Aaron Harang turned in another solid start against the Colorado Rockies Saturday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, but it wasn’t enough to halt the Phillies’ losing streak in the 5-2 defeat.
The Phils’ pitcher gave up a pair of solo homers in the second inning and the offense sputtered against right-hander Eddie Butler as they dropped their sixth game in a row.
The loss dropped Harang to 4-5 and the Phillies to 19-32.
Starting pitching report
Harang turned in his league-leading 10th quality start of the season, holding the Rockies to two runs — both solo homers — on four hits with no walks and seven strikeouts in six innings. Still, two runs were enough to raise his ERA to 2.02.
Harang threw 15 first-pitch strikes to 23 hitters and had three 1-2-3 innings. However, the two solo shots equaled the total number of homers Harang has allowed this season.
The Rockies’ Butler allowed a run in the first, but allowed just three base runners — two singles and a walk — through his final five innings.
Luis Garcia, Jake Diekman and Justin De Fratus each recorded an out in the seventh inning. Garcia, however, was charged with a pair of runs, one of which came on Ben Paulsen’s second homer against the pitcher in as many days.
Ken Giles allowed a run on two hits in the eighth. Jeanmar Gomez faced four batters in a scoreless ninth.
At the plate
The Phillies rallied in the ninth by bringing up the tying run with no outs after back-to-back singles from Cody Asche and Jeff Francoeur. But Rockies’ closer John Axford retired the final three hitters as the Phillies went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position over the final two innings.
The Phillies’ lone run came in the first inning when Chase Utley beat out an infield single before Ryan Howard lined a two-out double to the corner in right.
Utley also drew a walk in the third inning for the team’s first since Tuesday.
Cesar Hernandez belted a pinch homer to lead off the eighth for the Phils’ second run. Not only was it Hernandez’s first pinch-hit homer of his career, but also his first of the season.
Hernandez’s homer also ended the Phillies’ weeklong, 57-inning homerless skid. The last homer came Saturday in Washington when Howard hit one in the fifth inning.
Later in the eighth, the Phillies brought the tying run to the plate twice, but could get no closer.
The Rockies got solo homers from Paulsen in the seventh and a pair in the second from Nolan Arenado and Michael McKenry. In the eighth inning Arenado picked up another RBI when he drove in Troy Tulowitzki, who led off the inning with a long double.
In the field
Maikel Franco and Freddy Galvis continue to impress on the left side of the infield with soft hands and great instincts. Franco made a long run in foul territory to make a slick, over-the-shoulder grab in the second inning.
In the seventh, Galvis nearly turned an improbable inning-ending double play when he dived to snag a hot shot from Charlie Blackmon and flipped the ball to second baseman Chase Utley while rolling onto his back.
The series concludes Sunday afternoon when Jerome Williams (3-4, 5.33) takes on right-hander Jordan Lyles (2-5, 5.10). Williams faced the Rockies on May 21 where he gave up five runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings in a 7-3 loss.
Williams has been charged with at least three runs in nine of his last 10 starts and tossed more than six innings just once during that span.
Lyles took the loss against the Phillies on May 18 when he allowed four runs on seven hits and a pair of walks in six innings.
Following Sunday’s game and a day off on Monday, the Phillies open a three-game series against the Reds at Citizens Bank Park.