Plenty of Fireworks, But Another Phils Loss

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76. Final. 7. 6. 8

The Milwaukee Brewers, with the second-worst record in all of Major League Baseball, defeated the Phillies, the team with baseball’s worst overall record, by a score of 8-7 in 11 innings on Thursday night.

The victory gave the Brew Crew a sweep of the four-game series, which pushes the Phillies “lead” in the race for the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft up to a full half-dozen games over Milwaukee.

More from That Balls Outta Here

For one night, there was some of the old buzz back at Citizens Bank Park. A crowd of more than 30,000 was on hand thanks to the promise of a post-game, pre-Independence Day fireworks extravaganza. The Phils treated them to a late rally to force extra innings, but the final result was what has become usual this season – frustration, and loss.

The Brewers jumped out to a big early lead for the 2nd straight game, whacking Phils’ starting pitcher Chad Billingsley around for 10 hits and 3 walks to produce 7 runs against the righty in just 5 innings.

Billingsley was returning from the DL, where he had spent the last 6+ weeks resting, recovering, and rehabbing from right shoulder soreness. He had previously made just three May starts after finally returning from two years off following his 2nd Tommy John surgery in 2013 while with the Dodgers.

The Brewers scored 3 in the 1st inning to jump out in front right off the bat, as Billingsley was clearly struggling with command and velocity right from his first pitches thrown. He walked the leadoff man, Gerardo Parra, and followed that by allowing three consecutive singles, producing a pair of runs. A sac fly brought home the third.

In the top of the 2nd, Parra’s RBI double made it a 4-0 lead for the visitors. The Phils then cut that lead in half right away thanks to Cody Asche lining a 2-run homer to right center. But in the top of the 3rd, three consecutive two-out singles got Milwaukee another run, stretching their lead out to 5-2.

On the mound for the Brewers, starter Matt Garza was getting hit hard by the Phils, but was having more success at stranding baserunners than was Billingsley. Garza allowed 4 earned runs on 10 hits over 6 innings pitched.

The Phillies bunched 5 of those hits, all singles, in the home 4th to score twice more and cut the lead to 5-4. But Garza bore down and got the hot Maikel Franco to pop out to 1st base with the bases loaded to end that rally.

As has been the case so often this season, the Phillies gave those runs right back. The Brewers scored twice in the top of the 5th inning, a 2-run single from Jean Segura as the key hit to close out the scoring against Billingsley. He threw 92 pitches in his return, 60 of those for strikes.

The Brewers bullpen has been pitching great in this series, but the Phillies bats finally got to them, tying the game with 3 runs off two relievers in the bottom of the 7th. Cesar Hernandez led off with a single against Jonathan Broxton, and one out later Ryan Howard drove an opposite-field RBI double to make it 7-5, chasing Broxton.

Brewers manager Craig Counsell then turned to Will Smith, and Ben Revere greeted him with an RBI single to score Howard and make it a 7-6 game. Following a walk, Freddy Galvis then singled to score Revere with the tying run.

The two bullpens then battled the game into extra innings. The Phils used Justin De Fratus for two innings, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon for one each, to get the game to the 11th. The Brewers went through Jeremy Jeffress for one, and Tyler Blazek, who would ultimately be credited with his 5th win, for two innings.

That successful bullpen action setup the 11th, where the Brewers pushed a run across against Luis Garcia. Jonathan Lucroy led off with a double off Garcia (2-3), and the Brewers catcher scored one out later on a single from Adam Lind. In the bottom of the 11th, Francisco Rodriguez came on to record his 18th Save, his third in three games.

The Phils wasted a big offensive night in which the lineup recorded 16 hits. Four different players, Hernandez, Asche, Galvis, and Odubel Herrera had three hits apiece. But it all went for naught, as the club lost their 7th of the last 8 games. The game also marked the midway point of the schedule, with the Phillies 27-54 record having them on pace for a 108-loss season.

The team now travels to Atlanta for the weekend, where they will begin a 10-game, 3-city road trip that will take them from the southeast to the west coast for a 4-game series with the Dodgers and a 3-gamer with the Giants. That will lead up until the MLB All-Star break, and the Phils won’t return home again until Friday night, July 17th. Frankly, the fans can use the break.

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