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Arrieta falters as Phils fall into tie atop NL East

Special to MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Jake Arrieta has made a habit of heating up after the All-Star break, but the Phillies right-hander never warmed to the occasion Sunday afternoon against the Padres in a 9-3 loss at Petco Park.

The loss dropped the Phillies into a first-place tie in the National League East with Atlanta, an 8-7 winner over Milwaukee.

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SAN DIEGO -- Jake Arrieta has made a habit of heating up after the All-Star break, but the Phillies right-hander never warmed to the occasion Sunday afternoon against the Padres in a 9-3 loss at Petco Park.

The loss dropped the Phillies into a first-place tie in the National League East with Atlanta, an 8-7 winner over Milwaukee.

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Arrieta allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base with a hit in each of the first three innings. It hurt him a little in the first, when Travis Jankowski scored only the second run Arrieta had allowed over his previous 26 innings on the road. It hurt a lot in the third, when the Padres loaded the bases before former Phillies shortstop Freddy Galvis hit his first career grand slam on a 2-2 fastball with two outs.

"Sometimes those things happen," Arrieta said. "I had an opportunity to get out of a couple situations with a different result. It just didn't go that way. It was a weird one. The first three innings were strange. Couldn't necessarily find it when I needed to."

Video: PHI@SD: Galvis launches a grand slam to center field

Critical in the third inning was miscommunication between Arrieta and catcher Jorge Alfaro on a soft grounder topped by the Padres' Eric Hosmer. Arrieta and Alfaro both converged on the ball midway between the mound and the plate. Arrieta picked up the ball, but couldn't make a throw when Alfaro bumped into him.

Hosmer was credited with an infield single. The way the inning played out, Galvis never would have come to the plate had Arrieta been able to make the throw to first to get Hosmer.

Video: PHI@SD: Hosmer singles as Arrieta, Alfaro converge

"Jorge's awesome on that play," Arrieta said. "From my perspective, it looked like he was letting me get it, so that's why I went at it. It was just one of those things where there wasn't communication. I didn't say anything to him, so he probably thought I was going to let him take it because he usually does. Just miscommunication on my part."

That was one of the plays on manager Gabe Kapler's mind after the game. So, too, was poor play in the bottom of the eighth when the Phillies allowed the Padres to score three runs, immediately after they had scored three runs in the top of the inning to close within 6-3.

"We didn't execute the fundamentals today," said Kapler, who wanted to speak to the players involved before going into further specifics. "That's on me. I have to do a better job of getting us prepared to play and to execute the fundamentals of this game. So that one's on me. … It's my job to help the players set the tone and be on top of their game all the time."

Video: PHI@SD: Galvis scores on Davis' throwing error

Arrieta (9-7), who was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the sixth, allowed five runs on eight hits over five innings with four strikeouts and two walks.

Over the past four seasons, Arrieta (9-7) has compiled a 2.14 ERA after the All-Star break. He was 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA since this year's break coming into this game, his first road loss since June 15 at Milwaukee.

Arrieta was outpitched by Padres rookie left-hander Joey Lucchesi (6-6), who allowed two hits over six shutout innings.

Video: PHI@SD: Williams rips an RBI double into the corner

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Padres had an opportunity for a big inning -- and it appeared the Phillies were going to help them -- when they loaded the bases with one out in the second.

With Lucchesi at the plate, Arrieta threw a pitch that got past Alfaro.

Austin Hedges broke from third base, then put on the brakes when Alfaro got the ball back to Arrieta covering at the plate.

Video: PHI@SD: Cabrera tags out Hedges in a rundown

Hedges and teammate Christian Villanueva couldn't share third base, so Villanueva tried retreating to second. Arrieta threw down to shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera to thwart that. With Hedges still between third and home, Cabrera ran at the runner to freeze him and finally tagged out Hedges for the rare 2-1-6 putout at the plate.

Arrieta struck out Lucchesi to end the inning.

Video: PHI@SD: Arrieta strikes out Lucchesi to end the 2nd

SOUND SMART
If the Phillies are to win the division for the first time since 2011, it sure would make things easier if they improved their record on the road. They are the only division leader in the Majors this season without a winning road record (27-34). Atlanta is the only team to win the NL East in the past 22 years with a losing road record (40-41 in 2013).

HE SAID IT
"[We're] trying not to focus too much on what's going on outside this clubhouse, whether Atlanta loses, Washington wins or loses. It's like, 'Let's just try and win the game that day.' If we do that and we stay healthy, we're going to end up in a good spot. The spot we want to be in." -- Arrieta, on the mood in the clubhouse amid a looming pennant race

UP NEXT
After an off-day Monday, the Phillies will be back at Citizens Bank Ballpark on Tuesday night to open a two-game series against Boston. Two weeks ago, the Phillies rebounded to split a two-game series against the Red Sox after losing the first game at Fenway Park, then won seven of their next 10 games. Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta (7-9, 4.51 ERA) is scheduled to start against Boston right-hander Rick Porcello (14-5, 4.17 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET in the series opener. In two August starts, Pivetta has allowed two runs in 12 innings, striking out 13 and walking one.

Kirk Kenney is a contributor to MLB.com based in San Diego.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta