The Phillies had one problem Tuesday night.
Rhys Hoskins couldn't drive in seven, eight or nine runs.
That and the bullpen.
And the defense.
All the Phillies' old problems surfaced in a discouraging 11-9 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park. Hoskins drove in six runs with a pair of homers and a double. The Phils fought back from a 4-0 deficit, eventually built an 8-4 lead, gave it up in the seventh, got it back in the eighth, then lost it for good in the ninth as the bullpen and the defense all went bad.
It was a game the Phillies totally gave away.
"It's disappointing," manager Rob Thomson said. "The offense really battled to take the lead and soon after that we gave it back."
The crowd of 28,073 booed in the first inning as Zach Eflin was tagged for a pair of two-run homers. It cheered as Hoskins was hitting a three-run homer to tie the game in the fourth, a two-run double in the fifth and a solo homer in the eighth to give the Phils a 9-8 lead. It booed again when closer Corey Knebel blew the save in the ninth.
"It's tough to waste a game like that from Rhys," catcher J.T. Realmuto said. "Just as a whole we have to do a better job when we have momentum like that and we have someone take over like that. We have to get outs and we didn't do a good enough job pitching or defensively to make that happen."
Hoskins' eighth-inning homer left the Phillies three outs from their 11th win in 12 games.
Knebel, who had not pitched since Friday due to a bout of shoulder stiffness, came on in the top of the ninth and had all kinds of trouble throwing strikes. Twelve of the 16 pitches he threw were balls. All four batters he faced in the inning reached base on an error, two walks and a game-tying single. Thomson ended up removing Knebel from the game with the bases loaded and Andrew Bellatti allowed a two-run double to Jesus Aguilar as the Marlins took the lead. The double came after Realmuto dropped a foul popup by Aguilar near the Phillies' dugout.
"I've got to make that play," Realmuto said.
Leading off that inning, third baseman Alec Bohm made a diving play on a hot smash toward the line by Miguel Rojas. His throw across the diamond was low and Hoskins could not scoop it. Though Bohm was charged with the error, Hoskins wore it and said he should have made the play. If the Phils make those two defensive plays, they at the very least get out of the inning with a tie.
In addition to his fourth blown save, Knebel took the loss. He had help. Eflin had to leave the game after six innings and 80 pitches because of soreness in his surgically repaired right knee. Thomson went to Jeurys Familia in a four-run game and he allowed a double, a walk and a three-run homer to make it a one-run game. Then Seranthony Dominguez, unscored upon in his previous 14 outings, gave up a solo homer to Jazz Chisholm as the Marlins tied the game.
Hoskins -- five homers and 12 RBIs in his last 12 games -- brought the fans to their feet in the eighth, but the excitement was short-lived and the cheers turned to boos, big ones, when Knebel couldn't find the strike zone.
"I just couldn't throw strikes," he said.
Knebel was visibly frustrated as he left the mound after allowing a game-tying single to Garrett Cooper, but his frustration was not directed at the manager.
"I just walked two guys," he said. "I threw probably three strikes, so I couldn't argue that. Great decision.
"I'm frustrated, of course. You'd like to have a clean one and win that game. That's on me. I didn't throw a strike. You've got to throw strikes."
Since taking over for Joe Girardi, Thomson has continually expressed confidence in Knebel. After the difficult loss, Thomson was asked once again if Knebel would get the ball the next time the Phillies had a save chance.
"We'll discuss it," Thomson said. "I haven't talked to Corey about anything or the other relievers."
As for Eflin, he believes he'll be able to make his next start. Losing him for any amount of time would hurt. Losing him after six innings Tuesday night hurt. Badly.
"We lost and it stinks," Hoskins said. "But I know this team. We'll be ready to play (Wednesday). We've got to win a series."
Subscribe to Phillies Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | Watch on YouTube