PHILLIES KEEP FLOUN­DER­ING

Play­off chances take an­other hit as team falls 41⁄2 games out

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Aaron Bracy

PHILADEL­PHIA — A lit­tle lunchtime wis­dom served Chris­tian Vazquez well.

Vazquez home­red twice, in­clud­ing his first ca­reer grand slam, and drove in a ca­reer-high five runs to lead the Bos­ton Red Sox to a 6-3 vic­tory over the Philadel­phia Phillies on Sun­day.

The Red Sox catcher had gone with­out a homer for 13 straight games and had just one in 25 con­tests en­ter­ing Sun­day. He was stuck on 19 homers and try­ing to reach 20 — prob­a­bly try­ing too hard. Over lunch on Thurs­day with man­ager Alex Cora and for­mer big league slug­ger Car­los Del­gado, Vazquez lis­tened as the two told him not to press.

“Don’t look for No. 20, it’s go­ing to come,” Vazquez said of their ad­vice. “Look for line drives, get a cou­ple hits and get your con­fi­dence back. It’s go­ing to come.”

Vazquez put Bos­ton ahead 5-1 in the third with his grand slam, a drive just over the wall in left on a 2-1, 71-mph curve­ball from Ja­son Var­gas (6-8).

Ce­sar Her­nan­dez’s RBI sin­gle in the fifth pulled the Phillies within 5-2, but Vazquez re­sponded in the sixth by tak­ing Mike Morin deep to left. It was Vazquez’s 21st homer and first ca­reer multi-homer game, be­com­ing the first Red Sox catcher with mul­ti­ple homers in a con­test since Ja­son Varitek clubbed three on May 20, 2001.

“He’s swing­ing the bat well,” Cora said.

An­drew Ben­in­tendi had a pair of hits for the de­fend­ing World Series cham­pi­ons, who have won three in a row. Bos­ton be­gan play trail­ing Tampa Bay by 10 games for the AL’s sec­ond wild card.

Rick Por­cello (13-12) al­lowed two runs on five hits with six strike­outs and a walk in five in­nings.

“The break­ing ball was good, good con­vic­tion be­hind all his pitches,” Cora said. “He works hard try­ing to find it. We felt that five in­nings was good. He did an out­stand­ing job.”

Rhys Hoskins home­red for the Phils, who fell to 4 1⁄2 games be­hind the Cubs for the fi­nal wild-card spot in the NL. The Phillies also trailed the Brew­ers and Mets, and they’ll now head on the road for an 11-game trip.

“Def­i­nitely is a tough spot,” Phillies man­ager Gabe Kapler said. “From here on out, ev­ery game is like Game 7 of a play­off series.”

Bran­don Work­man pitched a score­less ninth for his 14th save.

The Red Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the first, but Var­gas got out of the jam with just one run al­lowed on J.D. Martinez’s sac­ri­fice fly to right. But Var­gas couldn’t es­cape sim­i­lar trou­ble in the third.

Var­gas lasted three in­nings, giv­ing up five runs — four earned — on three hits with six strike­outs and a walk. The 36-year-old lefty dropped to 0-3 with a 5.48 ERA in nine starts since being ac­quired from the Mets on July 29.

Quick hook?

Kapler and right fielder Bryce Harper were ejected in the fourth in­ning by plate um­pire Gabe Mo­rales for ar­gu­ing af­ter Harper was called out on strikes for the sec­ond time in the game.

Mo­rales rung up Harper on a pitch that looked to be low. Harper watched the video and then told Mo­rales, “It’s not even [bleep­ing] close.”

Both Harper and Kapler felt Mo­rales should’ve showed some re­straint.

“You’ve just got to be bet­ter in big games,” Harper said. “He wasn’t go­ing to take it to­day.”

Kapler charged out to the plate for an an­i­mated con­ver­sa­tion with Mo­rales, earn­ing the man­ager his fourth ejec­tion of the sea­son.

“Ev­ery­body can look at the pitch and see why Bryce was up­set,” Kapler said. “In a game of this mag­ni­tude, there could’ve been a longer leash.”

Ex­tra-ex­tra

Hoskins has 12 ex­tra-base hits (eight dou­bles, a triple and three homers) in his last 17 games.

Trainer’s room

Phillies: LF Corey Dick­er­son (sore left foot) was not in the lineup for the third straight game.

Up next

Phillies: Philadel­phia also has Mon­day off be­fore start­ing an 11-game trip at At­lanta on Tues­day night. Phillies RHP Vince Ve­lasquez (6-7, 4.95) op­poses Braves LHP Dal­las Keuchel (8-5, 3.35).

HUNTER MARTIN/GETTY-AFP

Phillies man­ager Gabe Kapler ar­gues with um­pire Gabe Mo­rales in the fourth in­ning of Sun­day’s 6-3 loss to the Red Sox. Kapler and Bryce Harper were ejected for ar­gu­ing af­ter Harper was called out on strikes for the sec­ond time in the game.

HUNTER MARTIN/GETTY

The Phillies’ Ja­son Var­gas al­lowed five runs — four earned — on three hits in three in­nings Sun­day against the Red Sox.

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