Phillies manager Gabe Kapler
For the most part, the Phillies' bullpen has been an asset this season. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case on Tuesday night as the 'pen coughed up nine runs over three innings as the Nationals cruised to a 10-4 victory over the Phillies at Nationals Park.

The loss dropped the Phillies to two-games off the pace in the NL East and, equally as important, enabled the Nationals to gain ground in what potentially could become a three-team race over the final month of the season.

That's bad news for the Phillies.

"I would say that the Nationals have been a dangerous team since Opening Day and they will be a dangerous team until the last game of the season," Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told reporters afterward (see video). "That lineup is really good from top to bottom and they demonstrated that tonight. But we never would take them lightly, whether they have Matt Adams and Daniel Murphy on the bench or they're rolling out the lineup that they had tonight."

Trailing by a run entering the sixth, Roman Quinn cranked his first career homer in the majors, a solo shot to even things at 1-1. The Phillies then manufactured three additional runs to take a 4-1 lead into the bottom of the frame.

That's when the wheels fell off.

Victor Arano, who has been spectacular all year, surrendered back-to-back homers including a solo shot to Wilmer Difo that allowed the Nats to take a 5-4 lead. Bryce Harper then lashed an RBI-double off Adam Morgan to tack on another run.

Ryan Zimmerman homered off Edubray Ramos in the seventh and Yacksel Rios surrendered three more runs in the eighth, allowing Washington to extend the lead and ultimately take the contest.

Starter Vince Velasquez surrendered one run on three hits over four innings for the Phillies. He threw just 58 pitches but dealt with a one-hour, 42-minute rain delay that began in the middle of the third inning before coming back out to toss another inning.

"There's not a lot of evidence that says it's a certain threshold -- 45 pitches, 45 minutes, an hour and a half, two hours," Kapler said. "There's no real threshold. The one thing we know is if we keep simulating the ups and downs during the delay by working in the cage, keeping the body moving and delivering some pitches, and you count those pitches, you can send your starter back out there."

The two clubs resume their three-game set on Wednesday with Zach Eflin set to oppose Stephen Strasburg. The Braves, meanwhile, will continue their set with the Pirates in Pittsburgh.

Roster Moves
To make room for Eflin on the 25-man roster the Phillies optioned Rios to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following Tuesday's loss.
Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

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