SAN DIEGO — The Phillies’ season-high losing streak grew to five games on a Monday night to forget in Petco Park.
Not only did the Phillies lose the game, 8-2, they may have lost leadoff man Andrew McCutchen.
The Padres mugged Phillies starter Aaron Nola for six runs in 5⅓ innings. Five of those runs came when Nola unraveled in the sixth inning.
Manny Machado — ever heard of him? — had the big blow in the Padres’ seven-run sixth inning. He belted a grand slam against reliever J.D. Hammer.
The loss left the Phillies at 0-4 on the California road trip. They are 33-27 and their lead over Atlanta in the NL East is down to a half-game.
The Phillies suffered a loss early in the game when McCutchen had to be helped from the field after injuring his left knee in a base-running play in the first inning. He was replaced by newcomer Jay Bruce.
Manager Gabe Kapler said after the game that McCutchen has a left knee sprain and will have an MRI Tuesday.
McCutchen does have some history of knee problems. In fact, he left a game earlier this season when he experienced a locking sensation in his knee.
McCutchen was hurt in a rundown after Padres second baseman Ian Kinsler intentionally let a pop up by Jean Segura drop so he could turn a double play. It was not an infield-fly-rule situation.
The Phillies are already down two outfielders with Roman Quinn on the injured list and Odubel Herrera on administrative leave after a domestic violence charge. The team’s outfield depth also took a hit when Aaron Altherr was let go. The Phils can’t afford to lose another outfielder — especially McCutchen, who has played well and brought an .832 OPS to the Phillies’ leadoff spot.
The right-hander elevated a couple of changeups in the middle innings and the Padres were able to take control of the game on those mistakes. Hulking Franmil Reyes crushed a 2-0 changeup over the centerfield wall to tie the game with two outs in the fifth. It was his 17th homer. An inning later, Nola allowed four hits and a walk as the Padres blew the game open. The big hit against Nola in that inning was a two-run pinch-hit single by Josh Naylor on an elevated 2-2 changeup. Hammer allowed the grand slam to Machado later in the inning.
Nola had entered the game with a 2.50 ERA in his previous seven starts. He is 6-1.
Where has the offense gone?
The Phillies hit .158 (15 for 95) in losing three games over the weekend in Los Angeles. They had just six hits in this game and only two in six innings against Eric Lauer, the Padres’ lefty starter.
The Phils are 6-11 against left-handed starters this season.
The Phillies have scored just eight runs in their last four games.
Reliever Tommy Hunter (elbow strain) continues to make strides toward being activated later this month. He will throw a bullpen session Tuesday then head to Clearwater for more rehab. The Phils have him penciled in to throw to hitters next Monday.
Also, Zach Eflin’s sore back is better. Kapler said the right-hander would come off the injured list and start Friday night at home against the Reds.
Bruce was activated. Reliever Austin Davis was called up from Triple A. Outfielder Nick Williams and pitcher Cole Irvin were optioned to Triple A.
Jerad Eickhoff (2-3, 4.10) pitches Tuesday night against right-hander Chris Paddock (4-3, 2.40). Eickhoff has been hit hard lately — 17 earned runs in 18⅓ innings over his last four starts. The Phils need him to turn it around and deliver a stopper-like performance.