MLB Wild Card: Phillies fall short of perfect homestand in loss to Marlins

·3 min read

Phillies fall short of perfect homestand as offense goes flat on eve of big Mets series originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies were remarkably consistent Thursday afternoon.

They didn't support Kyle Gibson offensively or defensively.

And their bid for a perfect homestand ended in a 3-0 loss to the Miami Marlins at Citizens Bank Park.

In addition to losing the game, the Phils saw slugger Kyle Schwarber exit in the bottom of the fifth inning with a right calf strain. Manager Rob Thomson called the injury "mild." Schwarber likely will not play Friday night in New York.

After averaging 7.3 runs and smacking 10 doubles and 16 homers in the first six games of the homestand -- all wins -- the Phillies' bats went cold against the Marlins' pitching on Thursday. The Phils had just four hits in the first seven innings and seven for the day. They went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position, left 10 men on base and struck out 13 times as they were shut out for the first time since June 24.

The game featured a dramatic ninth inning as the Phils loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk against lefty Tanner Scott.

Scott came back and got two strikeouts and a groundout to end the game.

Edward Cabrera, one of the Marlins' excellent young arms, held the Phils to just three singles (one was an infield hit and one was against the shift) over 5⅔ scoreless innings and the bullpen did the rest. Cabrera struck out six.

Gibson gave the Phillies six quality innings. He pitched out of a no-out, bases-loaded jam in the first inning and bounced off the mound punching his glove in triumph.

But in the second inning, Gibson was charged with an unearned run on a hit by Joey Wendle after first baseman Rhys Hoskins committed an error and Jean Segura lost a ball in the sun to extend the inning.

After the game, Thomson acknowledged that the Phils gave the Marlins five outs in the second inning.

Gibson retired the Marlins in order in the third, fourth and fifth before allowing a pair of two-out singles in the sixth. Both of those hits turned into runs, the first scoring on a wild pitch, the second on a double by Lewin Diaz. The wild pitch was a breaking ball in the dirt that catcher Garrett Stubbs was unable to block with a man on third base.

Despite the loss, it was a strong homestand for the Phillies. They went 6-1 against two NL East rivals and strengthened their place in the wild-card race with 51 games to play.

On the homestand, the Phils swept four games from Washington and took two of three from Miami. The Nationals and Marlins are the two worst teams in the division and the Phils did just what a contending team has to do in those situations: They dominated them.

But now the schedule toughens up on the Phillies. After a 13-game stretch that included 11 games against the Pirates (another losing team), Nationals and Marlins, the Phillies head to New York to face one of the best teams in the majors the next three days.

The New York Mets have led the NL East every day but one this season. They are 73-39 and have won six in a row and 15 of their last 17.

The series will provide a real test for the Phillies as they will face Cy Young collectors Max Scherzer and Jacob deGrom in the first two games.

So far this season, the Phils have lost nine of 12 meetings against the Mets, but the two teams have not played since the end of May and the Phils are a different team since then.

The Phils were swept by the Mets in New York in late May and that hastened the firing of manager Joe Girardi. Thomson took over a few days later and the Phillies, even after Thursday's loss, are 40-20 under him.

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