The first day of the rest of the Phillies' season got off to a wonderful start Friday. The team returned from the four-day All-Star break, got a big effort from Matt Moore, Travis Jankowski and the bullpen and beat the Miami Marlins, 5-2, in the first game of a doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park.
The victory propelled the Phillies over the .500 mark for the first time since June 13.
It didn't take long for the day to turn sour, however.
Just about 40 minutes, to be exact.
Zach Eflin threw the first pitch of the nightcap to Miami leadoff man Jazz Chisholm.
Ground ball to shortstop.
Error, Didi Gregorius.
The season's most consistent weakness bit the Phillies early and they went on to lose the second game, 7-0, and fall back to .500.
The Phils had just two hits in the nightcap, a double by J.T. Realmuto in the first inning and a single by Luke Williams in the seventh and final inning.
"We just never got anything going," manager Joe Girardi said. "We weren't able to do much in the second game, unfortunately. You win the first one, you want to get greedy and we weren't able to capitalize."
One batter after Gregorius' game-opening error, Starling Marte launched a hanging breaking ball from Eflin over the centerfield wall for a two-run homer. Those turned out to be the only runs the Marlins needed. Right-hander Jordan Holloway pitched five no-hit innings for the win.
The Phillies were without one of their big guns in Game 2. Bryce Harper was treated for dehydration after Game 1 and did not play in the nightcap. The temperature at the start of Game 1 was a stifling 95 degrees.
Girardi said Harper was available to pinch-hit in Game 2 and will be ready to play Saturday night.
The Phils came into Game 2 on a high. Jankowski drove in four runs and Moore struck out nine as the Phils won the opener to run their record to 45-44.
The momentum seemed to vanish with Gregorius' error in the first inning of the nightcap.
Did the error change the complexion of the game?
"Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't," Girardi said.
Eflin said it didn't.
"We get paid to be able to pitch through stuff like that and have each other's backs," Eflin said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to pick Didi up in that situation."
Eflin gave up six hits and six runs over 3⅔ innings. He walked two and hit a batter.
The strength of the Phillies team is the top three in the starting rotation, but the record with Eflin, Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola on the mound is a disappointing 26-28.
"It’s frustrating,” Girardi said. “Today, Zach’s stuff just wasn’t sharp. He wasn't sharp and we didn't score runs. That's a bad combo."
Eflin said he had trouble with his delivery mechanics.
"I felt like I was searching the whole time," he said. "That's not me. That's not what I do. This doesn't sit well with me."
The Phils will turn to Vince Velasquez for the third game of the series Saturday night and Wheeler will pitch the series finale Sunday.
It's imperative that Velasquez give his team a good one because the Phillies need to continue to win series -- they've won three in a row -- if they are going to chase down the New York Mets in the NL East.
"This next two weeks is really important because I think it determines as we move toward the trading deadline what we're going to do," Girardi said.