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Phillies battle inconsistency in loss to Cards

Steady rainfall hinders defense during 3-error night
Special to MLB.com

ST. LOUIS -- The Phillies entered Friday night's game as winners of eight of their last 10, and were just a couple of blown opportunities from the bullpen from making that 10 of 10.

The streak of solid play came to an unceremonious end in a 12-4 loss to the Cardinals at a rain-soaked Busch Stadium. It was the Phillies' first loss this season in nine games against National League Central opponents and it cost them a chance to leap-frog Atlanta for first place in the NL East.

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ST. LOUIS -- The Phillies entered Friday night's game as winners of eight of their last 10, and were just a couple of blown opportunities from the bullpen from making that 10 of 10.

The streak of solid play came to an unceremonious end in a 12-4 loss to the Cardinals at a rain-soaked Busch Stadium. It was the Phillies' first loss this season in nine games against National League Central opponents and it cost them a chance to leap-frog Atlanta for first place in the NL East.

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"You're not going to play perfect baseball every night," manager Gabe Kapler said. "This was not our best game by any stretch, and we can always do a better job. Sleep fast, come back tomorrow be ready to play again."

Philadelphia starter Jake Arrieta went just three innings after sitting through a 1-hour, 35-minute rain delay to begin the evening, and the defense committed three errors to snap an eight-game flawless streak.

"It doesn't just rain on one side of the field, it's raining for everybody. It was a little bit of messy conditions but we have to play in those conditions sometimes," Kapler said. "We just came from Baltimore where we played in those types of conditions as well, so it's part of baseball to be ready to play under any circumstances, and we pride ourselves on our mental toughness."

Arrieta (3-2) couldn't move beyond a 37-pitch third inning as the Cardinals sent nine to the plate and scored four times. Only two of those runs were earned.

"Just really wasn't that good," Arrieta said. "And it just compounded later in the game. I didn't do my job of establishing strikes early, which makes it harder for the guys coming in after me. Tough conditions, a delay, but you can't really use that as an excuse because those guys have to deal with the same circumstances. Just one to forget."

After Philadelphia's relievers allowed eight runs over four innings, Kapler brought in Pedro Florimon from shortstop to finish off the game. Florimon, in his second pitching appearance of the season, sent the Cardinals down in order in the eighth.

Video: PHI@STL: Florimon completes a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th

Florimon punctuated his night with a solo homer in the ninth. It was his second home run in as many games after snapping a 4-year, 232-day homerless drought the night before. He also became the first position player to enter the game as a relief pitcher and homer since David Ross did so on July 26, 2015.

"What an inspiration he has been to our team. I walked over to him and said, 'Flo, I'd really like you to pitch this inning for us,' and he just looked at me and said, 'Absolutely, I got you,'" Kapler said. "And he went out there and hit a big bomb for us. He's just been the consummate professional for us. He was the standout of the night."

Odubel Herrera's two-run single in the fifth extended his hitting streak to six games, and his on-base streak to 44 games. He has hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games and is batting .304 (17-for-56) during that span.

Cesar Hernandez also homered for the Phillies.

Cardinals starter Michael Wacha (5-1) struck out eight over six innings. Francisco Pena homered and scored three runs, Jose Martinez homered and had four hits while driving in five and Tommy Pham reached five times and scored three times as the Cardinals totaled a season-high 15 hits.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
With two outs in the fifth, Hernandez beat out a ground ball to Cardinals shortstop Jedd Gyorko for an infield single to extend the inning. Rhys Hoskins worked a walk, and the pair advanced on a wild pitch before Herrera's single to center field scored them both, cutting the Phillies' deficit to 5-2.

Video: PHI@STL: Herrera hits 2-run single, extends streak

SOUND SMART
Herrera's on-base streak is tied with Chuck Klein (in 1931) for the fourth-longest in Phillies history, and trails only Mike Schmidt (56 games), Klein (49) and Bobby Abreu (48) on the all-time franchise list. It is also the longest on-base streak in the majors since 2016, when Atlanta's Freddie Freeman reached in 46 consecutive games.

HE SAID IT
"We had a pitcher hit a home run tonight, which is pretty nice. Flo with the one, two, three inning and the homer in the top of the ninth is pretty cool to see." -- Arrieta

Video: PHI@STL: Florimon homers after pitching 1-2-3 inning

UP NEXT
Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.71 ERA) will attempt to build on a strong start to the season as the Phillies take on John Gant (1-1, 4.15 ERA) and the Cardinals in the third game of a four-game series Saturday at 2:15 p.m. ET. Eflin has allowed just one earned run in 12 2/3 innings over two starts this season and will be facing St. Louis for the first time in his career.

Joe Harris is a contributor to MLB.com based in St. Louis.

Philadelphia Phillies