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Ricky Nolasco coughs up early lead in Miami Marlins’ loss to Phillies

With four hits in the first inning, everything started out so well for the Marlins hitters. It didn’t last long.

The Marlins (67-91) failed to hold on to a three-run, first-inning lead as Miami’s bats went silent, and the Phillies (79-79) lit up starter Ricky Nolasco and the Marlins bullpen for 15 hits in the visitors’ 9-5 comeback victory at Marlins Park.

“They just kept grinding out at-bats,” Nolasco (12-13) said after throwing 100 pitches in five innings. “After the second [inning], it felt like I had already thrown six.”

With four games remaining in the season, Miami will now officially finish with a worse record than it had at the end of last year’s 72-90 season.

Stanton was once again the star for Miami’s offense, going 3 for 4, including a two-run single and a solo home run, his 36th of the season. The rest of the lineup was silent though, registering just two hits in the next seven innings.

Unlike the Marlins, the Phillies found production throughout their batting order. Nine Phillies had hits, including Jimmy Rollins, who went 3 for 4 and scored three runs.

Coming off of the worst outing of his career, Philadelphia right-hander Roy Halladay (11-8) struggled with his command but pitched well enough to get the victory. Halladay went five innings, giving up four runs and striking out seven.

Nolasco allowed five runs on nine hits. It was his first loss in seven games.

“It was a tough day for Ricky,” manager Ozzie Guillen said. “We didn’t have that many hits either. It was an ugly game.”

At first, things were looking good for the Marlins. Bryan Petersen and Donovan Solano hit back-to-back singles to lead off the first inning. And after a walk to Jose Reyes, Stanton hit a two-run single up the middle on a 3-2 count.

Three batters later, Rob Brantly made the score 3-0 with a full-count single of his own.

“After we got that lead, we didn’t feel comfortable, but we felt pretty good about it,” Guillen said.

After that the Marlins went quiet at the plate — everyone except for Stanton. For the second consecutive game, Stanton hit a solo home run to left field, his 411-foot shot giving the Marlins a 4-2 lead in the third inning. Over the past two games, Stanton has been responsible for four of his team’s seven RBI.

Having already scored two runs in the second inning, the Phillies’ second rally started from the most unlikely source — Halladay.

In the fifth inning, Halladay hit a short nubber down the third-base line for a single. Following a Rollins single, Chase Utley singled up the middle to drive in the two runners and tie the game 4-4.

The tie lasted only about a minute though, as Domonic Brown hit a two-out triple to right-center field, giving the visitors their first lead of the night.

Miami went hitless for the next three innings, and the Phillies went on to put four more runs on the board.

Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double off Tom Koehler in the seventh, and Utley singled off A.J. Ramos in the eighth, increasing the lead to 8-4.

The Marlins did load the bases in the eighth and ninth innings, but they had just one run to show for it.

In the eighth, Stanton reached first after swinging at a wild pitch, and Carlos Lee and Greg Dobbs walked to load the bases. Gil Velazquez singled home Stanton with one out, but Austin Kearns struck out on a wild pitch and Lee was tagged out after trying to score on the errant ball.

In the ninth, Lee and Dobbs both had a chance to tie the game with a grand slam, but Lee popped up and Dobbs struck out.

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