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Phillies' wild loss to Dodgers puts them first in NL East



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The up-and-coming Phillies are so advanced that after the All-Star break, they play big, meaningful games. That's a good thing, because it's been too long here between the pennant races.

The increasing importance and intensity of the games means that small missteps can not be dismissed as things that a young team needs to improve. [196592002] No. The glare gets hotter with each passing day and when small things go awry, they are not only noticed, they cost an important ball game.

That was the plight of the rising Phillies on Monday night as they slipped one in one of 7-6 defeat by Chase Utley, Manny Machado and the Los Angeles Dodgers 333753 ago at Citizens Bank Park (see first shot ) .

"Extremely heavy loss," said manager Gabe Kapler. [1

9659002] It was safe. There was a current in the building reminiscent of the title years from 2007 to 2011. Part of this had to do with the fact that a former Phillie (Utley) was back in town (see story) a part of it had to do with a possible future Phillie (Machado) in town and a whole Lot of it had to do with playoff-intensity baseball, back in town. Both teams came in first in their respective divisions. The loss brought the Phillies (55-44) back into first place against Atlanta in the NL East.

The Phillies have done some good things in this game. Most notably, Rhys Hoskins was clubbing a two-out, game-tying, three run home run to the Phillies from a 4-1 deficit in the fifth inning and Odubel Herrera following up with a solo shot to the Phillies, 5 4. Yacksel Rios kept the game out of the bullpen and Austin Davis did a good job of protecting a lead.

But in the end, the Phillies made too many mistakes to win the game.

Starter Zach Eflin, who had crashed for the first time in two weeks, was rusted. He recorded five hits, including three solo homers and three walks in 2 2/3 innings.

"It's about me," Eflin said of the loss. "I did a terrible job of setting the tone for the game."

• In the seventh inning, the Phillies lost their lead when Herrera hesitated after bringing a ball from Max Muncy into flat midfield and dared Machado, who had tripled with one against Tommy Hunter, daring to home with the tying Run to run.

After the game, Herrera confirmed that he hesitated. He said he did not have a good grip on the ball right away and had to reset. That fraction of a second turned out to be huge as Machado slid headfirst over the plate just before Jorge Alfaro's day.

• The Dodgers rallied for two laps in the top of the ninth inning after Serhenthony Dominguez could not throw strikes and Alfaro I could not catch a fastball that ran from the plate. The resulting base-loaded wild pitch allowed the go-ahead run to score from third base. Dominguez faced five punches in the inning. He gave three walks and a single. The deadly game field could have actually received a passed ball on Alfaro.

"I should have caught it," said Alfaro. "I should catch this ball, at least keep it up front, there's nothing I could say about that."

Before the inning ended, Dominguez was charged with a second run when Matt Kemp struck an RBI single against Luis Garcia, to lead the Dodgers 7-5. It was a great success as Maikel Franco finished ninth with his second homer during the night.

Kemp's hit scored Joc Pederson. He had scored a base goal against Dominguez. The hit, a tough one-hopper, went through the heart of shortstop, which was revealed because the Phillies were in a defensive streak. If the Phillies were straight, they might have been able to play a double game and everything could have been different.

Small things become big when the stakes are high.

"I'm really, really proud of the way our boys fought with teeth and claws," said Kapler. "I never felt as if they had turned out to be a strong opponent with a wild lineup, we never felt like we were out of action, we fought to the last pitch."

"The Rhys Home Run and the Odubel homer made for a playoff atmosphere in the stadium. The momentum has shifted in our direction, and I think we all felt we could win this baseball game, and we were able to win this baseball game.

In fact they were.

But it did not happen.

Small things.

"We'll make mistakes," Alfaro said. "We're human. We just have to let it go. We have two more games to win the series.

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