Phillies turn bases-loaded grounder into costly mistake
PHILADELPHIA - With the score tied and bases loaded in the top of the third inning, Phillies third baseman Sean Rodriguez fielded a groundball Wednesday night.
For some reason, Milwaukee Brewers pitcher Gio Gonzalez, who was the runner on third base started toward home plate but then retreated.
The possibilities for outs seemed endless.
Rodriguez could have stepped on third for a force out and thrown home for another out.
He could have thrown home immediately and started a double play that way.
There was even a chance for a triple play.
Instead, Rodriguez seemed to freeze.
He eventually threw home for an out, but only after many in the crowd 28,129 at Citizens Bank Park yelled at him to do something.
The Milwaukee Brewers scored three times after that play enroute to a 5-2 win over the Phillies. Philadelphia (24-18) has dropped two straight.
"I didn't think we played a good game from most angles," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said. "I didn't think we played very good defense. We didn't take advantage of scoring opportunities. We didn't pitch as good as we can."
Rodriguez declined to speak with reporters after the game.
Kapler described the play as an unusual situation because Gonzalez headed back toward third.
Kapler said Rodriguez probably should have tagged Gonzalez and then attempt to the tag the runner heading toward third from second base.
"It was a very confusing play not one you see very often," Kapler said. "It looked confusing to Sean as well."
Jake Arrieta struggles wth control
Phillies starting pitcher Jake Arrieta was not at his best.
He threw six innings, allowing five hits, five runs (four earned) and four walks.
Arrieta walked three batters in the third inning, when the Rodriguez snafu occurred. Arrieta began the inning by walking the opposing pitcher Gonzalez.
"That's the last thing you want to do," Arrieta said. "You have to put the ball in the strike zone against their pitcher."
Arrieta has allowed eight earned runs in 11 innings in his last two starts.
"I gave up three homers last start," he said. "I needed to be better down in the strike zone, and I was better at that today. Today was walks, so it was two completely different starts."
Bryce Harper looks good at the plate
The lone bright spot for the Phillies was Bryce Harper.
The outfielder showed signs of emerging from his slump.
He just missed a home run in the bottom of the first when he hit a ball 385 feet that Milwaukee center fielder Lorenzo Cain caught.
In the third, Harper lined a double to left-center field.
"Those two at-bats in particular were really good," Kapler said.