A.J. Burnett's post-break swoon continues

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Phillies starting pitcher A.J. Burnett. (Kathy Kmonicek/AP)

NEW YORK - A.J. Burnett remained positive despite continuing his post-all-star-break swoon. The Phillies righthander allowed five earned runs in six innings Sunday in a 6-5 loss to the New York Mets at Citi Field.

It was his major-league- high seventh loss after the all-star break. In nine starts since the break, he has a 5.85 ERA.

Burnett thought he was done in by one mistake, a hanging curve ball that Anthony Recker leveled for a three-run homer in the sixth inning.

Control-wise, this was one of his better outings. Burnett walked just one while striking out eight.

It was the second straight game in which he allowed one walk. He was coming off a 3-2 win Monday over Washington.

"You take away that pitch and it's all right," Burnett said. ". . . Everything was there except that hanger."

Asche's take

Over the weekend manager Ryne Sandberg said that third baseman Cody Asche wouldn't be working at a new position when the roster expands for September.

Even with the potential arrival of highly touted Lehigh Valley third baseman Maikel Franco, Sandberg said that Asche is staying at third.

This is no surprise to Asche.

"As far as I am concerned, until somebody approaches me, I am a third baseman," he said before Sunday's loss. "I think the media is the one that has driven that talk."

Asche insists it isn't something he has dwelled on.

"Until I have a conversation with someone in the organization I will continue to work at third base and continue to be the best third baseman I can be," he said.

Looking to September

After the last two injured-plagued seasons in which he appeared in a total of 151 games, Ryan Howard is looking to finish the final month strong. He has appeared in 129 games this season.

"I am trying make it through an entire season, first and foremost," said Howard, who hit his 20th home run Sunday. "And the body has been holding up well, and that's been the key, trying to go out there and finish the season and do what I can to help get some wins on the board."

Marquis released

The Phillies released righthander Jason Marquis, who was attempting to get back to the majors while pitching at Lehigh Valley. Marquis underwent Tommy John surgery in July 2013. He signed a minor-league deal with the Phils in June.

The 36-year-old Marquis, who made 309 career starts in the majors, was 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA in 462/3 innings for the IronPigs.

Marquis was slowed for a few weeks with an oblique injury. He last pitched for the IronPigs on Friday in a 6-5 win over Scranton. The righthander allowed eight hits and five earned runs in six innings to earn the win.

Marquis was one experiment that didn't work, but so far the signing of Jerome Williams has proven beneficial.

After Saturday's 7-2 win over the New York Mets, Williams is 3-0 with a 2.02 ERA in four starts with the Phillies.

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