Five-inning circus dooms Phillies to second straight loss to Braves

Five-inning circus dooms Phillies to second straight loss to Braves

ATLANTA – For the second straight game, the Phillies played a sloppy defense and their bullpen couldn’t hold off the Atlanta Braves’ offense.

“We gave it away,” manager Joe Girardi said after his team’s 8-4 loss Wednesday night at the home of the Braves.

The Braves opened a 4-4 game with two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Reliever Jose Alvarado threw a wild pitch and gave up a homer in the inning and center back Odubel Herrera made a costly mistake on a fly ball that escaped everyone but the peanut seller.

It was the Phillies’ seventh loss in the last 10 games, dropping them to four games under .500 at 20-24.

They haven’t had five games under .500 this season and the feeling inside the clubhouse is one of dejection.

“The atmosphere is obviously not good,” said receiver JT Realmuto. “We think we’re a much better team than the way we’re playing at the moment and it’s up to us at this club to play better.

“We have to do better in all aspects of the game. We’re not throwing well enough. We’re not hitting well enough. We’re not playing well enough in defense.

“It’s pretty dark right now at this clubhouse after this loss and that’s how it should be. Because we expect to win. We just have to play better if we want to get where we want to go. .

The Phillies won Game 1 of the series on Monday night. Their back-to-back losses coincided with the New York Mets’ first-place finish losing two in a row. The Phils squandered a chance to regain ground in Eastern Newfoundland and remain eight games behind the Mets while the Braves are seven behind.

The Phillies play a three-game series in New York against the Mets starting Friday night.

Things started well for the Phillies on Wednesday night. They took a 1-0 lead on a Herrera solo homer in the second inning. The Braves came back quickly with four runs against Ranger Suarez late in the second inning and never trailed again.

William Contreras, who hit the hit Tuesday night, started the Braves’ second-inning rally with a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch by Suarez.

Suarez has allowed six homers in 43 2/3 innings this season. Last season, he allowed just four in 106 innings.

Herrera had another RBI hit in the fourth and Nick Castellanos and Jean Segura made runs in the fifth to make it 4-4.

The Braves came right back and took control of the game in the bottom of the fifth and took the win.

“It’s a huge stoppage inning to keep the momentum on your side and the fact that we just gave it back to them was definitely not ideal,” Realmuto said.

The Phillies made their best impression of a Ringling Brothers act in this bottom of the fifth. In a 4-4 game, Suarez gave up a first single to Dansby Swanson, then knocked out Marcell Ozuna before being lifted to 88 pitches in favor of southpaw Jose Alvarado.

Alvarado’s second pitch against Austin Riley was a wild pitch. Realmuto picked up the wild pitch and pitched second as Swanson moved forward. The throw was high and went past second baseman Jean Segura’s glove. He also eluded shortstop Bryson Stott, who was backing up on the play. Finally, the pitch slid into center field, where it passed Herrera who was charging. So on one play the ball was got by three Phillies Segura, Stott and Herrera – and Swanson was able to score the go-ahead from first base without the batter putting the ball in play.

Three pitches later, Riley put the ball in play, homering into the left field seats to give the Braves a 6-4 lead.

Only Herrera was accused of a mistake on the game that no one made, but there could have been more.

It was the second night in a row that a Phillies center back made an error that led to a point. Roman Quinn missed a fly ball late in the ninth on Tuesday night.

There were other moments of neglect for the Phillies in Wednesday night’s game. The over-aggressive Bryce Harper, who had four hits, made a base run error trying to stretch a single into a double in the first inning and Castellanos missed a cut-off man that helped the Braves to score a point in second.

“The little things add up, whether they’re good or bad,” Girardi said. “Sometimes they go unnoticed. Who knows what happens in the first run, right? You know, there’s no guarantee we’ll score, but first and third with one out is better than third with two outs. Missing the cutoff man probably led to an extra run for them. It makes a big difference.”

Suarez hasn’t been pointed for the second straight outing. He allowed 10 basers on six hits and four walks in 4 1/3 innings. He was charged with five runs. The southpaw’s ERA is 4.74, which no one expected, after nine starts.

“His command hasn’t been the same as last year, and we have to find a way to get him back on track,” Girardi said. “He was everywhere at once. He was really missing his spots. He just left.

Aaron Nola pitches for the Phillies in the series finale on Thursday night. The Phils will need a win to avoid losing their 10th series this season. They only won four.

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