DENVER — The Phillies trudged to their hotel here at 4:15 a.m. local time after three losses in California. They did not take batting practice outside Friday at Coors Field. The players were told to come the ballpark later, if they wanted, but most arrived at the usual time.
The first inning of a 4-3 loss to the Rockies lasted 48 minutes. Colorado's starting pitcher was injured three batters into the game. Vince Velasquez needed 36 pitches for his first three outs. The Phillies trailed by two runs, and it felt like more.
But they did not lose Friday's game until the eighth inning when D.J. LeMahieu tapped an opposite-field, seeing-eye single. Luis Garcia, for the second straight night, was the eighth-inning victim.
They lost more than that.
Aaron Altherr will return to the disabled list Saturday after aggravating his bothersome right hamstring, Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. Altherr missed 10 games last month with the same injury.
He hurt it Friday when attempting a stolen base in the seventh inning. Altherr said the current soreness is "pretty similar" to what he experienced July 14 in Milwaukee when he first injured it. He may miss more than 10 days this time.
"The last few days it was tight," Altherr said. "It just felt a little worse after going for that steal."
The Phillies replaced Altherr with Cameron Perkins on Saturday. Perkins was was demoted to triple A earlier this week. Ty Kelly, who was optioned before Friday's game, will stay at Lehigh Valley.
Dylan Cozens, who is on the 40-man roster but is hitting .223 with 23 homers and 149 strikeouts in 386 at-bats, wasn't an option. Neither was Roman Quinn, who has been sidelined since May with a ligament injury to his non-throwing elbow.
So Altherr's absence could mean more playing time for Daniel Nava and Hyun Soo Kim, two veteran outfielders.
"I don't know yet," Mackanin said. "I'm going to look at it."
It was just another blow to a team that has endured a soul-sucking trip with four losses and nine roster transactions in four days.
The remade bullpen, with an average age of 26.4 years, will experience some growing pains. The Phillies tied the game in the sixth. They jumped ahead in the seventh. But rookie righthander Ricardo Pinto, who began his day with a 6 a.m. flight from Buffalo, N.Y., surrendered a game-tying homer to MVP candidate Nolan Arenado.
Garcia, 30, appeared in the eighth. He walked the leadoff batter for the second straight night. He recorded the next two outs, intentionally walked Charlie Blackmon, but could not retire LeMahieu. It was a brutal way to fall.
Colorado received 11 pitches and one out from its starting pitcher. And they still won.
Velasquez was maddening. He walked four of the first 11 batters he faced. He hit another. He allowed one baserunner in every one of his five innings. And, still, he permitted just two to score. His stuff is good.
He walked a career-high six batters.
"The extra pitches and the walks, it just all added up," Velasquez said. "It was a snowball effect. I have to limit the damage as much as possible."