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Calamity in the Eighth: Dodgers 5, Phillies 4

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A disastrous eighth inning led to a deflating loss in Los Angeles

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Los Angeles Dodgers Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The first five innings of this game were a lot of fun. The Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead, the majority of the damage provided by Cesar Hernandez’s three-run home run in the second. Meanwhile, Vince Velasquez was pitching a no-hitter.

Unfortunately, baseball games are not five innings long. After Hernandez’s homer, the Phillies’ offense went cold, managing only three base runners over the next seven innings.

In the sixth inning, the Dodgers’ bats finally came to life. They recorded their first base hit in the form of a Yasiel Puig single, and two more hits allowed them to cut their deficit in half.

The damage could have been worse if not for Seranthony Dominguez. Called upon with two runners aboard in the sixth, Dominguez recorded the third out, and for good measure, struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh.

As talented as he is, Dominguez is unable to pitch every inning. (One day maybe?) A combination of Luis Garcia, Adam Morgan, and Victor Arano were called upon to handle the eighth inning, and while they did not preserve the lead, it’s hard to lay all the blame directly at their feet.

I’ll offer props to Matt Kemp whose RBI double was a solid hit. The rest of the inning included two infield singles (one of which could have been ruled an error by Maikel Franco), a single past a drawn-in infield, a wild pitch, and this magnificent play by Cesar Hernandez:

When the inning finally ended, the Phillies found themselves staring at a one-run deficit. At this point, a loss would have been deflating enough. But in the ninth, the Phillies added injury to insult when Rhys Hoskins suffered an injury by fouling a ball off his face.

The good news is that Hoskins does not appear to be seriously hurt.

This may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, as it could provide Kapler a prime opportunity to give his slumping left fielder a few days off.

The bad news is that with the loss, the Phillies have dropped to third place in the National League East. They need to find a way to avoid further late-inning losses so that they don’t slip even further.

EDIT: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the Dodgers’ left fielder as Jeff Kemp. And as much as I love and respect the work of the former Eagles quarterback, his impact on this game was negligible.