PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Rhys Hoskins botched an easy catch that cost the Phillies a game and gave their fed-up fans a reason to really boo the home team. The struggling first baseman has become the latest player to trigger the official sound of contempt in Philly with a drop that cost the Phils a chance to gain ground in the playoff race.
Hoskins kept Phillies fans booing when he inexplicably flubbed a routine throw in the ninth inning, turning what appeared to be an inning-ending double play into the go-ahead run for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a 5-4 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night.
“Just missed it. Clanked it,” Hoskins said.
After a pair of one-out walks by Hector Neris (2-5), Kevin Newman hit a grounder to second baseman Cesar Hernandez that could’ve let the Phillies escape.
Hernandez flipped to Jean Segura for a force at second, and the shortstop threw a strike to Hoskins that should have finished the inning. But the struggling Hoskins seemed to close his mitt too early and the ball smacked off the leather and rolled away.
Adam Frazier scrambled home to score the tiebreaking run in stunning fashion and the Phillies failed to gain ground in the NL wild-card race.
“I think that he was in a good position to catch that ball,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “There’s no technique he could have done different to save it. It’s just a ball he missed.”
Hoskins entered hitting .164 since the All-Star break and said he didn’t need a day off. Kapler said he would talk about the possibility with Hoskins.
“I think we keep reminding him how good he is,” Kapler said.
Felipe Vazquez (5-1) got the win for the Pirates with 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
“We’re never really out of it,” left fielder Bryan Reynolds said. “It’s just one swing away, one play away.”
More like, one big error.
Sean Rodriguez provoked the ire of Phillies fans a day after he won a game a with an extra-inning home run and blasted the crowd for booing. Rodriguez was booed during lineup introductions — though he signed a few autographs for fans before the game — and each time he came to hit.
Rodriguez did hear cheers after his first at-bat — he was hit by a pitch and smirked at the reaction as he jogged to first. He was booed again even after he doubled in the fourth inning and he seemed to gesture in appreciation toward his teammates in the Phillies dugout.
Rodriguez ripped the fans after he led off the 11th inning with a homer to beat the Pirates 6-5 on Monday night.
“I’m not the one saying pretty disgusting things at times. That seems pretty entitled. You’re just making yourself look pretty bad as an individual, as a person, as a fan,” he said.
The Phillies’ chase for a wild-card spot took a backseat Tuesday to wall-to-wall Rodriguez headlines.
“Sean’s a fiery guy, he’s a fiery player,” Kapler said. “I think what he was attempting to convey was that he supports his teammates and thinks that his teammates perform best when they feel support, too.”
Kapler was booed during introductions on his first opening day in Philadelphia last year and said it’s best for everyone connected to Philly sports to develop a thick skin.
“I don’t think our fans are entitled,” Kapler said. “What they’re entitled to do is feel how they feel and express themselves accordingly. Let’s go at it directly, every great player in every sport that’s played here in Philadelphia has gotten booed. Charles Barkley was here and talked to our club not that long ago. Charles Barkley got booed. Ryan Howard got booed. Jimmy Rollins got booed. Mike Schmidt got booed.”
All of those players are some of the greats in Philly sports history.
Rodriguez entered hitting .214.
More boos were heard in the first inning, though they were the usual ones directed at the home team when it’s losing. The Pirates nearly hit for the cycle in the inning against Drew Smyly. Newman led off with a triple, Reynolds hit his 14th homer of the season for a 2-0 lead and Starling Marte doubled to open the inning. The Pirates wouldn’t score again until Colin Moran hit a two-run homer off Smyly for a 4-2 lead
The Phillies scored a run each in the second, third and fourth innings off Pirates starter Steven Brault and Logan Morrison tied it at 4-all in the sixth with his fifth career pinch-hit home run.
Phillies: INF-OF Scott Kingery, who left Monday’s game with an injury, was out of the starting lineup with lower abdominal soreness. Kingery pinch-hit in a tie game in the eighth and struck out.
U.S national soccer team star Carli Lloyd, who made a 55-yard field goal at a recent Eagles practice, threw the first pitch. Lloyd told NBCSports Philadelphia she had interest from an NFL team to kick for them.
The Phillies send RHP Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.93 ERA) to the mound against Pittsburgh RHP Mitch Keller (1-2, 7.24 ERA).