PHOENIX – Poor relief pitching and missed opportunities at the plate cost the Phillies dearly in a 8-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.
The Phillies carried a 3-2 lead into the sixth inning, but relievers Ranger Suarez, Blake Parker and Zach Eflin were tagged for a combined six runs – three on homers -- over three innings as the lead got away.
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Corey Dickerson led off the game with a solo homer for the Phillies and rookie Adam Haseley had three hits and two RBIs. Otherwise, the offense did not do enough. The Phillies had just one hit in their first 12 chances with a runner in scoring position – they finished 2 for 17 – and they left 12 men on base.
This has been a big problem for the Phils recently. Over the weekend, they lost two of three to the White Sox. They went 5 for 26 with runners in scoring position in the series and left 27 men on base.
The Phils are 59-54. They currently hold the second spot in a tight NL wild-card race. Washington leads the wild-card race.
Jake Arrieta continues to pitch with a bone spur in his elbow. The issue has turned him into a five-inning pitcher. He has averaged just 4 2/3 innings in his last six starts.
Arrieta got through five in this one and left with a 3-2 lead, thanks to some help from Bryce Harper in right field. Arrieta allowed five hits, one of which was a two-run homer. He walked two and struck out five.
Arrieta allowed a game-tying two-run homer to Eduardo Escobar in the fourth. The Phillies got the lead back in the fifth on a double by Rhys Hoskins, which was followed by an Arizona error that led to a run.
Arrieta pitched into trouble in the bottom of the fifth inning as Arizona put runners on second and third with one out and its two best hitters due up. Arrieta was able to get out of trouble thanks to Harper's long run and diving catch on a pop up to shallow right by Ketel Marte. Arrieta then got the third out when Escobar popped out on the first pitch.
With Arrieta unable to pitch deep into games, the Phillies had to go to the bullpen with a one-run lead in the bottom of the sixth. Suarez was the first man up and he had trouble throwing strikes. He allowed a one-out single, then walked two men to load the bases before falling behind Alex Avila and giving up a two-run single to right that put Arizona up by a run. Fourteen of the 25 pitches that Suarez threw were balls. Not good.
Big missed chance
The Phillies squandered several good scoring chances en route to leaving 10 men on base. Most damaging was the top of the sixth when they had the bases loaded, one out and Hoskins and Harper due up. Arizona lefty Andrew Chafin struck out both of them to get out of the jam and the D-backs pulled away against the Phillies' bullpen after that.
Jason Vargas makes his second Phillies start in the series finale Wednesday night. He will pitch against Arizona's Zac Gallen, a South Jersey native who pitched his high school ball at Bishop Eustace. Gallen went 1-3 with a 2.72 ERA for the Miami Marlins this season. He was traded to the Diamondbacks last week and will be making his debut with the club.
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