By Sam Bush
The conventional wisdom has been that the Phils have a better defense than last season’s disaster.
And, to a large degree, that has been the case.
But not last night.
Rhys Hoskins waved at a ground ball that skipped past him and rolled into right field.
His 11th error cost the Phillies the lead, the win and even a shot at tightening their grip in the NL wild-card race.
Hoskins’ two-base error allowed Miami to tie the game in the ninth inning and Brian Anderson followed with an RBI single that sent the Marlins past to a 6-5 win and snapped their nine-game losing streak.
The Phillies beat up on losing teams in the second half of the season to propel them into a playoff push under interim manager Rob Thomson. Hoskins and the Phillies know they can’t let this loss linger into a three-game weekend series at home against an 89-loss Washington Nationals team.
“Every loss is frustrating regardless of the time of year,” Hoskins said. “We’ll take the series win and move on to the weekend.”
Philadelphia led 5-4 when Garrett Cooper led off the ninth with a double off David Robertson (4-3).
Joey Wendle, who homered earlier, slapped a pitch down the line that Hoskins failed to snag, and the ball rolled into right field as pinch-runner Bryan De La Cruz scored.
Avisaíl García walked, and Anderson hit a go-ahead single to right.
“That’s what you play baseball for, the playoff push,” Robertson said. “I felt good enough to get the job done. No excuses about that. Leadoff double sucks. It’s tough to figure a way out of that one.”
Dylan Floro (1-2) worked two scoreless innings for his first win since Sept. 20 last year, and the Marlins avoided a three-game sweep.
Trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 years, the Phillies led 5-4 after Marlins center fielder JJ Bleday — a Pennsylvania native whose girlfriend attends Temple — gifted the Phillies with two defensive blunders in the fifth inning.
Marlins ace Sandy Alcantara took a 4-3 lead into the fifth and retired the first two batters before Kyle Schwarber hit a can-of-corn fly to Bleday that the outfielder failed to squeeze with his glove. The ball popped free as Phillies fans roared in disbelief.
Hoskins singled and Alec Bohm followed with a low liner to center that Bleday got a bad read on. Bleday tried to make a diving catch with his outstretched glove and missed, allowing the ball to scoot to the wall as both runners scored for the 5-4 lead.
Phillies starter Kyle Gibson wasn’t sharp and gave up nine hits in five innings. Lewin Diaz hit a solo shot to right, Cooper added an RBI double and Garcia punched a run-scoring single in a three-run third.
The Phillies made it 3-3 on Nick Maton’s solo homer in the third and Bryson Stott’s two-RBI blooper that kissed the left field line in the fourth.
Alcantara had pitched like the frontrunner for the NL Cy Young Award but his ERA has risen from 1.92 to 2.43 in his last four starts. The Phillies have tagged him for 15 runs in five starts this season.
“Best pitcher in the game right now. At least in the conversation,” Hoskins said. “We feel like we’ve been that type of team all year. I know we got him a few times here and at least one time there.”
Still, when Wendle hit a solo homer in the fifth for a 4-3 lead, that should have been enough for Alcantara and the Marlins.
Bleday’s first error of the season took care of that — only for him to get bailed out by a costly error for the Phillies.
“It just hadn’t been going our way,” Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. “It’s nice to have some stuff kind of go our way tonight.”