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Mariners 5, Phillies 3: Can’t we just play the Rockies every day?

Bailey faltered and the offensive inconsistency continued

Seattle Mariners v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

The 11-12 Phillies opened a three-game set against the 10-12 Seattle Mariners at Citizens Bank Park for the first time since 2017, when the lineups looked...different:

Those two juggernauts combined for 17 runs that night, but this evening’s game was a different story. Bailey Falter sent down 8 of the first 9 Mariners he faced, while Marco Gonzales, who was originally slated to pitch Wednesday night, did the same. The Phillies threatened to break the ice with two outs in the third after Cristian Pache singled and Bryson Stott walked, but Trea Turner chased a breaking ball to leave them stranded.

AJ Pollock led off the fifth inning by lining out to the warning track on a curveball that wasn’t quite low enough, becoming the 8th straight Seattle hitter retired by Falter. The southpaw was less fortunate with his next mistake, which the torrid Jarred Kelenic deposited quite far into the bleachers for his third long ball in as many games.

Falter struck out Cal Raleigh (whose nickname origin story piqued John Kruk’s interest), but again let a 2-strike breaker catch too much of the plate and José Caballero lined it into left for a single. Caballero swiped second base and advanced to third on a rare misfire by J.T. Realmuto. As errors so often do, Caballero scored on an infield hit by former Phillies first-round selection and top prospect J.P. Crawford to make it 2-0.

The home team cut the lead in half rather loudly in their half of the inning on Edmundo Sosa’s third home run of the year. This one wasn’t cheap either:

Falter struck out Ty France to begin the sixth, but Eugenio Suárez ripped a changeup for a double and Teoscar Hernández followed with a two-run blast to left on a letter-high curveball to increase the deficit to 4-1. After a Pollock strikeout, Kelenic very nearly collected his third extra-base hit of the night but was thwarted by this superhuman effort by Pache:

The Phillies again responded quickly. Kyle Schwarber was hit by a pitch and Nick Castellanos and Realmuto each singled to right to load the bases with 1 out against reliever Matt Brash. Alec Bohm rifled Brash’s first offering on the ground toward first base, where it was flagged down by France, who got the out at second base. Schwarber scored on the play to make it 4-2, but the fine defensive play minimized the damage, especially after Sosa chased a slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Connor Brogdon replaced Falter, who made it through 6 innings for the second straight start in spite of some home run problems. Raleigh tripled high off the wall in right and scored on a sacrifice fly by Caballero to bring the Mariners’ lead back to 3. Brandon Marsh led off with a single off of (left-handed!) Gabe Speier, and for a moment it felt as though yet another same-inning retaliation was coming. He was caught in no man’s land on a Pache liner to second base, though, turning it into a momentum-killing double play.

Closer Paul Sewald came on in the ninth to protect a 5-2 lead. Bohm doubled and moved to third on a Sosa groundout. Marsh struck out, but Jake Cave kept the line moving with a 2-out, pinch-hit RBI single. The tying run strode to the plate in the form of Bryson Stott, who struck out to end the game after some suspense added by the $1 hot dogs hurled onto the playing surface.

The Phillies (11-13) will look to even the series Wednesday at 6:40 behind Taijuan Walker (3.80 ERA). He’ll be opposed by Logan Gilbert (3.57 ERA).