Timely hits hard to come by of late for Marlins

Timely hits hard to come by of late for Marlins

MIAMI -- The Marlins this month had plenty of big knocks -- many of them off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton, who matched a Major League record 18 home runs in August. As a club, Miami belted 39 homers and scored 131 runs, ranking 12th and 11th, respectively, among all MLB teams in those categories.

But the offense has cooled of late, and the Marlins fell, 3-2, to the Phillies on Thursday night, dropping them six games behind the Rockies for the second National League Wild Card spot.

After being swept in three games to the host Nationals, the Marlins have now lost four straight.

"The general story is very similar to what it's been," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said. "We've just been leaving [runners on base]. We're getting a lot of chances and just aren't getting that hit right now."

Telis out on batter interference

The way the Marlins were going, a tempering in scoring was not totally unexpected. It's just coming at an inopportune time, with 29 games remaining.

On Thursday, the Marlins went 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded the bases loaded in the ninth inning when Hector Neris struck out J.T. Realmuto looking at a 2-2 fastball.

During the four-game slide, Miami is a mere 3-for-36 (.083) with runners in scoring position, leaving 36 on base.

In the first two losses in Washington, the Marlins were hitless in 14 at-bats with runners in scoring position before going 1-for-8 on Wednesday, in a 4-0 loss. The club has been outscored, 26-7, during the slide.

"[Those are] things that happen through the course of the season," Mattingly said. "It's just a bad time for it right now."

Phillies right-hander Ben Lively gave up two runs in six innings, but he seemed vulnerable in the first, walking Dee Gordon to open the game.

Stanton lifted a popout to third, Gordon was caught stealing and Christian Yelich lined out to left. He also stranded the bases loaded in the third.

Lively escapes bases-loaded jam

"We had our chances all night long," Mattingly said. "It seemed in the first inning, we had this guy [in trouble]. He was not getting anything over, and he seemed to get out of that pretty easily. We had a number of chances in different innings to get a hit, at least get it back to tie or whatever. We just weren't able to get it."

Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.