Phillies Lose in Extras to Marlins
By Matt Veasey
The Phillies putrid season continued to wash away like scummy old bath water down a drain, as the team dropped a 4-3 decision in extra innings to the host Miami Marlins in yet another unique fashion.
This time it was the defense behind closer Ken Giles, who had been a perfect 13-13 in Save opportunities since taking over the role from the traded Jonathan Papelbon at the end of July, which blew a shot at victory.
The Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the top of the 10th, and turned the game over to their closer, normally an automatic victory to this point in his career. But future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki led off the bottom of the 10th with a base hit. It was hit number 2,934 in MLB, and raised his total career hits mark to 4,212 when included those during his 9 seasons in Japan.
The Marlins then used a combination of successful small-ball and Phillies errors to tie it up. First, speedy Dee Gordon laid down a perfect bunt towards Giles, beating it out for a single to put two runners aboard.
Donovan Solano then followed with yet another bunt, trying to move the runners into scoring position with a sacrifice. Carlos Ruiz popped out from behind the plate, fielded the ball, and instead of taking the sure out at 1st base, ‘Chooch’ fired to 3rd in an attempt to cut down Ichiro as the lead runner.
Instead, Ruiz’ hurried throw went wild, Suzuki coming in to score on the E-2. The game was knotted at 3-3, and Giles had suffered the first blown Save of his season.
To reach the extra innings, the teams had traded off a pair of solo runs each, the Phillies scoring one in the top of the 5th and 8th, the Fish in the bottom of the 2nd and 4th.
Miami opened the scoring in that 2nd thanks to more sloppy Phils’ defense. Marcell Ozuna led off with a single. Then 2nd baseman Darnell Sweeney‘s throwing error while trying to force Ozuna out on a grounder by Derek Dietrich instead allowed Ozuna to move up to 3rd base. When J.T. Realmuto followed by grounding into a double play, Ozuna scored for the game’s first run.
In the bottom of the 4th, rookie Justin Bour led off with his 19th homer of the season, the solo shot off Phillies’ starter David Buchanan putting the Fish up by 2-0. Bour is now just one home run shy of becoming only the 2nd Marlins player to hit 20 in a season since the team moved into spacious Marlins Park, joining injured slugger Giancarlo Stanton.
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In what had been a disastrous season, Buchanan pitched well for a 2nd consecutive outing. He scattered 7 hits, walked no one, and lasted 5 innings over which he threw 48 strikes among his 69 pitches.
The Phillies finally got to Marlins’ starter Adam Conley the next inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, veteran catcher Ruiz stepped in against the lefty Conley. Instead of delivering a big hit, Ruiz grounded into a doubleplay. A run scored on the play to make it a 2-1 game, but it was an important missed opportunity.
Still trailing 2-1, the Phils finally got even on the scoreboard in the top of the 8th, taking advantage of a Marlins’ miscue. Erik Kratz drilled a one-out, pinch-hit double, and then moved to 3rd on a ground out.
With Kratz just 90 feet away as the tying run, and with two outs, Aaron Altherr stepped into the box against Miami reliever Mike Dunn. Dunn uncorked a wild pitch, and Kratz broke for home. He was ruled out at the plate, ending the inning. But the Phils challenged the call, which was overturned by replay officials, creating the 2-2 tie.
All that set up the extra innings, and the Phillies had a chance to win when Freddy Galvis delivered a two-out RBI single to score Andres Blanco with the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th inning. But then the events of the bottom of the inning pushed the game into the 11th.
In the bottom of the 11th inning, with the score tied at 3-3, Jerome Williams came on for the Phils and retired the first two batters. But then Miguel Rojas singled to right, Ichiro walked, and the winning run was at 2nd base. Gordon then drove a double to right, and Rojas coasted home with the winning run.
The victory snapped a 4-game losing skid for the Marlins, and with the loss and a win by the Braves, the Phillies’ own ‘Magic Number’ for clinching the worst record in baseball and the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft dropped to 5.