WASHINGTON — The Phillies waited out a one-hour, 42-minute rain delay and ended up with a bad, 10-4 loss to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.
The loss was bad because the Phillies blew a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.
It was bad because it came on a night when the Atlanta Braves won their game against Pittsburgh. That left the Phillies two games behind the first-place Braves in the NL East.
The loss was also bad because earlier in the day Nationals management seemingly pulled the plug on its season by trading away Daniel Murphy and Matt Adams. The Phillies could not capitalize. Nationals management might have waved the white flag, but Nationals players did not. The Nats are 63-63, 7½ games out of first and 5½ behind the Phillies.
At a time when they need to be turning it on, the Phillies are flopping (see story). They are 5-9 in their last 14 games and have lost three in a row. The Phils are 68-57 overall and 27-35 on the road.
The Phillies had just two hits through the first five innings and trailed 1-0 after rightfielder Roman Quinn’s misplay led to a Washington run in the second inning.
Quinn got the run back when he led off the top of the sixth inning with his first big-league homer, igniting a four-run rally.
The usually reliable Victor Arano was not so reliable in trying to protect the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Arano had entered the game in the bottom of the fifth inning and gotten two important outs to pull the Phils out of a bases-loaded jam. It was a different story in the sixth as he retired just one of the five batters he faced in that inning. Arano gave up two singles and back-to-back homers to Andrew Stephenson and Wilmer Difo in the inning. Stephenson’s two-run shot tied the game. Difo’s homer put the Nats ahead and Bryce Harper’s double against Adam Morgan made it a two-run game.
The Nats increased their lead to three runs on a homer by Ryan Zimmerman against Edubray Ramos in the seventh. They scored three more times in the eighth to make it a blowout.
The Phils had a big chance in the top of the eighth inning when they still trailed by three runs. They loaded the bases with two outs, but rookie righthander Wander Suero came on and overpowered Quinn on four pitches to end the threat.
Phillies starter Vince Velasquez survived the long rain delay in the third inning and exited for a pinch-hitter in the top of the sixth. Velasquez gave up just one run, but it came after a ball that Quinn misplayed into a double. It was the latest defensive miscue for a team that has had too many of them this season.
It gets no easier for the Phillies on Wednesday and Thursday as they must face Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer. The Phillies will respond with Zach Eflin and Aaron Nola.