It’s a logjam at the bottom.
The Marlins dropped into a tie with the last-place Phillies on Sunday with a 2-0 loss at Marlins Park.
And for the second time in the series, the Marlins lost to a rookie pitcher. This time it was former first-round pick Aaron Nola who did the deed, delivering eight scoreless innings in which he held the Marlins to three hits.
“We just couldn’t figure out Nola,” said Marlins manager Dan Jennings.
The Phillies, who have dealt core pieces Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Jonathan Papelbon and Ben Revere in recent weeks, took three out of four in the series.
Marlins rookie Adam Conley, who received the loss, battled through difficulty in the third and fourth innings but got out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the fourth with a pair of whiffs and retired the final eight batters he faced.
“I think today started off pretty rough, but I was able to find some rhythm there at the end,” Conley said.
The Phillies touched Conley for a run in the third on rookie Aaron Altherr’s sacrifice fly and added another run in the seventh on Cameron Rupp’s solo homer off Chris Narveson.
It was the second straight day the Marlins failed to make good use of a strong pitching performance by one of their rookie starters. Justin Nicolino also turned in a good effort on Saturday to not avail.
“To waste good starting pitching is frustrating,” Jennings said.
Nola, who was the seventh overall pick in 2014 out of LSU, held the Marlins to three hits -- all singles -- while walking two. The only Marlin to make it into scoring position was Adeiny Hechavarria, who reached on a two-out bunt in the fifth and stole second.
Nola has gone 4-1 since his call-up from the minors in late July. He was taken five spots after the Marlins selected Tyler Kolek with the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft.
Kolek is 4-10 with a 4.44 ERA at Low-A Greensboro.
The Marlins have now lost seven of their past eight games to the Phillies.
The two teams have six games remaining, including the final three games of the season in Philadelphia.
Jose Fernandez doesn’t know when he will return to the mound for the Marlins, or how many starts he will make before the end of the season. But he said he’s determined to pitch once his arm is ready.
“If I’m ready to come back, I’m coming back,” he said.
Fernandez will take an important step in that direction Thursday when he throws his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list with a right biceps strain.
The Marlins can thank outfield coach Brett Butler for convincing Cole Gillespie to sign as a free agent last November. Gillespie, who is hitting .319 in a reserve role, said he entertained offers from a handful of teams.
But he chose the Marlins due to his close bond with Butler, who was his manager in the Diamondbacks’ farm system for several years.
“I’ve known him for a long time,” Butler said. “He’s like a son to me.”
Butler said that when Gillespie’s mother died during spring training a few years ago, the player’s father called Butler to help him break the news and soften the blow.
“His dad called me and said, ‘I know how much you care about my son. Would you be next to him when I tell him his mom passed away,’” Butler recalled. “So I handed him the phone and stood by when he got the news. Tragedy kind of brings people together.”
Butler said the only thing that’s held Gillespie back has been opportunity -- “nothing more, nothing less.”
▪ Monday: Marlins RHP Tom Koehler (8-11, 4.02 ERA) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates LHP J.A. Happ (1-1, 2.87), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
▪ Tuesday: Marlins LHP Brad Hand (3-3, 4.46) vs. Pittsburgh Pirates RHP Charlie Morton (8-4, 4.06), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.