After leading the majors with an average of over eight runs in their first six games, the Phillies were held to a season-low total in a 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Saturday afternoon.
The Phillies left the bases loaded in a one-run game in the bottom of the eighth inning before the Twins blew it open in the ninth.
Jake Arrieta took the loss and early-season concerns about important reliever Seranthony Dominguez continued to mount.
The defeat, in front of the third sellout crowd of the young season, was the Phils' first in five home games.
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The Phils are 5-2. Minnesota is also 5-2.
• Minnesota feasted on three mistakes by Arrieta in the third inning. First, Arrieta wild-pitched a run home then he allowed back-to-back solo homers on a pair of sliders, one that caught too much plate and the other that hung.
• Trailing by two runs in the bottom of the sixth, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs on a single by Jean Segura, a hustle double by Bryce Harper and a walk to Rhys Hoskins. Odubel Herrera got one run home with a sacrifice fly, but the Twins' defense kept the tying run off the board when centerfielder Byron Buxton gunned down Harper at the plate as he tried to score on a fly ball to not-so-deep center. The throw was up the line, but Twins catcher Willians Astudillo was able to make the play on a leaping Harper.
• Down a run in the eighth, the Phillies loaded the bases on two infield hits and a walk, setting up Cesar Hernandez with a chance to change the game. Hernandez fell behind 0-2 to Minnesota lefty Taylor Rogers then grounded out to first base to end the Phillies' last best threat.
The veteran right-hander failed in his bid for big-league win No. 100 as his mates did not provide enough offense to overcome his poor third inning.
Arrieta battled through seven innings, but he didn't fool many hitters. He got just one swinging strike and survived a lot of hard contact while registering just one strike out.
Projected bullpen stud Dominguez has had a rough go of it in the early season. He could not keep the game close in the ninth inning. He allowed a walk, a hit batsman and a three-run homer as the Twins pulled away.
The home run, by lefty hitter Eddie Rosario, came on a 95-mph fastball that had late cutting action. Dominguez has yet to consistently show the fastball thunder that he did as a rookie last year.
Andrew McCutchen led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, but was stranded at third base. In the first seven games, McCutchen has reached base four times leading off. He has a homer, a double, a single and a walk in those situations.
After using the same lineup for the first six games, Gabe Kapler made a slight adjustment and used Andrew Knapp behind the plate. J.T. Realmuto entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
The two teams play the series finale Sunday afternoon at 1. Zach Eflin looks to build on a strong start in Washington. He will go against Twins right-hander Jose Berrios.
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