Phils miss opportunities, fall to Yanks in 10

July 22nd, 2021

NEW YORK -- The Phillies scrambled to pick up 28 outs on Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium.

They needed two more to keep the game going.

However, the Phils lost to the Yankees in 10 innings, 6-5. Philadelphia closer Ranger Suárez allowed a long single to the right-field wall to New York pinch-hitter Ryan LaMarre, who plated the game-winning run from third base. But this loss fell on the offense.

The Phillies walked 11 times, but they went 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position. It was the 36th time in franchise history that they drew at least 11 walks in a game, and it was only the fifth time they lost such a game since 1956.

“We were probably lucky to score five runs,” Philadelphia manager Joe Girardi said. “We just didn’t swing the bats particularly well.”

The Phillies entered the two-game series 10-4 this month, but they left without a win as they return home to play four games against the Braves and four games against the Nationals, the last contests before the July 30 Trade Deadline. They must hit better at home while asking a shorthanded pitching staff to pick up big outs along the way.

On Tuesday, Philadelphia placed right-hander Zach Eflin on the 10-day injured list because of tendinitis in his right knee. He was scheduled to start Wednesday. Instead, the Phillies hoped to get through the game with their bullpen. But they were missing two relievers after placing left-hander Bailey Falter, who was expected to pitch a big chunk of innings, and right-hander JD Hammer on the COVID-19 injured list.

The Phillies recalled right-hander Spencer Howard from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start. The 24-year-old was optioned last month because the Phils wanted him to work on being a better starter in a controlled environment.

Howard had routinely lost his effectiveness the second time through the lineup in nine previous appearances (five starts) with the Phillies. Batters hit .103 with a .350 OPS the first time they faced him. They batted .353 with a 1.344 OPS the second time.

Girardi said before Wednesday's game that he hoped to get three innings from Howard, who started this past Saturday for the IronPigs. Howard delivered three scoreless frames, allowing one hit and one walk and striking out two in an encouraging return.

“I’m proud of what he did tonight,” Girardi said. “I don’t know what we’re going to do the next time through, but obviously, he’s in the conversation.”

“It felt like a Colosseum,” Howard said. “All things considered, I felt all right tonight.”

But left-hander Cristopher Sánchez, who the Phillies hoped would pitch two or three innings, struggled. He allowed two runs in one inning. It meant righty Connor Brogdon needed to pitch two innings. And then right-hander Héctor Neris allowed three runs in the seventh, giving the Yankees a 5-2 lead.

In the eighth, the Phillies scored three runs on one hit, four walks, one error and one wild pitch to tie the game at 5. Right-hander Archie Bradley pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and Suárez worked out of a jam in the ninth when right fielder Brad Miller misplayed a fly ball to give New York runners on second and third with one out.

How will the Phils' bullpen now get through the four-game weekend series against the Braves? Matt Moore starts Thursday and Vince Velasquez pitches Saturday. Moore has not gone more than five innings in a start this season, while Velasquez has struggled to pitch past the fifth recently.

“We’re OK, bullpen-wise,” Girardi said. “We’ll get it back in order. There’s going to be days like this that you have to be able to adjust. Sometimes in those situations, other guys have got to step up a little bit.”

Girardi played for one run in the 10th, having Ronald Torreyes bunt Miller to third for the first out. But Miller never scored, and Suárez couldn't extend it another inning.

“It didn’t work,” Girardi said.