Phillies drop season opener to Marlins, 5-2

Philles drop opener
Aaron Nola was sharp for the first five frames in the season opener on Friday night, but Miami pounced for four runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a Jesus Aguilar two-run blast to center, to defeat the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, 5-2.

Nola needed just 23 pitches to get through the first six batters, but hit a bump in the third by surrendering back-to-back singles and a Johnathan Villar sac-fly allowing the Fish to take a 1-0 lead.

Didi Gregorius hammered a Sandy Alcantara slider to the seats in right field in the fifth to even the contest, but the Marlins answered and chased Nola with one out in the sixth.

Miguel Rojas worked a five-pitch walk to open the sixth and scored on Aguilar's homer. Corey Dickerson followed with a double to right that sealed the night for Nola.

"I tried to get that curve [to Aguilar] lower, it just hung up a little bit," Nola said. "Just a couple bad pitches in that inning hurt me."

Ramon Rosso, making his major league debut, came in to relieve Nola but faltered, surrendering one run on one hit and a walk. He also uncorked a pair of wild pitches.

"We've all been there with the first game." manager Joe Girardi said. "Sometimes it goes really well and sometimes it doesn't. I still believe in him. We still really like his arm. We like his stuff. Like all young kids, they get over it."

As for why Rosso in that spot, Girardi liked his odds given where the Marlins were in the batting order.

"The power that he has and how he's pitched," Girardi said. "We liked the matchups there."

The bullpen will play a vital role if the Phillies are to be successful this season, but some kinks still need to be worked out.

"There's some youth down there and we have to do our job to put them in spots to be successful," Girardi said.

Alcantara kept the Phillies in check, surrendering just two runs (one earned) on three hits over 6 2/3 innings. He walked two and collected seven strikeouts.

Gregorius led the Phillies offense, collecting two of the club's five hits on the evening.

It's only one loss, but in a shortened season everything is magnified and multiplied.

"These games count a lot," Gregorius said. "We don’t have a lot of time to catch back up if we fall too far back."
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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