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Velasquez hit hard early as Phils drop opener

Right-hander allows a career-high 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler studied the Phillies' June schedule from his office Friday at Citizens Bank Park, hours before his team's series opener against the Brewers.

He called June a "grind."

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler studied the Phillies' June schedule from his office Friday at Citizens Bank Park, hours before his team's series opener against the Brewers.

He called June a "grind."

View Full Game Coverage

Then the Phillies lost to the Brewers, 12-4. It is the Phillies' 13th loss in 20 games since they last won consecutive games May 13-17. It is their ninth loss in 12 games since they moved into first place in the National League East on May 26, a spot they held only a day. Friday's series opener unraveled quickly as Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez allowed a career-high 10 runs in 3 2/3 innings. He is the first Phillies starter to allow 10 or more runs in a game since David Buchanan allowed 11 in 1 2/3 innings on Aug. 11, 2015, in Arizona.

"I don't think it's one thing," Kapler said of the team's recent slide. "I'd like to be able to give you the exact, 'Hey, we can point right here and this is why we're not performing a lot.' I just don't think that's what it is. I think collectively we're not performing the way we're capable."

Video: MIL@PHI: Kingery robs Braun with a tough diving play

Velasquez went 3-2 with a 2.14 ERA in his previous six starts before the Brewers throttled him Friday. He struck out 45 and walked 13 in 33 2/3 innings in that stretch.

But after Velasquez retired the first two batters he faced in the first inning, he walked Jesus Aguilar and Travis Shaw. Ryan Braun then ripped a 2-2 curveball for a three-run home run to left field to hand the Brewers a 3-0 lead.

"First few pitches, I got some ground balls then one walk led to another and I made a mistake on Braun," Velasquez said. "He hunts mistakes. He capitalized on it, and after that kind of a snowball effect."

Video: MIL@PHI: Braun belts 3-run shot to left in the 1st

Velasquez allowed two more runs in the second inning and five more runs in the fourth. Velasquez's 10th run scored when Mark Leiter Jr. allowed a two-run homer to Braun to left field to make it 11-0.

Carlos Santana's sacrifice fly in the fourth and solo homer in the seventh scored the Phillies' first two runs, but they were out of this one early.

The Phillies hoped for better following a 3-7 road trip through Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. They entered Friday 19-9 (.679) at home, the best winning percentage at home in the National League and the third-best mark in baseball.

Video: MIL@PHI: Valentin plates Williams with an RBI single

Seventeen of their next 23 games are at home. Their next 21 are against teams with winning records.

They need to get things turned around quickly or things could get out of hand.

"I mean, the pitching staff has been phenomenal," Velasquez said. "Our bats are going to come alive soon. We're making solid contact. It's there. I'm not going to say we're not doing our part offensively, because we're capable of doing it. We're a solid staff all the way around. I believe in our guys, just as much as everyone else does."

Video: MIL@PHI: Velasquez fans Villar swinging in the 3rd

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Santana's sacrifice fly scored Scott Kingery in the fourth, and he hit a solo home run in the seventh. Santana has been one of the team's only consistent performers for more than a month. He is hitting .294 (32-for-109) with seven doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 26 RBIs and a .992 OPS in 31 games since May 4.

Video: MIL@PHI: Santana launches a solo home run to right

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Nick Williams tripled off the wall in center field in the seventh, but the Phillies, thinking it was a home run, challenged the call. After a crew-chief review, the call was confirmed. 

Video: MIL@PHI: Williams triples after no home run confirmed

SOUND SMART
Nine of Williams' last 16 hits (56.3 percent) have been extra-base hits (two doubles, one triple and six home runs).

HE SAID IT
"So, when he came out, the velocity was down a little bit. The stuff didn't quite look crisp coming out of his hand. We were talking about it on the bench and wondering if he just wasn't going to have his stuff today. He got through the first couple of innings. Then, in the third, the ball started coming out again. It gave us some real hope. We thought maybe just his mechanics were off in the first couple and something clicked. Then, ultimately, the wheels fell off. It was difficult for us to regain control as a team." -- Kapler, on what went wrong with Velasquez

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta (5-3, 2.66 ERA) faces Brewers left-hander Brent Suter (5-4, 4.55 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday at Citizens Bank Park. It is Arrieta's first start following his comments about the Phillies' defensive shifts being the worst in baseball. The Phillies said they have been working to improve those numbers.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Carlos Santana, Vince Velasquez