BULLPEN DOOMS PHILLIES, WHO ARE HANGING BY PLAYOFF THREAD

By Sam Bush

What started on a high note with the Phillies ahead 4-1 in the 5th inning ended in another bullpen meltdown and left Philly’s playoffs chances hanging by a thread, a very thing thread at that.

Joey Wendle’s two-run single in the eighth inning and the listed the AL East champion Tampa Bay Rays over the Phillies 6-4.

Bryce Harper had a triple and drove in two runs for the Phils, who fell two games behind second-place Miami in the NL East and also trailed in the wide-open wild-card race.

”It’s frustrating,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. ”We had a lead again and weren’t able to hold. Then we weren’t able to tack on any runs after the fifth inning. Their bullpen is outstanding and they came in and pretty much shut us down. We weren’t able to get any more runs and they were and that’s the difference.”

Yoshi Tsutsdugo had one-out single in the eighth before Adam Morgan (0-1) loaded the bases on consecutive walks to Hunter Renfroe and Brett Phillips.

Hector Neris replaced Morgan and retired pinch-hitter Brandon Lowe on a pop fly. Wendle followed with a liner to right that gave Tampa Bay a 5-3 advantage.

Wendle also made a nice running catch in the eighth, going from his second base position to shallow right field near the foul line to snag a pop fly by Jean Segura with a runner on first.

Harper made it 4-1 on a fifth-inning single against Charlie Morton.

Adames ended starter Vince Velasquez’s night with a one-out RBI single in the fifth. Kevin Kiermaier cut the deficit to 4-3 on a fielder’s choice grounder off Hunter.

”That’s an inning I have to shut down,” Velasquez said. ”That’s a shutdown inning for me, for the whole team to kind of just continue that energy to carry on. It’s very frustrating I didn’t really complete my job in that situation.”

Morton gave up four runs – all with two outs – and seven hits over five innings. Velasquez allowed three run and six hits in 4 1/3 innings.

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