Less than a day after coming home from a dismal road trip, the Marlins desperately needed a lift.
Dee Gordon and Ichiro Suzuki appeared to give them one immediately Monday afternoon.
Gordon tripled and Ichiro singled putting the Marlins on the board quickly during a two-run first inning.
The boost ended there.
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And by the fifth inning, the Phillies had erased that advantage with three runs off starter Jake Esch and sent the Marlins on their way to a 6-2 defeat.
“We started off good,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “I thought Jake was good the first few innings, but then he gets into a little bit of trouble. And then Austin has the walk and it starts the merry-go-round again early.”
Mired in their longest losing stretch of the season, the Marlins (68-70) dropped their fourth consecutive game and have lost nine of their past 10.
The Marlins are 3-11 since sweeping a three game series in Pittsburgh on August 19-21.
Esch made his second start since being called up from the minors at the end of August after David Phelps landed on the DL with an oblique strain.
Esch opened by pitching four scoreless innings.
But after hitting Aaron Altherr with a pitch to open the fifth, Freddy Galvis smacked a game-tying two-run home run. Galvis hit a fastball from Esch foul two pitches prior to connecting on a slider that he drove into the right field stands.
“I just made a mistake and I left a ball up for him to handle,” Esch said. “If we get it below the zone, maybe he hits a ground ball or something, it was a mistake.”
Peter Bourjos followed with a triple and came around to score two batters later when Miguel Rojas couldn’t come up with a ground ball hit by Cesar Hernandez.
Esch finished with six strikeouts and allowed three hits and two walks on 76 pitches.
“We scored two and I gave up three so [the start] wasn’t good enough,” Esch said. “It was an improvement on the last one for me personally, but it ended up as another loss so I have to be better.”
Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff pitched his second consecutive quality start at Marlins Park, giving up only those two early runs in six innings. Eickhoff gave up six hits, but did not walk any batters and struck out four. In his previous start in Miami on July 26, Eickhoff gave up one run on five hits and struck out eight in seven innings.
The Marlins had a chance to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth.
Tomas Telis led off the frame with a single and advanced two bases on a passed ball and a wild pitch. But he was stranded at third after Ichiro grounded out to second and Martin Prado lined out to center.
“Offensively these are the games we’ve seen all year long,” Mattingly said. “We get a couple of runs early and then when their [starter] starts mixing and matching a little bit, we’ve had trouble.
“In the first inning, we kind of jump guys, but then they’re going to start pitching. They’re going to start using their breaking ball and their changeup and pitching backwards. That’s where we don’t seem to be able to make the adjustment.”
Two more throwing errors in the seventh by reliever Austin Brice led to the Phillies tacking on three more runs.
Galvis reached on the first error after Altherr walked to lead off the inning. Both players moved up on an errant pickoff attempt at second, and scored on a single by Bourjos. Jimmy Paredes added another run on a pinch-hit single off Brian Ellington.
▪ Miguel Rojas left the game in the bottom of the seventh after suffering a left groin strain while tagging Paredes out on an attempt to steal a base in the top half of the inning.