Phillies blow 7-game lead with loss to Diamondbacks

The Phillies take a 7-run lead under the weight of 8 walks and a bad mistake appeared first on NBC Sports Philadelphia

PHOENIX — This was a tale of two games, the one in which the Phillies blew a big lead and should have won, and the one where they blew said big lead and endured one of their ugliest and most demoralizing losses of the season.

Really, that was bad.

So bad, you should consider yourself lucky if you fell asleep on the couch back home in the middle innings.

The Phils scored seven early runs and then completely collapsed in the middle innings Monday night to open a six-game trip out West with a 13-7 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“Disappointing,” was the first word out of coach Rob Thompson’s mouth when he met with reporters after the game. “Disappointing for everyone.

“You just have to wash it off and forget about it. It happens every now and then. You just have to turn the page and move on.”

On the scale of bad losses, this was right up there with that May 5 loss to the Mets, the one where the Phillies put up six runs in the ninth and gave up seven to lose, 8-7.

It was right up there with the May 24 loss at Atlanta, when Bryce Harper hit a two-run homer in the top of the ninth to give the Phils the lead and Joe Girardi asked Nick Nelson instead of Corey Knebel to close it out. Knebel wanted the ball but was denied because he had fielded the previous two days. Nelson gave up two runs in the bottom of the ninth. That heartbreaking loss helped pave the way for Girardi’s firing, which was probably cemented five days later when the Phils took the lead on a late, three-run homer by Nick Castellanos to walk away from the Mets.

Thomson took over for Girardi on June 3, and it’s been mostly good times with him at the helm. The Phils entered Monday’s game with a 50-27 record under Thompson. That .649 winning percentage propelled the Phillies into playoff contention, and they entered Monday night holding the fifth seed in the National League playoff party.

For a few innings Monday night, the Phils looked like a playoff-worthy team. They rocked Arizona starter Madison Bumgarner for 11 hits — eight of them coming off bats over 100 mph — and seven runs through the first four innings. Bryce Harper had two doubles and Kyle Schwarber drove in four runs with a base hit and his league-leading 36th homer.

Leading 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, the Phils completely fell apart.

They gave up six runs in that inning and six more in the bottom of the fifth. The Diamondbacks sent 22 men to the plate in those two innings and Phillies pitchers threw an ungodly 91 pitches.

It was the first time in franchise history that the Diamondbacks scored six runs in back-to-back innings.

Ranger starter Suarez, who had gone the first three innings, struggled and threw 36 pitches in the fourth. The Diamondbacks scored six times to make it a one-run game. Four of the runs were unearned after a fatal error by second baseman Jean Segura. If Segura had made the play on Corbin Carroll’s ground ball, the Phils would have been out of the game with a 7-2 lead and the entire night might have been different.

“I didn’t do my job today,” Segura said. “It’s just part of the game. Basically, I don’t want to make that mistake in that situation, especially when we have that kind of lead early in the game. I was trying to grab it, but unfortunately, I just didn’t do my job today.”

In the fifth inning, Phillies relievers Cristopher Sanchez and Andrew Bellatti combined to walk five batters. Sanchez also hit a bunt with the bases loaded to bring home the tying run. Belati walked two with the bases loaded.

For the game, Phillies pitchers walked eight and hit one batter.

“We really swung the bats well,” Thompson said. “We were playing good defense early. Sometimes when guys don’t throw strikes, you get on your heels and it looks bad.”

Other than collapsing on the mound and defensively in the middle innings, the Phillies did nothing offensively after chasing Bumgarner from the game with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. They didn’t get a hit after Bumgarner left the game.

Maybe this was just one bad game for the Phillies. Maybe they’ll bounce back with Aaron Nola on the mound Tuesday night. The offense will have a tougher task than Bumgarner posed, as Arizona starter Zac Gallen hasn’t given up a run in 27 1/3 innings over his last four starts.

Bad losses like Monday night’s are sometimes easy to get over, especially when a team has played as well as the Phillies have lately.

“This team has been playing such great baseball the last three months,” Segura said. “That, you’ve got to pick it up, throw it away and come back and continue to play the game we’ve been playing the last three months. I think the guys have done a really good job as a team. Go forward.”

If there was one lingering concern, it might have been Suarez. Two straight starts now, he has lost control of the strike zone in the middle innings. After that, he insisted that he was healthy and would find an answer. He is scheduled to take the ball again Sunday when the Phils close out the trip to San Francisco.

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