Vince Velasquez Struggles Again as Phillies Drop Series

BOX SCORE

A homestand that began with a rousing four-game sweep ended with a whimper as the Phillies were pounded by the Atlanta Braves, 10-1, at Citizens Bank Park on a forgettable and chilly Sunday afternoon.

The Phillies have lost two in a row for the first time since April 3-4 against the Mets. 

The Braves mugged starter Vince Velasquez for six runs in the first three innings and never looked back. The Phils and Braves have played three three-game series against each other in the early part of this season and the Braves have won two of three in each. 

The Phillies finished their 10-game homestand at 6-4. They opened the homestand with a four-game sweep of Pittsburgh then won just two games the rest of the way in a pair of three-game series against Arizona and Atlanta.

The Phillies are 16-11.

Starting pitching has been a strength for the Phillies in the early part of this season, but it showed some cracks in this homestand as Ben Lively, Nick Pivetta and Velasquez all struggled in their most recent starts.

Velasquez allowed a leadoff homer to Ozzie Albies Sunday afternoon and then was tagged for five runs in the third, three on a homer by Johan Camargo on a first-pitch changeup.

Velasquez has given up four home runs and a total of 11 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts. His ERA in six starts is up to 5.70.

Since the start of the 2016 season, 105 pitchers have made 45 or more starts in the majors. Velasquez ranks last among that group with 233 innings pitched.

Brandon McCarthy pitched 5 1/3 innings of one-run ball for his third win of the season in as many starts against the Phillies.

The Phillies' offense produced just five hits and racked up 13 strikeouts. The team has reached double-digits in strikeouts 18 times in 27 games.

Notes:

• Odubel Herrera walked in the first inning to extend his on-base streak to 29 straight games, dating to last season.

• Carlos Santana went 0 for 3 with a walk. He is hitting .160 (15 for 94).

• The Phillies placed shortstop J.P. Crawford on the disabled list and recalled Jesmuel Valentin fro Triple A. Scott Kingery will get the bulk of the time at shortstop (see story).

• The Phils begin a six-game road trip to Miami and Washington Monday night. Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.82) pitches Monday night against Miami's Dan Straily (season debut). The Phillies have not officially named a starter for Tuesday night's game. They could bring Zach Eflin up from Triple A to fill the opening that was created when Lively went on the disabled list.

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