The Phillies’ losing streak swelled to a season-high six games in a 5-3 loss to the Miami Marlins on Saturday that was marked by manager Gabe Kapler’s first ejection.
The Phillies have lost two in a row to the National League’s worst team.
The Phils’ bullpen gave up four runs in the late innings in squandering a 3-1 lead.
The Phillies’ offense generated a pair of solo homers (Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins in the third inning) but only five hits in the first eight innings. The Phils left the bases loaded in the ninth.
Three weeks ago, the Phillies were 10 games over .500 and led the NL East by 3 ½ games.
They are now just two games over .500 and in danger of falling 5 ½ games back, depending on the outcome of the Atlanta-Washington game. Atlanta leads the division. Third-place Washington entered Saturday just two games behind the second-place Phillies.
Adam Morgan, in his first appearance since missing nearly a month with a sore elbow, was charged with three runs in the seventh as the Marlins turned a 3-1 deficit into a 4-3 lead. The Marlins took the lead on a two-run double by Wilkin Castillo. The double came on the first pitch thrown by Edubray Ramos after Morgan had exited.
Castillo’s hit was his first hit in the majors in 10 years. The 35-year-old journeyman catcher has been in the minors for the past decade. He was called up on Friday.
Vinny Velo impresses
You never know what you’re going to get from Vince Velasquez.
On this day, the Phils got the good Vinny Velo.
Pressed back into starter’s duty after nearly a month in the bullpen (he was used once as an “opener”), Velasquez gave the Phils five innings of one-run ball. He allowed just one hit, a solo homer to JT Riddle. Velasquez walked none, struck out five and left with a 3-1 lead.
Harper smacked a solo homer in the third inning and drove in a run with a one-out, beat-the-shift single in the fifth. Harper once again got too aggressive on the bases and was thrown at second base. It was the seventh time this season that Harper has made an out on the bases, tying him for the major-league lead.
Harper wasn’t the only offender on the bases. Cesar Hernandez did not run hard on what should have been a double in the eighth inning. He ended up on first and was erased in a double play.
Kapler received the first ejection of his managerial career in the fourth inning.
Kapler argued vehemently with home plate umpire Chris Guccione after Scott Kingery struck out. Kingery appeared to be hit by the pitch, but first base umpire Mike Everett ruled that he had swung at the pitch.
During the argument, Kapler waved his arms and pointed his finger at both umpires. He kicked dirt in their direction after the ejection. Kapler could face discipline from MLB for that.
As blowups go, it wasn't quite Larry Bowa quality, but it was notable considering how Kapler has kept his emotions in check during his season-and-a-half as Phillies manager. The crowd loved Kapler's emotional outburst and he left the field to a big ovation.
The series concludes on Sunday afternoon. Enyel De Los Santos will come up from Triple A and make the start against Miami right-hander Jordan Yamamoto.
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