MIAMI -- It wasn’t one or two big hits that did in the Phillies this time in their personal den of horrors. No, what happened here Friday night was defeat by a thousand paper cuts.
A single through the drawn-in infield. ... An airmailed throw that negated a routine force at second base and possibly a double play. ... Another RBI single through the infield, and still another up the middle. ... A bases-loaded walk. ... A wild pitch.
On and on it went, for 12 batters and through two pitching changes in a sixth inning that felt like it may last long into the South Florida night. When it was finally over, the Marlins scored seven runs, matching the biggest inning against the Phillies this season and putting an end to their six-game winning streak with a 10-3 loss in the opener of a three-game series.
“It’s baseball, man,” said third baseman Freddy Galvis, the culprit on the aforementioned errant throw. “We’ve been playing really good baseball. Today was just one inning. That’s it. We have to turn the page and go out and win tomorrow.”
Kyle Gibson was charged with eight runs, twice as many as in his previous three starts combined. Really, though, he didn’t make many mistakes. There was the hanging changeup to Jesús Sánchez for a three-run homer in the first inning and the slider that Jazz Chisholm Jr. hit for a leadoff triple in that U-G-L-Y sixth inning. Gibson was upset at himself for doubling up on curveballs to Jorge Alfaro, who flailed at the first before hitting the second up the middle for an RBI single.
Otherwise, Gibson got a bunch of ground balls that went for hits because the Phillies were unable to turn them into outs.
Galvis was a repeat offender in the sixth inning. Starting at third base, he was unable to corral second baseman Jean Segura’s one-hop relay throw that beat Chisholm to third base. Two batters later, Galvis threw wide of second base with a chance to force out Miguel Rojas.
“It just slipped out of my hand,” Galvis said.
In between, Segura couldn’t smother Rojas’ smash. The ball went into right field, enabling Chisholm to score the go-ahead run.
“That’s a tough play for Jean,” manager Joe Girardi said. “He got a ball on the ground that Rojas hit. If it’s over a little bit, it’s an out. Unfortunately, it wasn’t.”
Regardless of whether the Phillies find their way into the playoffs -- and they remained two games back in both the NL East and wild-card races, with Atlanta and Cincinnati both losing -- the defense will need to be addressed this winter. Entering Friday night, they were tied with the Detroit Tigers for the fewest defensive runs saved (minus-53) in baseball.
The defensive struggles haven’t come as a surprise to Phillies officials. President of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has spoken candidly about an area that he knew would be a weakness. But he also believed the Phillies would outhit their miscues, and lately, they have.
But this sixth inning was too much to overcome, especially with the Phillies going 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position.
Miami is (not) nice
A year ago, the Phillies came to Miami with the fifth-best record in the National League. They lost five of seven games to the Marlins, the start of a slide that left them out of the playoffs.
Dating back to the 2019 season, the Phillies are 6-12 in their last 18 games at Marlins/loanDepot Park.
“I mean, we’re 2-3 here [this season],” Girardi said. “We need to start a streak again. It’s important because we need to win games now. There’s not that many left.”
Gibson, acquired in a July 30 trade with Texas, doesn’t have firsthand experience with the Phillies’ rough history here. And he said he hasn’t heard much chatter about it in the clubhouse.
“Some teams and some matchups just end up that way,” Gibson said. “There’s been a couple years in my past, in Minnesota when we were not too good, Cleveland never wanted to play us. Every now and then that happens. But we’re still really confident. We’re excited to come back out tomorrow and get it going the right way again.”
Rookie outfielder Matt Vierling continued to sizzle at the plate.
Vierling picked up his first career RBI and drew the Phillies within 3-2 in the second inning with a triple into the right-field corner that scored Andrew McCutchen from first base. In the sixth inning, Vierling tied the game at 3-3 on a double to left field.
In three games since getting called up from triple-A Lehigh Valley, Vierling is 6-for-10 with three extra-base hits.
Freddy was ready
Galvis hit his first career leadoff home run to cap a seven-pitch at-bat in which he made Marlins starter Jesus Luzardo throw each of his pitches. He saw four sinkers, a changeup, a curveball, and a 97-mph four-seam fastball from the Marlins starter, eventually going deep on the heater. Galvis also doubled in the fifth inning.
Although Galvis has led off only 56 times in his career, Girardi seems to like him at the top of the order against left-handed pitchers. Odúbel Herrera usually bats leadoff against righties.