As seen on Phillies Nation.
From the get-go, it was a game of good news and bad news. The good news: Chase Utley returned to the lineup after missing Saturday’s game with a bruised foot. The bad news: Shane Victorino (knee) and Ryan Madson were unavailable due to injuries.
Jimmy Rollins greeted Bud Norris with a lead-off home run. After Lance Berkman’s RBI single, Ben Francisco homered. The Phillies regained the lead, 2-1. Good news.
There was more good news. Cole Hamels carried in a 19 consecutive scoreless inning streak. All good things come to an end, and for Hamels his streak halted at 21.1 innings. In the fifth, the ‘Stros took a 3-2 lead on Carlos Lee’s two-run double. Miguel Tejada followed with a RBI double of own.
Hamels didn’t pitch poorly. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs on eight hits. Despite Michael Bourn’s blazing speed, Hamels did not get help from his defense. Twice, Hamels had Bourn picked off. Even with a strong throw from Ryan Howard, Rollins was unable to apply the tag. Bourn scored both times, proving costly for the Phillies.
A fan reached out and snagged Jayson Werth’s 31st home run of the year, putting the Phillies within one. The late rally wasn’t in them. Rollins popped up the offering from Jose Valverde. He immediately put his head down and trotted to first base. That summed up the Phillies struggles. Berkman squeezed his glove for the final out, securing the Astros third win of the series. In eight of their last ten games, the Phillies have scored three runs or less.
The Phillies homered three times, but they were each solo shots. Their troubles have been with runners in scoring position, but they had only one runner beyond first base. While every bleeder fell the Astros way, the Phillies couldn’t find any holes.
The bad news was that the Phillies lost 4-3. However, the good news is that their magic number decreases to 21 thanks to Ryan Zimmerman’s walk-off home run against the Florida Marlins. So take the good news with the bad.