The Phillies had their chances in their 6-4 loss to the Texas Rangers, who had arrived at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday with an 8-14 record for the first of a two-game series.
The Phillies’ moment to strike came in the seventh inning. The Rangers had scored three unearned runs in the sixth to take a 6-3 lead. But in the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies had runners on second and third with nobody out, following Roman Quinn’s infield single and Matt Vierling’s double, and had the top of the order coming up.
The opportunity went to waste. Kyle Schwarber popped out, then Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper struck out to end the threat.
“We just didn’t get any hits with runners in scoring position,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I think the first inning we had three or four hits. We ended up with 11, but we had some opportunities we weren’t able to take advantage of.”
J.T. Realmuto, leading off the eighth, homered to cut the Rangers’ lead to 6-4, but that was as close as the Phillies were to get as their record fell to 11-13.
It will not get any easier from here. After Wednesday’s game with the Rangers, the Mets come to town on Thursday for a four-game series. Then, the Phillies fly to Seattle to take on the 12-11 Mariners, and Los Angeles, to face the 14-7 Dodgers. This series against the Rangers was one that the Phillies could have used to build some momentum before a tough stretch, but their best possible outcome now will be a split.
Bohm’s mixed night
Bohm hadn’t batted second in the lineup since Oct. 3, but he didn’t waste any time heating up in that spot. He started his night with a line single to right field, and in the bottom of the fifth, pulled a 94 mph fastball inside to left field for a double. He finished his night 2-for-4.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, he struggled a bit in the field. In the sixth inning, he committed his first error since his three-error game against the Mets on April 11. With a runner on first and no outs, he bobbled a grounder by Nathaniel Lowe and made a high throw to first base. That ended Phillies starter Ranger Suárez’s night. Seranthony Dominguez came in to strike out his first two batters before Zach Reks hit a two-run double and Marcus Semien drove him in from third on an infield single when Bohm fielded the grounder but kept it in his glove too long. All three runs were unearned.
The defensive mistakes earned Bohm a smattering of boos, but after weathering that three-error night, he feels confident he can bounce back again.
“The sun’s going to come up tomorrow,” he said. “I’ve got to find a way to get over it before 6:45 p.m. [Wednesday], and come back and play another game.”
Bumpy night for Suárez
Suárez kept the Phillies in the game for the five innings he pitched, but he had trouble locating his pitches and was inducing a lot of hard contact from the Rangers lineup. His line was six hits, including home runs by Mitch Garver and Jonah Heim, three earned runs, two walks, and three strikeouts. Most of the hits and the home runs that he gave up came on pitches toward the middle of the plate, and the Rangers were capitalizing on that. They posted the five highest exit velocities of the night — all of them over 105 mph — and worked some long at-bats.
“When he made mistakes they were big mistakes,” Girardi said. “Up in the zone changeup, slider up, and then we gave him extra outs in the sixth inning.
“He was making some mistakes in the middle of the plate. Not getting to the edges where he lives. I thought he was better after the first inning. He started mixing his pitches a little bit more, using his slider. And then he hung a slider.”
The two-game series with the Rangers concludes with Wednesday’s 6:45 p.m. game. The Rangers will have left-hander Martin Perez on the mound and the Phillies will have right-hander Zack Wheeler.