MIAMI (AP) - Florida right-hander Javier Vazquez had trouble pitching and catching.
Vazquez made a costly error when he dropped a throw at home plate and lasted only 4 1-3 innings Monday night, when the Marlins lost to the Philadelphia Phillies 6-4.
``Things aren't happening for me right now,' Vazquez said. ``Nothing is going right.'
Vazquez (2-3) allowed nine hits and six runs, five earned. His ERA rose to 6.88.
``I wish I had an explanation, but I got nothing,' he said. ``Just frustrating, embarrassed with the way I'm throwing.'
The Phillies turned four double plays behind Joe Blanton, who came off the disabled list to pitch five innings and earn his first victory of the season.
``They say the double play's a pitcher's best friend, and it really was tonight,' Blanton said. ``It helped me out a lot.'
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins and second baseman Pete Orr each had a hand in three DPs for the Phillies, who lead the majors in fielding.
``Our trademark the past four or five years is we play solid defense,' manager Charlie Manuel said.
The Marlins' trademark is shaky defense. They've improved this season, but the problem resurfaced against the Phillies.
When Rollins homered on the game's fifth pitch, right fielder Mike Stanton leaped but the ball deflected off his glove and cleared the wall.
``I don't think that is going to happen too often,' Florida manager Edwin Rodriguez said.
Vazquez's dropped throw in the third allowed Placido Polanco to score an unearned run.
``We would have had an out if I caught it,' Vazquez said. ``I guess I thought he was closer than he really was, and I tried to tag him before I had the ball.'
Those two runs gave the Phillies their winning margin. They won for the 18th time in their past 21 games in Miami.
The Marlins' start matches the best in franchise history, but they've lost four of their past five games to fall three behind the NL East-leading Phillies (23-11), who have the best record in the majors.
Next, Florida must face reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, who will pitch in Miami for the first time since last May, when he threw his perfect game. He'll be opposed Tuesday by Marlins ace Josh Johnson.
``I'm glad I'm going to be there to see that,' Rodriguez said. ``That is going to be a show.'
While pitching is likely to dominate the rest of the series, there were 14 hits in the first three innings of the opener. Blanton (1-1) allowed eight hits but left with a 6-3 lead.
The right-hander made his first start since April 23 after being sidelined with an impingement in his throwing elbow.
``He did OK,' Manuel said. ``That's about what we wanted. He made the pitches when he had to.'
Gaby Sanchez of Florida, chosen NL player of the week before the game, drove in three runs with his fifth homer and a double. Chris Coghlan had three hits and drove in a run.
But Florida managed only one run after the second inning, while the Phillies kept hitting. Ross Gload made his second start of the year and had a pair of RBI singles. Shane Victorino tripled to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
The Phillies' Vance Worley gave up one run in three innings, and Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.
The matchup between the top teams in the NL East standings failed to excite ever-apathetic South Florida. The crowd of 11,444 was the smallest to watch the Phillies this season.
Florida went ahead in the first with singles by Coghlan and Hanley Ramirez, and Sanchez's two-run double. Coghlan hit a two-out RBI single in the second to make it 3-1.
Vazquez couldn't hold the lead.
``The thing with Javy is the command is not there,' Rodriguez said. ``He is not going to overpower anybody, so when he has problems commanding his pitches, against a lineup like that, he's going to get hurt.'
NOTES: Marlins RHP Edward Mujica left in the seventh with a strained left knee, and his status is day to day. ... Philadelphia 2B Chase Utley went 1 for 7 in his second extended spring training game. ``So far, so good,' said the five-time All-Star, who hasn't played this season because of patellar tendinitis in his right knee. ... Vazquez has allowed a run in the first inning in each of his seven starts. ... Marlins C John Buck lost track of the count in the fourth and didn't realize he had drawn a walk.
The Associated Press News Service
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