Marlins 6, Phillies 4
MIAMI (AP)—The seventh inning summed up the Philadelphia Phillies’ futility: They walked four times and scored only one run.
Eleven bases on balls weren’t enough to jump-start the struggling Phils, who stranded 14 runners and lost to the Florida Marlins 6-4 Sunday.
Touted as title contenders in the NL East, the Phillies are 1-5 for the third time in four seasons and the second year in a row.
“It’s a concern. You can’t say that it’s not,” said third baseman Wes Helms, a newcomer. “It is only six games, but if you go 1-5 in the middle of the season, you don’t look at it as much as when you are 1-5 at the beginning. We want to correct this quick. We don’t want to get so far down that we have to climb and climb.”
The feeble Phillies went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, dropping their season average in those situations to .200.
Their final squandered opportunity came in the ninth. New Florida closer Jorge Julio struggled for the third appearance in a row, loading the bases with one out. Lee Gardner came on to earn his first career save by retiring Carlos Ruiz on a foul popup and striking out Michael Bourn looking.
“We couldn’t get a big hit,” Phils manager Charlie Manuel said. “We will get them. When? That’s the big question. We will get them. It’s just a matter of time before we get them.”
The 32-year-old Gardner’s milestone came after he totaled 130 saves in the minor leagues. He clutched a souvenir lineup card in the clubhouse.
“When I set out at the age of 5, I didn’t want to become a saves leader in Triple-A,” he said. “This is big.”
Gardner’s not lobbying to replace the newly acquired Julio, who has the Marlins’ third-highest salary at $3.6 million but also an ERA of 16.88. Manager Fredi Gonzalez said Julio will remain the closer, although he’ll likely be given Monday off.
“We’ve got to show confidence with Julio,” Gonzalez said. “He’s our guy, and we need him. We’ve got to get him right, and I think he can do it.”
The Marlins won their second series in a row by beating the Phillies, who went 13-6 against Florida last year.
“It’s good for us,” said Olsen (2-0), who pitched five innings. “They obviously did a number on us last year. It’s a good start for us to get some confidence against these upper-echelon teams in the division.”
Olsen needed 35 pitches to get through a three-run first inning but still earned his second win in two starts. Despite allowing four hits and four walks, he left with a 5-3 lead.
Mike Jacobs hit his second homer for the Marlins, who won even though they were without two starters by the second inning. Shortstop Hanley Ramirez pulled up limping after running out a grounder and left in the first inning with a stiff right hamstring, and outfielder Josh Willingham was a late scratch from the lineup with a stiff back.
Both were optimistic about returning to the lineup within a day or two.
Philadelphia’s Ryan Howard hit a two-run double in the first inning, his first RBIs and first extra-base hit this season. He finished 2-for-4 with a walk to hike his average to .217.
“I have been here before, so I just have to get through it,” said Howard, the NL MVP in 2006. “Knowing the situation, I am just trying to right the ship.”
Zack Segovia (0-1) took the loss in his major league debut, allowing eight hits and five runs in five innings. He was optioned after the game to Triple-A Ottawa.
“It was a great experience, and I am just going to build on it,” Segovia said.
The Phillies recalled RHP Jon Lieber and newly acquired RHP Francisco Rosario. RHP Joseph Bisenius was optioned to Ottawa. Lieber (ribcage), who was on a rehabilitation assignment for Single-A Clearwater, will join the Phils’ bullpen. … Phillies LF Pat Burrell played in his 1,000th game. … Burrell and Jayson Werth each threw out a runner trying to advance on a flyout. … Marlins rookie CF Alejandro De Aza reached on a bunt single in the eighth and has a hit in all six games.