PHOENIX (AP)Josh VanMeter hit a two-run homer, Taylor Widener pitched five quality innings and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the slumping Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on Tuesday night.
The Phillies lost for the fifth time in seven games and dropped 2 1/2 games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. Bryce Harper homered in the third to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead but his team couldn’t generate much offense the rest of the way.
It was Harper’s 22nd homer of the season. The All-Star walked in the first inning to stretch his on-base streak to 24 games.
Philadelphia – trailing 3-1 – threatened in the ninth when Brad Miller doubled off Tyler Clippard with one out. Miller moved to third on a flyout before Travis Jankowski walked. Miller scored on a wild pitch and Jankowski went to second, but Alec Bohm popped up to shallow left for the final out.
The Phillies managed just three hits even though they hit several balls hard. Didi Gregorius’ long fly in the eighth looked as though it might be a homer, but Pavin Smith ran it down on the warning track for the third out.
”We just couldn’t get anything going, couldn’t break through,” Miller said. ”Did some good things but couldn’t break through.”
Clippard earned his third save. Miguel Aguilar (1-1) got the win after throwing 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
The Diamondbacks have the worst record in the NL but they’ve been a pain for playoff contenders in recent days. They won three of four games against the San Diego Padres last weekend.
Philadelphia starter Kyle Gibson (8-5) gave up three runs and seven hits over six innings. He walked two and struck out five. The tall right-hander was cruising until the sixth, when he walked Christian Walker with two outs and VanMeter homered.
Gibson took the blame for the loss, saying the offense was hitting the ball hard but ran into some tough luck.
”For me, the frustrating part is if I go and limit that sixth inning, it’s a different game,” Gibson said.
Widener started for the Diamondbacks after a 10-day stretch on the injured list. He had a good outing, giving up just Harper’s solo homer over five innings. Widener allowed two hits, walked three and struck out five.
”I thought he was well prepared,” Arizona manager Torey Lovullo said. ”He gave us everything he had and it was a solid outing.”
The right-hander has struggled with injures throughout the season and was on the IL twice earlier this year for a strained groin. He was scratched from his previous scheduled start because of cold-like symptoms and was put on the injured list as a precaution.
Josh Rojas had three hits for the Diamondbacks, including a double. VanMeter’s drive in the sixth proved to be the difference after the low liner just cleared the right-field fence for his fourth homer.
”He left a slider over the middle of the plate and I was able to get the barrel on it,” VanMeter said. ”Thankfully it went over the fence.”
Archie Bradley returned to Chase Field for the first time since being traded from the Diamondbacks to the Cincinnati Reds last season. He was honored with a tribute on the video board before the game.
Bradley spent his first 5 1/2 seasons in the big leagues with the Diamondbacks and was one of the team’s most reliable relievers during that span. He signed with the Phillies during the offseason and has a 7-1 record with a 2.70 ERA.
Phillies: RHP Sam Coonrod and INF Freddy Galvis started rehab assignments with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. RHP Vince Velasquez will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater.
Diamondbacks: To make room for Widener on the roster, the team optioned RHP Sean Poppen to Triple-A Reno. … Lovullo said RHP Merrill Kelly (COVID-19) is fighting symptoms from his illness. LHP Joe Mantiply and pitching coach Matt Herges, who are out due to contact tracing, both continue to test negative for the virus.
The Diamondbacks send RHP Humberto Castellanos (0-1, 2.30 ERA) to the mound to face Phillies LHP Ranger Suarez (5-3, 1.07) in the second game of the three-game series.
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