Velasquez helps Phillies deal Cards a loss

ST. LOUIS — After a rough April, Phillies starter Vince Velasquez has found his stuff in May.

Velasquez turned in his best outing of the season as Philadelphia opened a four-game series Thursday night against the Cardinals, outdueling Luke Weaver, to lead the Phillies to a 6-2 victory.


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ST. LOUIS — After a rough April, Phillies starter Vince Velasquez has found his stuff in May.

Velasquez turned in his best outing of the season as Philadelphia opened a four-game series Thursday night against the Cardinals, outdueling Luke Weaver, to lead the Phillies to a 6-2 victory.


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Odubel Herrera had a pair of hits, reached three times and drove in a run to spark the Phillies offense. He also made a nice running catch on a Paul DeJong drive to help snuff out a potential Cardinals rally in the sixth.

The Phillies (25-16) continued their dominance outside of the National League East, improving to 17-2 against non-division rivals including an 8-0 record against the National League Central. Philadelphia moved to nine games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2011 season when it won a club record 102 games.

Velasquez (4-4) went 6 1/3 innings, allowed five hits while striking out five and walking two.

It is the third straight strong start for Velasquez in May. The right-hander improved to 3-0 in the season’s second full month and he has a 2.70 ERA during that span with 21 strikeouts compared to seven walks. Overall, Velasquez has dropped his season ERA from 5.70 entering May to 4.37.

Carlos Santana‘s majestic 437-foot solo home run to dead center in the fifth was all the run support Velasquez needed. It was Santana’s eighth of the season and sixth in his last 11 games.

Aaron Altherr‘s two-run single punctuated a three-run eighth and stood as the game-winning RBI. Pedro Florimon added a two-run homer in the ninth, his first dinger since Sept. 27, 2013.

Weaver (3-3) allowed just four hits in seven innings. He struck out six and walked just one.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

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