MIAMI — The Miami Marlins’ first two pitchers Monday were No. 67 and No. 65, which helps explain why the team is rapidly fading from playoff contention.
Starter Jake Esch and reliever Austin Brice weren’t projected to be part of the postseason chase, and wore numbers typically seen on spring training prospects. Each of them gave up three runs as the Marlins lost 6-2 to the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Marlins have dropped four in a row and are 11-22 since Aug. 1, with their thin depth an issue as injuries mount.
“We knew that we were going to be challenged depth-wise,” manager Don Mattingly said. “We needed a little bit of luck and everything to fall in its slots. In the past month and a half, it has probably fallen the wrong way, and it has put us in a bind.”
Miami fell two games below .500 for the first time since April 27 and could be headed for a seventh consecutive losing season.
Esch (0-1) — No. 67 in your scorecard — pitched five innings in his second major league start but failed to protect a 2-0 lead.
“It’s a positive step in the right direction for me personally,” Esch said. “But it ended up as a loss for the Fish again. So I have to be a little bit better.”
The Marlins mustered only six hits. They haven’t homered at home since slugger Giancarlo Stanton went on the disabled list Aug. 14 with a strained groin.
Miami’s first two batters scored. Dee Gordon tripled and came home on a single by Ichiro Suzuki, and J.T. Realmuto hit a two-out RBI single in the first.
But the Phillies blanked the Marlins the rest of the way. Jerad Eickhoff (10-13) and three relievers combined to retire the final 15 Marlins in order.
Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer to snap a streak of 18 consecutive scoreless innings for Philadelphia. The Phillies’ run total was their highest since Aug. 14.
The Phillies managed only one hit off Esch until the fifth, when they scored three runs. Galvis’ upper-deck homer made it 2-all, and Peter Bourjos tripled and came home when shortstop Miguel Rojas mishandled a one-out grounder for an error.
Brice made two throwing errors — one to first base and one to second — in the Phillies’ three-run seventh.
Marlins: RF Stanton might be available to pinch-hit soon, Mattingly said. “He’s moving pretty good,” Mattingly said. “He’s feeling good. He has been able to swing the bat. It’s just a matter of what he can do, and how safely he can do it.” … 1B Justin Bour (right ankle) might be activated Tuesday, Mattingly said. … Rojas left with a left groin strain, and his status is day to day.
Marlins RHP Jose Urena (3-5, 5.40 ERA) faces Phillies LHP Adam Morgan (1-9, 6.21 ERA) on Tuesday. Over his past three starts, Urena is 2-1 with a 2.04 ERA.