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PHI@MIA: Valaika singles to bring home the tying run

MIAMI -- At some point, manager Mike Redmond would like to see the Marlins Park home run sculpture set in motion following one of his players' home runs.

Through six home games, no Miami player has been able to trigger the 73-foot feature situated beyond the wall in center field. Instead, Redmond has witnessed his team hurt by the long ball. It happened again Sunday.

Laynce Nix uncorked a pinch-hit home run off Jon Rauch in the ninth inning that lifted the Phillies to a 2-1 win over the Marlins before a crowd of 21,412 at Marlins Park.

The Marlins' latest loss mirrored much of what the team has seen repeatedly all season. In three games against Philadelphia, Miami scored four total runs. Yet, the Marlins' pitching allowed six runs.

"I'm waiting," Redmond said of the sculpture spinning in motion. "I've heard it's great. I've heard it is quite a sight. I just haven't seen it yet."

What the Marlins witnessed Sunday afternoon was all too familiar -- an opposing player doing damage with one swing.

Rauch shouldered his share of the blame not just for Nix's homer, but also for allowing two runs in the 10th inning in Friday's 3-1 loss to Philadelphia.

"Our guys are battling, and we're just not getting any breaks," Rauch said. "Guys are hitting the ball hard. Our pitching has been solid. We're just not catching any breaks. Then I come in, and I don't do my job two times on the homestand. That's terrible."

The Phillies took two of three over the weekend, and the Marlins (2-10) have lost all four of their series this season.

Surrendering the home run to Nix was the deciding moment, but it was not the only factor for the latest loss.

Overall, Miami has labored to mount any consistent offense. Making matters worse, the club was shorthanded with Giancarlo Stanton missing his third straight game because of a sore left shoulder. Before the game even started, Austin Kearns was sent to the hospital with an irregular heartbeat, and he is staying overnight for further evaluation.

The Phillies were able to prevail because they capitalized on one swing. Nix belted his fourth career pinch-hit homer, and second of the season.

"I don't think I've faced Rauch too many times: once or twice," Nix said. "He's big and tall, he's on top of you. He just gave me a good pitch to hit right there at 1-1. I wasn't ready for that. I was sort of expecting something else. Maybe he missed his spot. But he put it in a good spot for me."

Nix's home was the 11th blast of the season for the Phillies. Comparatively, the Marlins have hit just two home runs this year.

"Right now, our mistakes are big, and they're costing us," Redmond said. "If we're not going to hit home runs, then we've got to be able to put some at-bats together and get some hits and keep the line moving. We're just not able to do that."

Roy Halladay, who entered the game 0-2 with a 14.73 ERA, limited Miami to one run on five hits in eight innings to win his 200th career game. Jonathan Papelbon closed out the ninth for his third save.

"Everybody was talking about his numbers," Redmond said of Halladay's struggles. "I was like, 'Hey, this guy is a professional; he knows how to pitch.' He understands the game. Nobody is more prepared than him. His velocity might have been down a few ticks, but when he needed to make pitches, he made pitches. You saw how efficient he was with his pitches. He stayed in there for a long time in that game and gave them a chance to win."

The loss wasted yet another strong pitching performance by Miami right-hander Kevin Slowey, who gave up one run on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings.

Once again, Slowey was composed and poised, but he did not have much run support.

"Tremendous pitching performance again by Slowey," said Redmond, a former teammate of the right-hander in Minnesota. "We can't continue to go out there and ask them to do any more than they're doing. Slowey, this might be the best I've ever seen him pitch. He's locating his fastball. His tempo is great. He's pounding the strike zone. Man, he needs a win. We've got to get this guy a win."

Through five innings, Slowey flirted with danger, but he was able to strand runners on third base in the first, third and fifth innings.

But in the sixth, the right-hander could not escape from issuing a leadoff double to Ryan Howard. Michael Young, who has not felt well and did not start Saturday, came through with an RBI single to center that put the Phillies on the board.

Miami tied it in the seventh inning on Chris Valaika's RBI single, which scored Justin Ruggiano, who singled with one out.

But a baserunning blunder ended the inning. Rob Brantly, who walked and was on second, was doubled up at second on Adeiny Hechavarria's fly ball to center field. Brantly took off for third when the ball was hit, seemingly unaware there was one out. Upon his scramble to second, he tapped his helmet on the ground, upset at himself.

"Guys have to keep battling, and keep trying to put together at-bats," Redmond said. "Obviously, the guys understand where we're at. We're having some offensive struggles. We've just got to keep patting them on the back and focusing on having good at-bats and keep hoping one day we're going to bust out with six or seven runs, like I know we're capable of. Hopefully, that will happen soon."

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