By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
June 29 2014 6:15 PM EDT.
PHILADELPHIA - It's difficult to categorize a game in late June as a must win, but that was exactly the situation the Phillies found themselves in Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies put together several threats, including a chance to go ahead in the final frame, but failed to capitalize and ultimately fell to the Braves 3-2. The victory completed a four-game sweep for the Braves and dropped the Phillies to 10 games below .500.
"We had our chances with men on base but just couldn't come up with a hit," said Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg.
The Phillies collected 13 hits on the day, but finished 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position and totaled 3-for-32 over the series.
"The last week or so we've been lacking a big hit," Sandberg said. "Be it an extra base-hit to drive in some runs or a popped home run with a couple guys on. That's what made us successful on the last road trip, putting up some runs early in the game and coming up with some clutch hits and that's what we lacked this homestand."
Marlon Byrd accounted for the Phillies' runs with a pair of solo home runs.
David Buchanan tossed five innings, surrendering three runs on five hits and five walks in the losing effort. The defeat snapped a personal three-game winning streak.
"I'm not really known for walking guys," Buchanan said. "You can't go out there walking too many guys and expecting a good outing. That hurt today."
The loss marked the first time since July 2001 the Phillies notched 13 hits and scored two runs or less in a contest.
The Phillies had multiple chances to tie the contest and potentially take the lead, but fell short every time.
Trailing by a run in the sixth, Cody Asche opened the frame with a single and Domonic Brown followed with a walk, but Asche was later thrown out at third on a force play on a Koyie Hill bunt attempt that went back to the pitcher. Pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr. then hit into a double-play ball ending the inning.
The Phillies had another chance to even the contest in the seventh with runners on the corners, but Ryan Howard hit into an inning ending double play to halt the threat.
The lack of timely hitting now has the Phillies buried eight games off the pace in the mediocre NL East.
"The time has been now," Sandberg said. "For two or three weeks there's been no question about it. We had a good stretch there with a winning streak, but we weren't able to come home and continue. What we need to do now is go on the road where we play well and pick it up so we can have a road trip like we did on the last one."
The Phillies embark on a 10-game road trip beginning Tuesday with stops in Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee. Combined, those three clubs entered Sunday with a .533 winning percentage. The trip won't be easy as the Marlins have the most wins at home (25) of any National League team and the Brewers arguably are the second best team in baseball behind the Oakland Athletics.
History Made: Chase Utley collected his 1,500th career hit with single to center in the seventh. He now trails Granny Hamner by 18 hits for 10th most hits in Phillies franchise history.
Roster Move: Following Sunday's contest the Phillies traded Ronny Cedeno to Arizona for catcher Raywilly Gomez.
- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of the 2014 Phillies and baseball in the Philadelphia region.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor