The Philadelphia Phillies lost the opener of a three game weekend series in Miami to the host Marlins on Friday night at Marlins Park in South Florida.
The Phils were victimized by yet another prodigious home run in the still-young career of Marlins’ superstar outfielder Giancarlo Stanton. The slugger blasted a 475-foot rocket out over the massive art deco “Marlinator” statue and on to the concourse high above center field, a two-run shot in the bottom of the 8th inning off Phils’ reliever Hector Neris (0-1) that would prove the game-winner in a 6-4 Marlins victory.
That blast allowed the Fish to gain a victory that seemed assured early on, but that became questionable when the Phillies rallied from an early deficit. Miami went on top 4-0, getting to Phils’ starter Vincent Velasquez for the four runs on six hits over the game’s first two frames.
In the bottom of the 1st inning, Martin Prado doubled with one out and was immediately followed by a towering two-run homer off the bat of hot 24-year old left fielder Christian Yelich. It was the 4th home run of the season for Yelich, who had a pair of hits on the night to raise his average to the .337 mark.
The hosts doubled their lead in the bottom of the 2nd. After the first two batters reached on singles, Velasquez had a chance to get out of the inning by retiring the next two batters. But J.T. Realmuto and Prado each delivered run-scoring singles to push the Marlins lead out to that early 4-0 cushion.
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Velasquez would settle down well after that point. He retired the next ten batters before walking Stanton to lead off the bottom of the 6th, which would be the 23-year old right-handers final frame. He allowed the four runs on seven total hits, striking out five and walking one.
The Phillies bats got him back into the game, scoring in each of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th innings. In the 3rd, Maikel Franco‘s two-out double scored Odubel Herrera to get them on the board against Marlins’ starter Wei-Yin Chen.
In the top of the 4th, Peter Bourjos slashed a double down the left field line that scored both Freddy Galvis and Velasquez, cutting the Marlins lead down to just 4-3. The Phils then got even in the top of the 5th when Franco ripped his 6th home run of the season out to right field.
Chen would get drilled by the Phillies bats for 11 hits over just five innings. He walked a batter as well and struck out no one in a horrid performance that the Phils simply did not take enough advantage of on this night.
Marlins skipper Don Mattingly would call on his bullpen, and as they have all season long, they would answer that call successfully. Each of Craig Breslow, ex-Phil Nefi Ogando, Kyle Barraclough (2-0), and David Phelps would record a scoreless inning, with Phelps earning his 2nd Save after the Stanton heroics.
“They were hitting everything earlier on the nose,” said Mattingly per MLB.com writers. “If not, they were having good swings. There was not a lot of swing and miss in there. It didn’t look like anybody was getting fooled tonight. That’s going to happen now and then.”
Unfortunately for the Phils and Pete Mackanin, that hard-hitting didn’t result in enough runs, unlike the Marlins own hard-hitting. “They hit them. They don’t get cheap shots, do they?” said Mackanin.
With the win, the Marlins moved to 16-12, one game better than the 16-14 Phillies in the NL East standings. The streaking Fish won for the 11th time in 12 games, and are just a game back of the Mets for 2nd place, 2.5 back of Washington for the division lead. For the Phillies it was a 4th defeat in their last five games.