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Alvarado wilder than he’s been in years as Phillies leave London with a loss

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Alvarado wilder than he’s been in years as Phillies leave London with a loss originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

LONDON — Just when it looked like David Dahl would play the hero for the second time in his first week back in the majors, a one-run lead turned into a 6-5 loss with Jose Alvarado unable to find the plate in the Phillies‘ final inning in London.

Alvarado was as wild as he’s been in years. He allowed two singles, two walks, a hit batter and a run-scoring wild pitch. Instead of a sweep, the Phillies split.

Alvarado had walked multiple batters just once in his prior 28 appearances. He’d pitched to a 1.40 ERA over that span. He just didn’t have it on Sunday afternoon.

The Phillies are 45-20 — a 112-win pace — as they head to Boston to continue their three-city road trip.

Alvarado wasn’t the Phillies’ only erratic left-hander Sunday. Gregory Soto relieved Taijuan Walker with two on, two outs and the Phillies up by three in the sixth inning. Both of his inherited runners scored and he was charged with another to allow the Mets to tie the game.

Soto has been unable to find consistency in 93 appearances over two seasons with the Phillies, posting a 4.81 ERA.

Matt Strahm followed Soto with a scoreless inning and Jeff Hoffman picked up four outs to get the ball to Alvarado. In between, Dahl came off the bench to hit his second home run in six days. A former All-Star and first-round pick, Dahl has already basically paid for himself after signing a minor-league deal the first week of spring training.

Manager Rob Thomson’s decision to use Soto first instead of Strahm proved costly. Strahm has obviously been far more effective with 26 consecutive appearances without an earned run, though he wasn’t at his best Sunday either.

It was all there for the taking in the bottom of the ninth as the Phillies loaded the bases with one out after Alec Bohm walked in a run, but Nick Castellanos grounded into a game-ending 2-3 double play one foot in front of home plate.

If there was a silver lining in the loss, it was Walker’s performance. It would have been a scoreless start if Soto could’ve picked up the final out of the sixth, and Walker mixed his pitches as well as he has in any outing as a Phillie. He threw 17 sinkers, 16 four-seam fastballs, 15 splitters, 14 sliders, 14 curveballs and three cutters. He struck out six, five of them looking, and induced mostly weak contact.

The Phillies fly straight from London to Boston for a three-game series beginning Tuesday. When they land at Logan International Airport, they’ll have flown just under 12,000 miles in 18 days. It’s been a grind.

Zack Wheeler, Cristopher Sanchez and Aaron Nola will face the Red Sox.

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