Phillies fall in 11th to Braves

 Posted by at 12:39 pm
Jul 072010

July 7 Philadelphia Inquirer

“The game was lost in the 11th inning when two rarely used Phillies relievers were put in a tight situation. The starter, Cole Hamels, had allowed a home run in the seventh to give Atlanta a lead.

None of that mattered to Charlie Manuel after Tuesday’s 6-3 loss to first-place Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park. In 11 innings, the Phillies had a mere three hits against seven Braves pitchers.

And in the seventh, with no one out, Ryan Howard tripled to tie the game. He was stranded on third.

“We have to score there,” Manuel said. “You have a man on third and nobody out, you have to score. Period. First inning, second inning, third inning, fourth inning, it doesn’t matter. Ninth inning, 15th inning, 20th inning, it doesn’t matter. You have to score.”

The good feelings from Monday’s series-opening win by the Phillies were washed away. They trail the Braves by five games again with one final game left Wednesday to decide the series. The Braves won Tuesday in their last at-bat, the major-league-leading 16th time they’ve done that in 2010.

The seventh inning was the key.

Jayson Werth followed Howard and watched five pitches from new Braves pitcher Peter Moylan go by. He struck out without swinging the bat. After the game, Werth took two questions from reporters and responded with one-word answers before storming out of the clubhouse.

Pinch-hitter Ben Francisco flied out for the second out against Jonny Venters. Wilson Valdez grounded out to second to end the inning.

“After that, we didn’t generate nothing,” Manuel said.

It put the onus on a depleted bullpen.

In the first half of the 2010 season, the Phillies had 12 players spend time on the disabled list. No area was hit harder than the bullpen – five relievers missed time.

It’s safe to say the Phillies never envisioned this scenario: Rule 5 pick David Herndon pitching in the extra innings of a tie game against the Braves. But having already used Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero, and Brad Lidge, Manuel was out of trusted options.

Chad Durbin, Ryan Madson, and Antonio Bastardo are on the disabled list.

Herndon was terrific in the 10th, retiring the Braves in order on just six pitches. In the 11th, he allowed a leadoff single to struggling Atlanta shortstop Yuniel Escobar. He came home on a Matt Diaz double to the gap in right.”

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