Phillies lose third straight, fall to Brewers 9-1
MILWAUKEE - While a ballpark packed with blue-and-yellow-clad fans rested their Carlos Gomez bobbleheads neatly under their seats at Miller Park, Gomez brought them to their feet.
He swung at the first offering from Jonathan Pettibone in the sixth inning and launched his 11th home run of the year to left-center. The ball found a landing spot just below Bernie the Brewer's dugout, the mascot's little treehouse-like enclave where he hangs out until a Milwaukee player hits a home run.
As is his tradition, Bernie slid down his yellow slide as Gomez rounded the bases.
For the Phillies, this weekend at Bernie's was no laughing matter.
After extending a season-high winning streak to five games upon their arrival in town on Thursday, the Phils went on to lose three straight, with each loss more debilitating than the preceding one.
On Friday, the Phils lost in walkoff fashion thanks to a depleted bullpen. On Saturday, the offense was missing in action and the team's hot-hitting catcher, Erik Kratz, hurt a knee in the final inning and needed crutches to walk shortly thereafter.
Yesterday's defeat was an old-fashioned butt-kicking.
Pettibone was knocked around early and often while former Phillie Kyle Lohse took a shutout into the eighth inning as the Brewers beat up the Phils, 9-1.
"The sky is not falling," third baseman Michael Young said in defense of his team. "We had a little rough stretch here. We definitely didn't play our best baseball, without a doubt. We have to make a quick adjustment here on this road trip. At the same time, we know what we're capable of and we're going to focus on that."
Except the Phillies, who were beaten up by a Brewers team that had Phils castoff Yuniesky Betancourt batting fifth and lost Ryan Braun after the second inning with a thumb injury, haven't shown that capability through the season's first 10 weeks.
For every positive step they take forward, the Phils manage to follow that by taking two or three more steps in the other direction. At Miller Park during a weekend that began with the team playing its best baseball of the season, the Phils did the equivalent of running a race at your personal best only to fall on your face well before the finish line.
After rising above the .500 mark for the first time since October with Thursday's win, the Phillies (31-33) are once again a losing team.
"Slightly," Ryan Howard said, when asked if this weekend was a tough step back for a team that had momentum going into Friday. "You never want to lose three of four right now, but we have a chance to bounce back."
Following today's off day in the schedule, the Phillies will begin a three-game series at Target Field against the Minnesota Twins. They'll hope their bats will arrive in Minneapolis.
The Phils scored four runs in their final 23 innings in Milwaukee. Charlie Manuel's woeful offense has scored two runs or fewer in 22 of 64 games this season (34.4 percent).
They had a chance to break out early yesterday, when Young and Ben Revere began the game with back-to-back singles off Lohse. But after Jimmy Rollins fouled out to third, Howard singled to right and Milwaukee rightfielder Norichika Aoki gunned down Young at home.
Domonic Brown followed with an inning-ending comebacker to Lohse and the Phils failed to score a single run in the inning, despite three of the first four batters reaching via hit.
"Their guy made a perfect throw from rightfield," Young said. "I think the biggest thing for us is not always capitalizing, but just making sure we're getting guys out there. The thing that is most disappointing is we didn't get anybody out there after that. You want to have more opportunities."
Lohse sent the Phils down in order in the second. In the third, Pettibone led off with a walk. But Young followed by grounding into his 13th doubleplay of the season - only St. Louis' Matt Holliday has more - and the Phils went down quietly for the rest of the night.
After Pettibone's walk, Lohse retired 16 straight batters. His streak - and bid for a shutout - came to an end when third-string-catcher-turned-starter Humberto Quintero hit a two-out home run in the eighth, his first homer of the season.
"It was classic Kyle Lohse," Howard said. "He got ahead with first-pitch strikes, mixed it up, just had good placement on his pitches today. It was tough for us to capitalize on some situations."
Rollins, who has taken over the three-hole from the disabled Chase Utley, went 0-for-4. He has one extra-base hit in his last nine games.
Michael Young has one extra-base hit in his last 13 games.
Howard, meanwhile, is homerless in nine games in June and has just one in his last 103 plate appearances. It's the first time in Howard's career that he has hit just one home run in a span of 100 plate appearances or more.
The Phillies could have used a spark from one of their veteran bats on a day when their overachieving rookie pitcher struggled.
Pettibone pitched himself into an ugly second inning that paved the way for his worst start since joining the rotation 2 months ago. After making an error to open the inning, he allowed a single and then hit a batter to load the bases.
"That's a disaster waiting to happen," Pettibone said of the beginning of the inning.
After Juan Francisco followed by bringing home the game's first run on a ground out to first, eight-hole hitter Scooter Gennett hit a two-run triple to right-center to give the Brew Crew a 3-0 lead. Milwaukee was up 4-0 when the inning ended.
It was too large of a margin for the once-again futile Phils lineup.
"We just have to keep our heads up and keep going," Manuel said. "What the hell. That's all we can do. And actually, that's what we should do. We have to stay up and keep playing. We'll see if we can't take it out on Minnesota."
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21