LOS ANGELES -- Maikel Franco had a bad feeling as soon as he missed the ball.
Franco could not handle a tough but catchable ground ball in the bottom of the eighth inning Monday night in a 5-4 loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. It sparked a defensive and bullpen implosion that cost the Phillies the first game of an important 10-game road trip. Franco said the inning immediately reminded him of a similar loss last season at Dodger Stadium, when the Phils allowed back-to-back-to-back home runs to lose the lead and ultimately the game.
"I just felt it and got it in my mind right away," Franco said. "This will be the same thing as last year. That's just what I thought it was. This is the same thing as last year."
The Phillies entered that series 11-9. They went 18-51 through the next 69 games.
Philadelphia hopes to avoid a similar freefall this year.
"Try to forget the day," Franco said. "Tomorrow is a new day. What happened last year is not going to happen. It's not going to be the same thing."
Phillies right-hander Vince Velasquez carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before allowing two runs. Seranthony Dominguez struck out the side in the seventh inning to hold a 4-2 lead. Manager Gabe Kapler said he had some thought about letting Dominguez start the eighth after throwing only 18 pitches, but they loved Luis Garcia's matchups in the eighth.
Yasiel Puig hit a 107-mph two-hopper to Franco to start the inning. The ball had some topspin on it, but Franco said he should have caught the ball.
"I have to make that play, no matter what," he said. "I'm not giving any excuses. I'm not giving you guys anything. I thought for me, I just have to use more of my feet and do a better job with that ball."
Pinch-hitter Matt Kemp then ripped a double to left-center field to score Puig and cut the Phillies' lead to 4-3.
Then things got crazy.
Left-hander Adam Morgan replaced Garcia. Pinch-hitter Enrique Hernandez skied a 1-0 fastball into the air. It should have been an easy out, but Cesar Hernandez lost track of the ball. The ball dropped and deflected toward center field to put runners at the corners with no outs.
"I lost it in the sky," Hernandez said through the team's interpreter. "I looked over to [Carlos] Santana to see if he had a shot, but when I saw that he wasn't ready for that ball either, I tried to find it again. I couldn't do it."
Morgan then got Player Page for Max Muncy to hit a chopper back to him, but he could not field the ball. Kemp scored to tie the game. The Dodgers had runners on first and second.
Yasmani Grandal later singled to score the winning run.
"Sometimes, weird things happen," Kapler said. "Tonight, there were some weird things that unfolded that I wouldn't predict would happen many times."
The weirdness extended into the ninth inning, when Rhys Hoskins was forced to exit the game with two outs in the ninth inning after foul tipping a pitch from Kenley Jansen off his face.
"He has a big, fat cut on the inside of his bottom lip," Kapler said. "He's getting evaluated. I don't have anything definitive beyond that. I'm not overly concerned at this point. He just has a big cut on his lip."
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Hernandez has been struggling, hitting .148 with a .419 OPS in his previous seven games, but he ripped a three-run home run to right field in the second to give Velasquez an early cushion. The ball left Hernandez's bat at 101.5 mph and traveled a projected 375 feet, according to Statcast™. It was Hernandez's seventh homer of the season.
If only Dominguez could pitch a few more innings. He recorded the final out in the sixth, then struck out Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Chase Utley swinging on 13 pitches in the seventh. Dominguez has pitched 11 2/3 scoreless innings in 10 appearances since making his big league debut on May 7. He has struck out 13 and walked none. Dominguez has allowed just two singles. His streak of 11 2/3 scoreless innings is the longest by a Phillies reliever to start a career since Todd Frohwirth (14 2/3 scoreless innings) in 1987-88.
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Hoskins' rough month continues. After he reached on catcher's interference and scored in the first inning, he struck out swinging in the second and struck out looking in the fourth. The called third strike in the fourth clearly was outside the strike zone. Hoskins then lined out in the seventh to a leaping Utley, who was shifted to the left of second base. The line drive had a hit probability of 82 percent, according to Statcast™.
Phillies right-hander Jacob Arrieta (4-2, 2.45 ERA) faces off with Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda (4-3, 3.38 ERA) on Tuesday night in the second game of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium. Arrieta had a masterful performance last week against the Braves, striking out seven in 6 2/3 scoreless innings. First pitch is set for 10:10 p.m. ET.