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Phillies’ late rally falls short in third straight loss as Harper debuts at 1B

Phillies’ late rally falls short in third straight loss as Harper debuts at 1B originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies went back-to-back for the first time all season but a seventh-inning rally wasn’t enough in a 6-5 loss in Cleveland.

It’s the Phils’ third straight loss. They’re 52-45 after dropping the final two games to the Brewers and Friday’s series opener to the Guardians.

Bryce Harper debuted at first base and had an eventful introduction to the new position. The first at-bat of the bottom of the first inning was a groundball his way, the leadoff batter in the second inning hit a line shot to Harper’s left that he snagged, and he opened the third by jumping into the camera well to catch a ball in foul territory. Harper will DH Saturday as the Phillies ease him into the new spot.

The infield defense was not crisp on Friday night but it wasn’t related to Harper. A hard-hit ball went by Trea Turner at shortstop, and Bryson Stott later bobbled a ball up the middle that led to another run. Neither play was an error but they were makable. On the Stott play, Turner was out of position and not at the second-base bag anyway, so it would have been a bang-bang play at first if gloved cleanly.

The Phillies fell behind two in the first inning and Cleveland kept tacking on with runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Jose Ramirez had four singles, stole two bases, took two more bags on wild pitches and scored twice.

Ranger Suarez allowed four runs over five innings and Yunior Marte gave up two more, recording just one out.

The Phillies almost came back in the seventh when Harper walked, JT Realmuto hit a two-run homer and Stott followed with a solo shot on an 0-2 count. They couldn’t get any closer, going down 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth innings.

Stott continues to rake. He had another multi-hit game and is up to .307 on the season. He’s hit over .300 in nearly 550 at-bats since last August.

The Phillies wasted a bunch of opportunities with runners on base, stranding 10. Cleveland starter Gavin Williams threw nearly as many balls (39) as strikes (42) over four innings but the Phillies pushed only one run across.

The Marlins lost again, their seventh in a row, so the Phillies remained percentage points ahead in the final wild-card spot. The Diamondbacks and Giants also lost so nothing changed in the NL wild-card standings.

The Phillies look to get back in the win column Saturday at 7:10 pm when Zack Wheeler (7-4, 4.04) opposes right-hander Tanner Bibee (5-2, 3.32).