Being one of the best fielding teams coupled with nearly untouchable late-inning relief made the Marlins one of baseball’s hottest teams over the past two weeks.
The Phillies once again made both look far more average.
The Marlins heavily used bullpen failed to protect a lead in the eighth inning in consecutive games as the visiting Phillies rallied for a 6-5 win on Sunday, their second comeback victory in a row.
The back-to-back losses came after an 11-1 stretch for the Marlins (16-14) that matched a franchise record.
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“It seemed like we set the tone Friday with that first win,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “But we just keep taking leads, and those guys just keep coming. We let them back in today and put ourselves in a tougher spot than we should have.”
The Marlins’ bullpen entered the weekend with 12 saves, the most in baseball until being matched by the Phillies, whose closer Jeanmar Gomez picked up his second save in a row Sunday and 11th of the season.
David Phelps, who closed out Friday’s win over the Phillies, had been prolific in the setup role ahead of closer A.J. Ramos this season with a 1.00 ERA in 15 appearances before Sunday.
But the Phillies tagged him for two runs in the eighth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Tyler Goeddel and pinch-hitter Andres Blanco.
The loss came one night after the Phillies scored three runs in the eighth, two of which were charged to reliever Kyle Barraclough and scored on hits off lefty Craig Breslow.
Barraclough had not given up a run in 10 2/3 prior innings pitched.
The Phillies (18-14), whose .226 team batting average and 98 runs scored each ranked second-worst to the Braves entering Sunday, scored more than four runs for the first time in their past 13 games.
“They’re fighting,” said Phelps of the Phillies. “They’re playing with a lot of confidence, same way we have been this year. They put a lot of scrappy at-bats together.”
The Marlins led 3-0 after five innings, backed up by a solid start from Justin Nicolino.
But an error contributed to a three-run sixth that allowed the Phillies to tie the game.
Adeiny Hechavarria tracked down a hard roller by Freddy Galvis, then turned and quickly tried firing the ball to second. The throw was wide of the base and ended up in right field, allowing two runs to score. The miscue became costlier moments later when Darin Ruf scored on a groundout by Goeddel, tying the game at 3.
The Phillies took a 4-3 lead in the seventh on a chaotic groundout by Cesar Hernandez that allowed Odubel Herrera to score from second. Hernandez broke his bat, sending a piece flying between first base and the mound as reliever Nefi Ogando broke to cover the bag. Ogando had to reach out to snare the throw from Justin Bour at first, then collided with the oncoming Hernandez, knocking both players to the ground. Hernandez was ruled out on the tag, but with Ogando on the ground Herrera took advantage and scored the go-ahead run.
“Hech makes a nice play in the hole and the ball gets away from him,” Mattingly said. “That’s a tough play later on at first base as well. All different aspects kind of went south on us a little bit.”
Ogando was checked by trainers and was able to finish the inning.
“You just field the ball and throw to first, [Hernandez] made the smart play not stopping and following through,” Bour said. “Credit to [Herrera] for making the smart play, too, in seeing the collision [at first], and he kept rolling.”
The fielding miscues came one day after the Phillies scored the eventual winning run on a dropped relay throw by Chris Johnson on a potential inning-ending double play.
Pinch-hitting on Sunday, Johnson earned a measure of redemption by tying the game with a solo home run in the seventh.
The Marlins then loaded the bases with one out and took a short-lived 5-4 lead when Bour drove a ball to right field for a sacrifice fly that scored Ichiro Suzuki, who reached base with his 2,948th career hit.
Nicolino lasted six innings in his third start since being placed in the rotation on April 27 and gave up three runs, with only two of them earned because of Hechavarria’s error. He walked one and struck out one.