Bullpen blows eighth-inning lead as Phillies fail to sweep Marlins
PHILADELPHIA >> Phillies manager Pete Mackanin still isn’t sure why reliable reliever Hector Neris didn’t throw his best pitch in a big spot.
With the Phillies leading by two runs in the eighth and closing in on a three game-sweep of the Miami Marlins, Neris allowed a two-run homer to Christian Yelich and a go-ahead infield single to J.T. Realmuto as the Marlins rallied for a 5-4 victory Sunday.
“Neris has been our best guy in the eighth inning,” Mackanin said. “He’s been fantastic all year. I just wish he would have gone to the splitter.”
Derek Dietrich reached base three times and added an RBI for the Marlins, who avoided falling further back in the NL wildcard race.
Reliever Mike Dunn improved to 4-1 and A.J. Ramos pitched a scoreless ninth for his 37th save.
After Yelich hit a tworun homer off the leftfield foul pole, Miami’s rally continued when Marcell Ozuna reached second as Cesar Hernandez and Tommy Joseph collided trying to catch a routine pop up. After moving to third on a groundout, Ozuna came home when Realmuto, who entered the game the previous inning, hit a sharp grounder down the line that third baseman Maikel Franco fielded cleanly but threw wide.
“This is how we play,” Yelich said. “We play hard all the time. If you play hard, you can live with the results.”
Freddy Galvis and Odubel Herrera both homered for the Phillies. Tommy Joseph, who hit his 20th home run of the season the previous night, added a pair of hits, including an RBI single in the first. Galvis followed with another RBI single two batters later against struggling Miami starter Andrew Cashner.
Herrera added his 14th home run of the year to lead off the third, extending Philadelphia’s lead to 3-0. He’s now 12 for 23 in his last six games.
Galvis hit another solo blast in the sixth, his 20th homer. He finished with three hits and also made a spectacular defensive play in the third.
“We let it slip away,” Mackanin said. “We should have won that game.”
Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI single in the fifth, breaking up Alec Asher’s shutout bid. Dietrich followed with an RBI single to chase Asher before reliever Joely Rodriguez induced an inning-ending double play to preserve the Phillies’ 3-2 lead.
Making his third start of the season after serving an 80-game suspension for PEDs, Asher allowed six hits and two earned runs while striking out four and walking zero.
“I think it went well,” Asher said. “I executed a lot of pitches. The hits they got, I felt were soft singles. They find holes and there’s nothing you can do about it.”
TIME TO LEAVE
Marlins third baseman Martin Prado was ejected after striking out to end the third, throwing his helmet against the ground in disgust and arguing with home plate umpire Dale Scott. Ichiro Suzuki replaced him.
Mackanin was disappointed to see Hernandez collide with Joseph on the eighth-inning error that led to Miami’s go-ahead run.
“If Cesar is going to make an attempt to catch it, he’s got to call it,” the Phillies manager said. “He never said a word. That was a mental mistake on his part.”
SIGN HIM UP
Some of the biggest cheers of the game came in the bottom of the second when a Phillies fan sitting along the right-field line caught a sharp line drive off the bat of Aaron Altherr — with one hand.
Phillies: Veteran slugger Ryan Howard missed his second straight game with knee soreness. Mackanin said he could return Tuesday.
Phillies: They begin a two-game home series vs. the White Sox on Tuesday with Philadelphia RHP Jake Thompson (2-5, 5.64) opposing Chicago RHP James Shields (5-17, 5.84).
Phillies center fielder Roman Quinn (24) chases a ball in the eighth inning Sunday in Philadelphia.