Alfaro’s 9th-Inning Single Lifts Phillies Past Rays 2-1

Phillies now 4-0 in one run games

Philadelphia Phillies relief pitcher Hector Neris (50) celebrates with catcher Jorge Alfaro after closing out the Tampa Bay Rays during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, April 13, 2018, in St. Petersburg, Fla. The Phillies won the game 2-1. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — The Philadelphia Phillies are having success in one-run games.

Jorge Alfaro hit a go-ahead single with two outs in the ninth inning and the Phillies won their fourth straight overall by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 2-1 on Friday night.

Philadelphia is 4-0 in one-run games, with three coming during the current streak.

“If we’re going to be a really good team, we’re going to win ballgames like this,” rookie manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re going to kind of stick our nose in it. These are games you have to grind out.”

Alfaro’s ground single to left field off closer Alex Colome (0-2) scored Scott Kingery, who doubled, for a 2-1 lead.

Edubray Ramos (1-0) got the final out in the eighth with a runner on third before Hector Neris worked the ninth for his second save.

Tampa Bay dropped to 0-6 when allowing three or fewer runs. The Rays are the only winless team in the majors when doing so.

“We knew coming in we’re going to play close ballgames,” manager Kevin Cash said. “That’s the way our team is built.”

Tampa Bay is 2-7 in one-run games.

Colome has blown two saves and has a 10.80 ERA in six games.

“Alex has done a lot of good things over the last three years,” Cash said. “He’s allowed, just as anybody else in that clubhouse, to go through some rough stretches. To me, this (game) didn’t come down to Alex Colome’s performance, it probably was more our lack of offense.”

Vince Velasquez permitted one run, four hits, one walk and had seven strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings for the Phillies, who were coming off a three-game sweep of Cincinnati.

“I only threw six or seven changeups, and that was to upset the timing of the hitters,” Velasquez said. “Just the fact that I used my secondary pitches and having the conviction of throwing them for strikes.”

Jake Faria, coming off a start Saturday at Boston in which he gave up eight runs in 1 2/3 innings, limited Philadelphia to one run and two hits over 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked two.

“A big step compared to last game,” Faria said.

Philadelphia tied it at 1 on Carlos Santana’s RBI single in the sixth off reliever Jose Alvarado, who ended the inning by striking out Nick Williams with the bases loaded.

Tampa Bay took a 1-0 lead in the second when C.J. Cron singled, went to second on a wild pitch and scored on Mallex Smith’s single.

The Rays came within a few feet of another run in the fourth. Matt Duffy’s two-out fly was dropped by Aaron Altherr, but the right fielder recovered to throw out Duffy at second just before Joey Wendle slid across the plate.

Faria held the Phillies hitless until Williams opened the fifth with a single. Williams was then picked off first by catcher Wilson Ramos.


Phillies: RHP Tommy Hunter (strained right hamstring) will take part in an extended spring training game Saturday. … Kapler said RHPs Jerad Eickhoff (strained right lat) and Mark Leiter Jr. (strained right forearm) are both getting closer to throwing off a mound.

Rays: CF Kevin Kiermaier said he is completely over an illness that first impacted him late in spring training. “That’s a beautiful thing,” Kiermaier said. … RHP Nathan Eovaldi (right elbow surgery) has resumed playing catch.


The Rays designated RHP Ryan Weber for assignment to make room for OF Johnny Field, who had his contract selected from Triple-A Durham.


Alfaro made a fine catch against the screen on Cron’s foul ball for the first out in the ninth.


RHP Jake Arrieta (0-0) makes his second start for the Phillies when he faces Rays RHP Chris Archer (1-0) on Saturday.


By Mark Didtler of the Associated Press