PHOENIX -- The five-run rally in the ninth inning, highlighted by their first non-solo home run of the season, created a little excitement and, for a few fleeting moments, was fun to watch. But in the end, it was just camouflage for arguably the ugliest loss of the season.
The Phils have lost three straight games to fall to 7-10 on the young season.
Thats three in a row we havent played too good, manager Charlie Manuel said.
Until the ninth inning, the Phillies had been outscored 20-2 over a three-game stretch.
With Chase Utley and Ryan Howard on the disabled list, the Phils have played shorthanded all season. Monday night things got worse as Hunter Pence had to sit out with a sore left shoulder. Even with Pence, the Phils offense has been weak, but without their top RBI man (at the start of the night) the starting lineup was flaccid.
Thats our middle of the order hitter, Manuel said. When we set up with Utley, Howard and Pence, we can come up with some good lineups. But thats a would-be. Right now weve got to survive and put up some runs.
Manuel took some positives out of the Phils five-run rally in the ninth. It was led by Shane Victorino, whose three-run homer was the Phils first longball with a man on base in 2012. (It only took 17 games.) Carlos Ruiz also homered off ineffective Arizona lefty Joe Patterson before Craig Breslow came on and ended the night.
It was better for us to score those runs, Manuel said. It was a morale booster. It showed we stayed on them.
It was the first time weve hit balls hard in a few days, the first time in a while Ive seen us hit balls hard. We havent hit balls hard enough to score runs. Id rather see us go out that way than 1-2-3.
While the Phils late rally created some excitement, there are no moral victories for a team with a 175 million payroll. Maybe there are for a rebuilding club with no expectations. But not for this club. This club needs to play better, regardless of how many injuries it has.
The ninth-inning rally might have mattered if spot starter Kendrick hadnt dug such a big hole. Filling in for injured Cliff Lee, Kendrick was bombed for 11 hits and seven runs while failing to get an out in the fourth inning. Ordinarily, Manuel would have gotten his starting pitcher out of the game sooner, but Kendrick had to eat some innings so the bullpen wouldnt get worn out.
It looked to me like he had a lot of trouble throwing strikes, Manuel said. He got behind in a lot of counts.
Kendrick gave up five extra-base hits.
I threw too many balls down the middle, he said. Thats whats going to happen when you do that. Too many balls down the middle. Thats all I can. They swung the bats well. But I wasnt very good.
Arizona was in the same boat as the Phillies were. They had to use a spot starter in place of Daniel Hudson. Lefty Wade Miley responded by holding the Phils to just two hits over six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.
The Phillies had just three hits though seven innings. They struck out eight times for the game. Thats 19 in the last two.
Things are going badly for this club. Dont be fooled by the ninth-inning rally. They went badly again Monday night.