The first time Chase Utley got a hold of a Jon Rauch pitch Friday night, the Marlins caught a huge break.
They weren’t so lucky the next time.
After stroking what easily would have been a two-run home run had it not gone just right of the right-field foul pole, Utley hammered the next pitch he saw from Rauch for an RBI triple as the Phillies scored twice in the 10th inning to pull off a 3-1 victory, sending the Marlins to their sixth consecutive loss.
“Hanging changeup,” Rauch said of the 3-2 pitch Utley smacked. “It’s tough right now. I’m really proud of the younger guys on this team going out and busting their tail, trying to go out and pitch knowing you can’t make any mistakes whatsoever because you don’t know how much run support you’re going to get.”
The Marlins, who fell to 1-9 and remain on pace with the 1998 team for the worst start in franchise history (1-11), could potentially be in even bigger trouble if the pain in slugger Giancarlo Stanton’s left shoulder turns out to be worse than expected.
The All-Star right fielder was scratched from the lineup an hour before the start of the game Friday with a pain he said has been escalating since he made a diving catch last weekend in New York. He’s scheduled to have an MRI on Saturday and will sit out at least a few days.
“I wasn’t too sure if it was the weather or the dive or whatnot,” said Stanton, who took batting practice before the game. “I felt it [during batting practice] and I didn’t like it.”
An announced crowd of 17,923 on Dominican Heritage Night ended a run of back-to-back record-lows at Marlins Park for attendance. Their cheers, though, couldn’t get the Marlins out of their offensive funk.
The Marlins, who came in as one of just five teams in major-league history to get shut out four times in the first nine games, produced just four hits. The good news: they ended their scoreless-innings skid.
Placido Polanco’s two-out RBI single to left in the sixth off Phillies starter John Lannan scored Juan Pierre from second and ended a stretch of 15 innings without a run. Polanco, 7 of 16 during the homestand with two of the Marlins’ three RBI, is now 4 for 8 this season with runners in scoring position. The rest of the Marlins: 8 for 66 (.121).
The Marlins had a chance to take the lead and get the win before the Phillies (5-5) scored twice with two outs off Rauch (0-1, 6.23 ERA) in the 10th. A Pierre single to right off reliever Mike Adams put runners on the corners with one out for Donovan Solano. But the second baseman bounced into an inning-ending double play.
“I was out in front,” said Solano, who was robbed of another potential run-scoring hit this week against the Braves. “That happens in baseball. It’s over.
“You have to think about tomorrow, pick yourself up and come and play better tomorrow.”
Said manager Mike Redmond: “I felt real comfortable having him up at the plate at that time. It didn’t work out. We’re in a funk.”
Marlins closer Steve Cishek pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, his first appearance since blowing the Marlins’ last lead Sunday in New York.
“We held them down for nine innings and had a couple chances to score, had it all lined up perfect with [Cishek] warming up and couldn’t get that big hit,” Redmond said.
Ricky Nolasco kept the trend of strong starts going for the Marlins. He went six innings and allowed just one earned run on seven hits to go with a walk and a strikeout.
The Phillies finally broke through for a run against Nolasco in the sixth. After Ryan Howard stroked his second double of the night to center, Domonic Brown drilled a 1-2 pitch from Nolasco down the line in left field for an RBI double.
“I needed to make some pitches when I had runners on there, and I made some pitches when I had to, got some big outs,” Nolasco said. “The ball to Brown was a pitch I wanted to make. I just thought he did the right job of reacting. Not much you can do.”