MIAMI — Zach Eflin turned in a stellar pitching performance in his 2018 big-league debut.
That was about the extent of the Phillies’ highlights on Tuesday night. The team lost, 2-1, to the Miami Marlins. It was the Phils’ fourth straight loss and second in as many nights to a Marlins club that sold off its top players in the offseason and is projected to be among baseball’s worst teams this season. That has not stopped the Marlins from beating the Phillies in three of five meetings this season.
The Marlins won it with a run in the bottom of the 10th inning. Cameron Maybin tripled with one out against Yacksel Rios and scored on a hit by Yadiel Rivera.
The Phillies left the bases loaded in the top of the 10th when Maikel Franco hit a line drive to shortstop for the third out.
The Phils left five men on base in the ninth and 10th.
They got the leadoff man on base in the top of the ninth. Slumping Carlos Santana snapped an 0-for-16 skid with a double to right. He never moved off second base. Hard-throwing Marlins reliever Tayron Guerrero retired Franco on a first-pitch fly ball to center then hit Scott Kingery with a pitch before striking out Jorge Alfaro and Pedro Florimon to end the Phillies’ threat.
Kingery was hit on the right elbow by a 98-mph fastball. He eventually left the game. Losing him would be a blow as starting shortstop J.P. Crawford is already on the disabled list with a forearm injury.
"It probably looked a lot worse than it was," Kingery said postgame (see story). "Thankfully, it missed pretty much all the important stuff and just got full bicep. It didn't feel good, obviously, but it should be all right."
The Phillies are 16-13.
Eflin was perfect through five innings and finished with six innings of three-hit, one-run ball. He walked none and struck out four. The only run he allowed came on a pinch-hit homer by Justin Bour with two outs in the sixth. Eflin picked off a runner at first during that at-bat, so the damage could have been worse.
Bour’s homer tied the game at 1-1. The Phillies had taken a 1-0 lead on an RBI double by Rhys Hoskins with two outs in the fifth. Hoskins hit a 3-2 changeup from lefty Jarlin Garcia. Hoskins had been hitless in his previous 13 at-bats before the hit.
Eflin had been called up from Triple A to replace injured Ben Lively. He had allowed 10 hits and six runs in losing his previous start at Triple A.
The right-hander was one of the first pieces to join the Phillies’ rebuild when he came over from the Dodgers in a trade for Jimmy Rollins in December 2014. He made 11 starts in the majors each of the last two seasons, had some good starts and some bad starts but was mostly plagued by inconsistency and injury.
At 24, the right-hander has added strength to his 6-6 frame, thanks to all the physical rehab work he has done. The strength is showing in his fastball, which has more pop than it did in the past. The pitch registered 96 mph on the radar gun.
• Odubel Herrera singled in the fourth inning to improve his on-base streak to 31 straight games.
• Aaron Nola pitches against Jose Urena in the series finale Wednesday night.