After strong start by Vince Velasquez, Phillies melt down



LOS ANGELES – The Phillies were on their way to a nice win in the first game of a 10-game trip Monday night.

Then they self-destructed and the nice win became another excruciating Dodger Stadium loss.

The Dodgers capitalized on some shoddy Phillies' defense and rallied for three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to beat the Phillies, 5-4.

Adding injury to insult: Rhys Hoskins left the game in the top of the ninth inning bleeding after fouling a ball off his face.

The Phils had led the game, 4-0, after two innings with Cesar Hernandez providing much of the offense with a three-run homer in the second.

Starting pitcher Vince Velasquez did his part and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning. He ended up allowing three hits and two runs in the inning, but the Phils, with the help of shutdown work from rookie bullpen assassin Seranthony Dominguez, were able to take a two-run lead into the eighth inning.

That’s where it all fell apart.

The Phillies’ defense came unraveled in the inning as Maikel Franco could not handle a leadoff hot smash from Yasiel Puig that was scored a hit. Puig ended up scoring on a double by pinch-hitter Matt Kemp. Hernandez, the Phillies’ second baseman, then lost a pop up in the twilight and Max Muncy drove in the tying run on a high bouncer back to pitcher Adam Morgan. That play was also scored a hit. Finally, the Dodgers took the lead on a base hit up the middle by Yasmani Grandal.

The entire ugly episode was reminiscent of the second game of a three-game series that the Phillies played in Dodger Stadium on April 29, 2017. Hector Neris allowed three home runs in the ninth inning to blow a lead. The Phils ended up being swept in the series and went 6-22 in the month of May.

The inability to tack on runs after scoring four in the first two innings hurt the Phillies. They had a chance to do damage early as they loaded the bases with one out in the first inning. They only got one run out of the threat and that came on a wild pitch.

After the Dodgers took the lead, Kenley Jansen pitched a scoreless ninth for the save.

The loss was one of the Phillies' worst of the season and it left them at 29-22.

The Dodgers have won nine of their last 11 games. They are heating up with three games remaining in this series.

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