Dodgers 8, Phillies 0: Phillies Waste Excellent Start From Nick Pivetta, Fall Apart Late

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LOS ANGELES - The Phillies received an excellent start from Nick Pivetta on Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't enough to stop a three-game losing streak from becoming a four-game losing streak.

The Phils suffered an 8-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. David Freese's homer against Vince Velasquez with two outs in the bottom of the seventh broke a scoreless tie and things only got worse from there for the Phillies.

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The Dodgers swept the three-game series as the Phillies' losing streak reached a season-high four games and their lead over Atlanta in the NL East shrunk to one game. The Phils are 33-26. The Braves are 32-27.

This marked the first time the Phillies have been swept in a series this season.

The keys

• Pivetta was in the midst of one of the best starts of his career, but manager Gabe Kapler was forced to pinch-hit for him with runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the seventh in a scoreless game. Pinch-hitter Phil Gosselin struck out.

Kapler went to Vince Velasquez in the bottom of the seventh and the right-hander gave up a two-out solo homer to Freese on a hanging slider for the game's first run. After giving up the homer, Velasquez walked two batters and was lifted. Velasquez' ERA as a reliever is 10.39. He has allowed nine hits, including three homers, in 4 1/3 innings.

Phillies pinch-hitters are just 14 for 93 (.151) on the season.

• Dodgers lefty Rich Hill was as good as Pivetta. He held the Phils to three hits over seven shutout innings. He struck out nine. The Phillies are 6-10 against lefty starters this season.

• The Phils mustered only three hits on the day. They struck out 11 times.

• The Phils did not play good defense in the series. Defensive miscues cost them two runs Saturday night and at least two more in a disastrous seven-run eighth inning Sunday after Bryce Harper misplayed a ball in right field and reliever Yacksel Rios threw one away.

Pivetta's day

It was encouraging.

The right-hander was razor sharp. He pitched six shutout innings, walked none and struck out nine before exiting for a pinch-hitter in a scoreless game in the seventh.

Pivetta's fastball topped out at 96.7 mph and he had an excellent curveball. He threw just 82 pitches and got 16 swinging strikes - eight on his heater and five on his curveball.

The trade

Veteran slugger Jay Bruce will join the Phillies on Monday. The Phils picked him up in a trade with Seattle on Sunday. The Phils sent Single A infielder Jake Scheiner to Seattle. The Phillies are paying just $2.75 million of the approximately $21 million that remains on Bruce's deal through next season (see story)

Up next

The Phillies play the next three days in San Diego against the Padres and Manny Machado. Pitching matchups:

Monday night - RHP Aaron Nola (6-0, 4.18) vs. LHP Eric Lauer (4-4, 4.45)

Tuesday night - RHP Jerad Eickhoff (2-3, 4.10) vs. RHP Chris Paddock (4-3, 2.40)

Wednesday afternoon - RHP Jake Arrieta (5-5, 3.96) vs. LHP Joey Lucchesi (4-3, 3.96)

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