Phillies vs. Giants: Phils lose again after hitting a dramatic late home run


Phillies vs. Giants: Phils lose again after hitting a dramatic late home run

If only the Phillies could turn some of those dramatic hits into victories.

For the third time in seven games, the Phillies hit a home run in the eighth inning or later that either leveled the game or gave them the lead.

You lost all three.

After Corey Knebel conceded a homer in the ninth inning for the second time in about 20 hours, Kyle Schwarber picked it up with a game-winning solo shot on the second pitch at the bottom of the ninth inning.

The game went into extra innings where Giants catcher Curt Casali hit a game-winning two-run shot by Andrew Bellatti. The 4-5 loss was the fourth straight for the struggling Phillies, who are 21-28 and their furthest under .500 since the last day of the 2017 season.

That’s a long time ago. That was before Gabe Kapler, who shook hands with his Giants players after defeating Joe Girardis Phils in the first of three games this week.

“I wouldn’t say it’s been a tough month for me, I’ve just had two bad games in a row,” said Knebel. “Two solo homers, that’s it.”

Knebel did not allow a deserved run in nine of his first 10 appearances this season. Since then he has given up seven earned runs in 10⅔ innings and obviously the timing of those runs has been devastating.

Girardi, who gave Gag a vote of confidence earlier in the day, reiterated he’ll be the guy in the ninth inning too.

“It’s tough, but you know, everyone in this room has been through tough times in life,” Girardi said. “And you come to the other side, otherwise you wouldn’t be in this room. Sometimes what you’re going through seems like the worst thing you’ve ever been through, and if you look back, you can probably point to a time in your life that you got over it. You just have to keep doing your job, keep at it work.

“It’s gonna turn, it’s gonna turn. I believe in you. I believe in gags, I believe in everyone in this room. will answer.”

As is often the case this season, the Phillies were unable to play a full game. They batted well for 8⅔ innings that afternoon, playing clean defensively but missing the goal. Sure, there are some promising signs like Nick Castellanos and Schwarber who seem to be coming out of their slumps, but a team that’s competed in Memorial Day 10½ games in NL East needs to start stacking wins, and the Phils weren’t able to do this.

The Phillies hit three solo homers from Giants starter Logan Webb. Castellanos hit one in the second inning, Rhys Hoskins went deep in the fourth and Schwarber in the ninth. Webb was about to make a full game when Schwarber came to him. He still served very well overall with 10 strikeouts and never gave the Phillies a single opportunity with a runner in goal position.

Kyle Gibson started for the Phillies and avoided running at bat until Wilmer Flores’ two-run homer tied the game in the sixth inning. Gibson finished sixth with just 68 pitches, but needed 27 to complete his final frame.

Gibson allowed two runs in his six innings with three hits, a walk and two hit batsmen. He let his slider work and set off a ton of jam jobs, hitting balls softly off the back of the racquet.

Gibson has a 3.83 ERA. He’s allowed two runs or fewer in seven of 10 starts this season and five of his last six.

“This is probably the best team I’ve ever been on,” Gibson said when asked why he was so sure things would change. “I’ve been on teams going to the playoffs and this is the best team I’ve ever been on. We have too many good players and too many good shooters for it not to turn around. That’s the basis of my belief and I think that’s why everyone here believes in each other because if you look around the room there are a lot of really good players and players who have achieved a lot in their careers.

“I know it’s a cliché and I know everyone’s waiting, but sometimes that’s just how baseball is. We haven’t lived up to expectations yet, but this is a 162-game season.”

The three-game series between the Phillies and Giants resumes Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. Ranger Suarez (4-3, 4.74) appears to be recovering after consecutive short high-stress games. Right-hander Jakob Junis (2:1, 2.76) goes for San Francisco.

Junis, who has a six-inning win against the Mets, was extremely prone to homers during his six-year career with the fourth highest homer rate (1.6 per nine innings) among active MLB starters. The Phillies desperately need a win on Tuesday.

“Nobody likes to give up a lead and nobody likes to lose late. It seems magnified,” Gibson said. “But to lose late you have to be in the game and play really well. We did that against some really good teams for the most part. It just didn’t go our way.

“We see this team trailing 2-0 at some point in a playoff series. What will you do? Will you sulk and say you didn’t live up to expectations for the series, so you might as well give up? No, you go out and play the next game and try to make it 2-1. That’s all we can do at this point, keep playing game after game and keep trusting each other.”

Oh what this team’s fan base would give to even see a playoff series end 2-0…

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