Philadelphia Phillies fall to Seattle Mariners, 11-6, for 10th loss in 12 games
PHILADELPHIA — On a Wednesday afternoon at home with a long road trip looming, the Philadelphia Phillies received the type of performance they’ve come to expect from two young, promising players.
Despite outfielder Aaron Altherr’s third straight game with a three-run home run and right-hander Zach Eflin’s fourth straight quality start, the Phillies still came up empty in an 11-6 loss to the Seattle Mariners, dropping the two-game set to the NL West foes.
The Phillies dropped four of five on their homestand, and they’ve dropped 10 of 12 overall. The last time the Phils packed up to head west for a road trip, they were hot off a six-game winning streak. Now they embark on a 12-game trip coming off a blowout defeat.
Altherr went 2 for 4 with a pair of home runs and four RBI. It was his second career multi-home run game, and he’s hit five home runs this month.
Eflin, as he’d done in his previous four starts this season, had Philadelphia in position for a victory after six innings. But a leaky Phillies bullpen popped up again in the seventh inning to squander the quality start.
Right-hander Joaquin Benoit entered with the game tied 3-3 and promptly surrendered a single to Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano, a walk to third baseman Kyle Seager and an RBI single to first baseman Danny Valencia to put Seattle ahead 4-3.
He got left fielder Guillermo Heredia to fly out to left, and then the Phillies intentionally walked center fielder Jarrod Dyson to load the bases. That brought up Mariners catcher Carlos Ruiz, the longtime and beloved Phillies backstop who is making his return to Citizens Bank Park for the first time.
He laced a three-run double off the center field wall to put Seattle up 7-3, and it was hard to tell if the crowd was chanting “Chooch,” Ruiz’s nickname, or booing.
Benoit faced seven batters and retired only one, before he yielded to righty Edubray Ramos, who reloaded the bases and issues a bases loaded walk to Cano to make it 8-3. All five runs were charged to Benoit.
Eflin entered Wednesday afternoon with a 2.42 ERA in four starts this season, though he had yet to earn a decision. But he had been plague by difficulties early in games — he had a 6.75 ERA in the first inning of his starts this season — and those problems reared up again.
Seattle right fielder Ben Gamel singled through the right side, and then he went first-to-third when Cano laced a single of his own into right field. Seager plated the game’s first run on a sacrifice fly to the warning track in right-center field.
Eflin, though, escaped the rest of the inning unscathed.
Cano stung Eflin later, though. Gamel lined a 2-2 pitch to center for a single with one out to bring up the slugging second baseman. Cano took a 1-0 fastball from Eflin the other way to left field for a two-run home run and a 3-0 lead to the Mariners.
Unlike Tuesday night, when the Phils squandered the lead, the hosts faced a hole to dig out of Wednesday afternoon. And one of their recent heroes got them back into the game.
Left fielder Aaron Altherr pulled a three-run home run to left field with two outs in the third to tie the game, 3-3. It’s his third straight game with a three-run homer — the first time a Phillie accomplished the feat since Mike Schmidt in 1981 — and his team-leading sixth of the year.
Altherr’s dinger was set up by a single from Eflin and a walk by second baseman Cesar Hernandez with one out.
Eflin received his fifth no-decision in five starts when he was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the sixth. Despite allowing three runs in six innings Wednesday, Eflin still holds the lowest ERA of any Phillies starter at 2.81. The 23-year-old tied a season-high with nine hits allowed but set a season-high with five strikeouts while issuing one walk.
The Phillies bullpen struggles continued late. After the five-run eighth, Seattle tacked on three more in the eighth against righty Jake Thompson to take an 11-3 lead. Valencia smashed his fourth home run of the season to left field, Dyson knocked an RBI triple off the wall in right and Ruiz tacked on his fourth RBI in two innings — he entered the day with one all season — on a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the eighth, the Phillies got one run back when first baseman Tommy Joseph scored on a groundout by shortstop Freddy Galvis. The Phillies also loaded the bases against righty Dan Altavilla, but center fielder Odubel Herrera struck out.
Solo home runs by Altherr and Joseph in the ninth cut the deficit to 11-6 in the ninth.