The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the host Miami Marlins on Tuesday night at Marlins Park.
For a second straight game the Phillies defeated the host Miami Marlins at Marlins Park in South Florida, this time by a 4-3 margin on Tuesday night.
The defeats at the hands of what had been a struggling Fightin’ Phils squad when the series opened have severely crippled the already fading NL Wildcard hopes of the host team.
With the two losses the Fish have now dropped five games in a row, nine of their last 10, and are three games below the .500 mark. More importantly, they have slipped to six games back in that Wildcard playoff race.
On this night they were done in by Phillies starting pitcher Adam Morgan, who has generally been a disappointment in the 2016 season.
Morgan (2-9) has made 17 starts among his 19 outings this year, just seven of those as Quality Start efforts. However, last night he registered his second consecutive QS-level performance.
The 26-year old lefty allowed just a single earned run on five hits over his six innings. He struck out five and walked no one, throwing 54 strikes among his 85 total pitches.
The Phillies offense spotted him an early lead, scoring twice in the top of the 1st inning off Marlins starter Jose Urena.
Urena (3-6) was in hot water right off the bat. Cesar Hernandez and Odubel Herrera started off the Phillies 1st with consecutive singles. When Urena walked Maikel Franco, the Phils had the bases loaded with nobody out.
In the top of the 3rd inning, Herrera led off with a triple and came home on an RBI double off the bat of Joseph.
Herrera and Joseph were in the middle of another run in the top of the 5th inning. ‘El Torito’ was hit by a Urena pitch with one out, and moved into scoring position on base hit by Joseph. Galvis then followed with another RBI single, and the Phillies had themselves a 4-0 lead.
With the Marlins flipping to their bullpen, the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs, but former Phillies pitcher Dustin McGowan induced Franco to pop out to end that threat.
The Phils held that 4-1 lead into the bottom of the 8th when the home side to a final good shot at getting the game even.
Hechavarria led off with a double against Phils reliever Hector Neris, and future Baseball Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki then slammed a two-run homer out over the right field wall to make it a 4-3 game.
Neris then bore down, getting a pair of strikeouts, including an inning-ending ‘K’ of former Phillies outfielder Jeff Francoeur to end the inning with the Phils still holding the lead.
“A big part of it is catching a team when they’re scuffling,” said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin per MLB.com contributors. “These last two games reminds me of games we were winning early in the season where we’d scuffle, scratch and claw and come out on top.”