PHILS INSIDER

Phillies have no one to blame but themselves for two losses to Kapler's Giants

PHILS INSIDER

Gabe Kapler isn't one to gloat, but deep down inside he has to be feeling pretty good.

In his first trip back to Philadelphia since being fired as Phillies manager, Kapler has come into Citizens Bank Park as skipper of the San Francisco Giants and seen his current team beat his old team on back-to-back nights.

The Giants rode a power surge — five home runs, including a pair of three-run blows in the eighth inning — to a 10-7 win on Tuesday night. They shut out the Phillies, 2-0, in the first game of the series Monday night.

The Phillies, now 8-9, have no one to blame but themselves for the two losses. 

"We had a great chance to win both of them and we didn't do it," manager Joe Girardi said.

The Phils went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men on base in Monday night's loss.

In Tuesday night's defeat, they could not hold an early 4-0 lead.

Starting pitcher Zack Wheeler gave up four runs on three homers in the fifth and sixth innings as the Giants fought back to make it a 6-4 game.

Wheeler put the loss on himself. He had the door moving in the right direction but did not deadbolt it.

"Exactly," he said. "Tonight's on me. We had them down early and it's my job to go out there and limit the damage. That's what's frustrating. Being able to cruise (early) and letting them back in it. They carried that momentum that they got off me for the rest of the game, so that's on me tonight."

 

Wheeler did not help himself by issuing a two-out walk to pinch-hitter Darin Ruf before allowing a two-run homer on an 0-2 pitch to Tommy La Stella in the fifth. La Stella pulled off a pretty nice piece of hitting, getting on top of a 96-mph fastball that was above the letters.

Sam Coonrod got the final out of the sixth and three more in the seventh and delivered a two-run lead to Connor Brogdon in the eighth.

Brogdon, still a rookie, had been one of Girardi's more dependable relievers dating back to September of last season. He had begun this season with 6 2/3 scoreless innings to run his scoreless streak to 15 1/3 innings dating to September 12.

Brogdon's successful run came crashing down under the weight of two three-run homers in the eighth.

Brogdon essentially pitched without his best weapon — the changeup. He had no feel for the pitch and blamed that on being over-hyped about facing the Giants, the team he grew up watching as a youngster.

"I actually had great feel for the changeup in the bullpen and for whatever reason, it didn't carry over to the mound," Brogdon said. "I'm not making any excuses, but growing up in Fresno and watching the Giants, I think there was a lot of adrenaline pumping seeing some of the guys that I kind of watched growing up on TV and stuff. I found myself getting rushed and I think that's why the changeup was floating up and away to a lot of left-handed hitters there. I have to find a better way to calm myself down and execute."

The Giants trailed, 6-4, when Evan Longoria opened the eighth with a double against Brogdon. Brandon Belt walked and Alex Dickerson homered to right to give the Giants the lead. Brogdon then allowed two more hits before pinch-hitter Wilmer Flores came off the bench and popped a three-run homer into the left field seats to put the Giants up by four runs.

Why didn't Girardi get Brogdon out of there after Dickerson's go-ahead three-run homer?

"Connor has been as good as any reliever we've had if you look at this year, if you look at the end of last year," Girardi said. "I actually liked the matchups. He's been really tough on left-handed hitters if you look at his history. Just tonight, it didn't seem like he had great command of his changeup and he made some mistakes. You know, I just felt like he was going to get them out. I did. I really did."

On Monday night, the Phillies had seven hits but just one for extra bases. They showed some pop in this game. In the second inning, Mickey Moniak singled through an infield shift for the Phillies' first hit from a starting centerfielder in 14 games and scored on a double by Nick Maton. Brad Miller clubbed a three-run homer in the third inning and Alec Bohm a two-run shot in the fifth. Rhys Hoskins clubbed a solo shot in the ninth to make it a three-run game. That was as close as the Phils could get after blowing the lead. Now they must get a good one from Zach Eflin and avoid a third straight self-destruction on Wednesday to avoid a sweep.

 

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