MIAMI -- Rookie sensation Rhys Hoskins has been the Phillies' top story in August. But on the final day of the month, Ben Lively made the biggest impact of the night. The right-hander allowed two runs in six innings and drove in two on the go-ahead single as Philadelphia edged Miami, 3-2, on Thursday at Marlins Park.
"He's a real battler. He's a real competitor. He doesn't panic. He just goes right after the hitters. He stays aggressive. He doesn't try to nitpick," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Lively. "He just lets his stuff do its thing."
Lively showed that tenacity when Miami loaded the bases with no outs in the second. Despite having never faced the Marlins, Lively put trust in catcher Cameron Rupp to help retire the next three batters, surrendering just one run on a Miguel Rojas groundout.
"It was awesome. I stuck with Rupp tonight," Lively said. "I know he knows these guys better than I do, first time pitching against them. I just believed in him and believed in my pitches."
The Marlins dropped to 66-67 with their fourth straight loss, falling to six games back of the Rockies for the second National League Wild Card spot with 29 games to go.
"I think the general story is very similar: We've just been leaving [runners]," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said after his club left 12 on base. "We're getting a lot of chances and just aren't getting that hit right now. [It's just one of those] things that happen all through the course of the season. It's just a bad time right now."
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Hector Neris completed a nail-biting save chance, loading the bases before catching J.T. Realmuto looking at a 2-2 pitch. Neris got a big defensive boost from left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, who made a terrific catch on Christian Yelich's liner with runners on first and second and one out. Per Statcast™, Kim traveled 38 feet in 3.1 seconds.
"Kim made a great catch in left field," Mackanin said. "That was outstanding to see."
Hoskins singled in the fifth inning off Brian Ellington, extending his hitting streak to 13 games. The power-hitting first baseman finished August with 11 homers, which he posted in an 18-game span, marking the quickest such streak to 11 homers in Major League history dating back to at least 1913.
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, who matched an MLB record with 18 home runs in August, capped his remarkable month by going 0-for-5.
The Phillies were able to break through against Marlins right-hander Odrisamer Despaigne, who gave up three runs and threw 90 pitches in four innings. Philadelphia scored all three of its runs in the fourth on Pedro Florimon's RBI single and Lively's two-run single.
"Just get my bat on the ball," Lively said of his mindset at the plate. "I feel like I swing hard enough and if I get hold of it right, good things can happen."
Despaigne said he hung a slider, and Lively made Miami pay.
"It's unfortunate that it's the pitcher, but that is stuff that happens," Despaigne said.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Baserunning error: A rare interference call for running out of the baseline loomed large and took a potential run off the board for the Marlins in the eighth inning. With Derek Dietrich at first base with one out, pinch-hitter Tomas Telis tapped a grounder to the third-base side of the mound. Reliever Luis Garcia fielded the ball and threw wildly to first, as the ball skipped up the line in foul territory and Dietrich raced home as the would-be tying run. However, because Telis ran to first on the infield grass, he was called out for interference. By rule, Dietrich went back to first. With two outs, Rojas bounced to short, ending the inning.
"Well, he was out of the baseline. It's a pretty basic play," Mackanin said. "You've gotta honor that right side of that first-base line, and he was in the grass. It was a good call."
"He was just running inside the line," Mattingly said. "You don't see it very often. It's probably the right call. You hate to say it. You're running inside the line, you've got to give the guy a place to throw it. At that point, it's hard to argue with it."
4-star save on sinking liner: Making a defensive replacement in the eighth inning proved the difference for the Phillies in the ninth inning. Kim made the defensive play of the night, snaring Yelich's line drive with runners on first and second and one out. According to Statcast™, Kim covered 38 feet in 3.1 seconds, making it a four-star catch. The catch probability was 46 percent, but it came at an opportune time. Kim had not made a four- or five-star grab in 21 previous chances, but that changed with the game on the line.
Yelich took the pitch to the opposite field, with an exit speed of 93.9 mph and a launch angle of 16 degrees.
"You're kind of hoping," Mattingly said of the ball falling. "You know it's got a chance, because it's got the trajectory. Semi-line drive. The guy made a nice play. We had our chances all night long."
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"When I hit the ball, I just tried to run hard. I was on the grass, but the ball passed in front of me. I don't know why they called that. If the ball hit me, I know the call would have been [out]." -- Telis, on his interference. By rule, the ball doesn't need to hit the runner to be interference.
The Phillies scored three times in the fourth inning, and it could have been more, if not for a strong pickoff throw by catcher Realmuto. With two outs and two on, including Rupp at second, Realmuto threw to shortstop Rojas, who applied the tag on Rupp as he attempted to get back to the base. The Marlins challenged the safe call, and it didn't take long -- just 26 seconds -- for it to be overturned for the third out.
Phillies:Nick Pivetta (5-9, 6.57 ERA) toes the rubber at 7:10 p.m. ET on Friday at Marlins Park. The right-hander hopes to turn a new page in September after going 1-3 with an 11.57 ERA in five August starts.
Marlins: Dillon Peters, ranked by MLBPipeline.com as the Marlins' No. 4 prospect, will be a September callup and make his Major League debut on Friday. Peters went 6-2 with a 1.97 ERA in nine starts at Double-A Jacksonville.
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