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MIAMI (AP) — Miami Marlins manager Don Mattingly sat in the dugout contemplating his team’s role of spoiler a couple of hours before the start of a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies, whose playoff hopes are fading with a late-season swoon.
“They’re probably feeling like they’ve got to win every game,” Mattingly said.
Instead, the Phillies are doing the opposite. They lost their third in a row Monday, managing only four hits and no walks against Jose Urena and two relievers, and the last-place Marlins won 3-1.
The Phillies remained four games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East and are 9-17 since Aug. 6, when the led the division. They’ve scored five runs in the past four games.
“I don’t think we’re running out of time,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We have a ton of confidence. This is not the last day of the season.”
It’s true the Phillies aren’t out of the division race, because they face Atlanta in seven of their final 11 games. But the loss to the Marlins doesn’t help.
“We have plenty of time to put together a really strong run,” Kapler said. “If we get hot, and I believe we can and will, we’ll rattle off enough wins to be right where we need to be when we start that series with Atlanta.”
Urena (5-12) gave up one run in seven innings. He struck out seven to increase his season total to 117, a career high.
Drew Steckenrider pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his third save.
Vince Velasquez (9-10) allowed three runs in five innings.
“This is a month where we’ve got to bear down, and I think we’re capable of that,” Velasquez said. “I think there’s a turning point somewhere, and I think we’ll find it soon — probably tomorrow.”
Asdrubal Cabrera hit his 22nd homer , but that was it for the Phillies’ scoring. Their offensive slump is such that Kapler pinch-hit for Velasquez even though he had thrown only 73 pitches, because the score was 3-1 in the sixth.
“When we have to score runs, we have to score runs,” Kapler said.
Derek Dietrich’s triple started a three-run second inning for the Marlins. Left fielder Rafael Ortega had a two-run single and made a backhanded catch on the warning track to rob Carlos Santana of a run-scoring extra-base hit.
“Seems like it was the hardest ball Santana hit all year,” Kapler said. “It didn’t bounce in our direction today.”
The retractable roof at Marlins Park was closed as Tropical Storm Gordon passed through South Florida. Attendance was 7,771.
Miami rookie Lewis Brinson had two hits and an RBI.
“We had a good plan against a good pitcher,” he said.
Brinson is 5 for 11 since returning from the DL, hiking his average to .196. But he was doubled off first on a routine flyout in the seventh.
Before the game, the Phillies activated RHP Jerad Eickhoff from the 60-day DL, and RHP Ben Lively was designated for assignment.
Phils INF Maikel Franco (right wrist) sat out after undergoing X-rays, which were negative. He said it’s unlikely he’ll play Tuesday. “When I squeeze my hand I feel a little bit of pain,” he said, “and when I hit the ball there’s a lot of pain.”
RHP Jake Arrieta (9-9, 3.54) is scheduled to start Tuesday for the Phils against RHP Trevor Richards (3-7, 4.26).
(Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)