PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Closer Hector Neris needed 40 pitches to make sure the Philadelphia Phillies’ bullpen didn’t blow another one.
Vince Velasquez threw six sharp innings, J.T. Realmuto hit a two-run homer and the Phillies held on to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 Monday night.
Velasquez (1-0) allowed one run and four hits, striking out six in his longest outing this season. Neris struck out Lorenzo Cain with the bases loaded in the ninth to preserve the win.
“It’s a gutsy performance by Hector,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “I mean, I don’t ever like to let a pitcher go that many pitches. He looked over and said, ‘I got this.’ That was his last hitter no matter what. So, obviously he did a heck of a job.”
Brewers starter Adrian Houser (2-3) gave up four runs — two earned — and four hits in six innings.
Cain blasted a solo homer onto the concourse behind the left-center field stands to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the first in his first at-bat off the injury list. But NL Central-leading Milwaukee couldn’t do anything else until Philadelphia went to the bullpen.
Sam Coonrod struck out the side in the seventh but the Brewers loaded the bases the next two innings. Connor Brogdon walked two and yielded an infield single to Christian Yelich in the eighth.
After Travis Shaw’s sacrifice fly cut it to 4-2, Neris entered. Avisail Garcia’s grounder drove in another run.
Neris then picked Garcia off first to end the inning and threw 36 pitches in the ninth to earn his sixth save in seven chances.
Daniel Vogelbach lined a double to start the ninth and Pablo Reyes ran for him. Neris struck out Luis Urias and Luke Maile swinging. Pinch-hitter Billy McKinney walked and Kolten Wong reached on an infield single to load the bases. Cain went down on a checked-swing to end the…