hit of Joseph's career.

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

It came at a huge moment of the game. The Phillies' offense had been quiet since arriving in Colorado, but had just scored its first run in the seventh to cut the Rockies' lead to 2-1. Joseph stepped into the batter's box and three pitches later mashed a 1-1 breaking ball against Rockies left-hander Jake McGee a projected 455 feet, according to Statcast™.

Joseph's three-run home run

It is the Phillies' longest homer of the season, surpassing the 448-foot blast Maikel Franco hit Monday at Citizens Bank Park.

"Thanks to him," said Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez, who picked up his eighth win of the season.

Joseph might be finding his mojo again. He hit .323 (21-for-65) with two doubles, seven home runs, 12 RBIs and a 1.010 OPS in the first 21 games of his big league career. He played so well Phillies manager Pete Mackanin officially put Ryan Howard into a bench role. But since homering twice against the Nationals on June 10, Joseph hit just .114 (8-for-70) with three doubles, one home run, three RBIs and a .325 OPS in 19 games.

"It was quite a funk," Joseph said.

But following the towering homer Friday, Joseph is hitting .500 (6-for-12) with one double, two home runs, five RBIs and a 1.622 OPS in his last four games. Joseph said adjustments he has made recently have helped. Some helpful words from teammates have been beneficial, too.

"Creating movement with the legs," Joseph said. "I got away from that."

He is back at it and Friday it might have helped him crush a ball a country mile.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.