Aaron Nola delivered but the offense did not.
The Phillies’ spiral continued Friday night in a 2-1 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. A sellout crowd of 44,420 was on hand for a retirement celebration honoring Chase Utley.
The loss was the Phillies’ 14th in the last 20 games as they fell to 39-36. They remained 4 ½ games behind first-place Atlanta. The Braves lost to Washington on Friday night. The third-place Nationals are suddenly just two games behind the Phillies in the NL East.
Nola pitched very well but received little run support.
The Phillies have lost seven of their last eight games. They have scored two or fewer runs in five of those losses.
He went eight innings and gave up just two runs, one of which was unearned. He scattered six hits, walked one and struck out 10.
It’s hard to win when your team scores just one run, however.
With little run support, Nola paid a steep price for a couple of mistakes.
Mistake 1: With two outs in the second inning, he fell behind Bryan Holaday, 2-0. Holaday was sitting fastball and he got a juicy one — 92.4 mph and right down the middle. He hammered it for a solo homer.
Mistake 2: In a tie game in the sixth, Nola hit Brian Anderson with a first-pitch curveball. Anderson moved to third on a hit and scored the go-ahead run on a tapper to third base.
Scott Kingery got the start at third base. He had a chance to cut down Anderson at the plate in the sixth inning, but could not get the handle on Cesar Puello’s slow tapper to third. Kingery was charged with an error on the play, his first of two on the night.
The Phillies went just 2 for 12 with runners in scoring position. Neither of the hits produced a run.
The Phils scored their only run on a double-steal with Bryce Harper taking second and Roman Quinn scampering home in the third inning.
Some of the Phils’ missed chances included:
They loaded the bases on a single, a walk and a hit batsman with two outs in the fourth. That brought up Harper with a chance to do damage. He flied out to right field on the first pitch.
The Phils wasted a leadoff double from Rhys Hoskins in the fifth.
The Phils’ last best threat came with runners on the corners in the eighth. Lefty Jose Quijada struck out pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez to end the threat.
The series continues on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. Vince Velasquez (2-4, 4.71) will face right-hander Elieser Hernandez (0-2, 3.95).
Manager Gabe Kapler talked about Velasquez’ latest opportunity to start here (see story).