Phillies Bats Disappear Again


6. 3. 3. Final. 2

The Phillies (11-19), with one of the handful of worst hitting and scoring offenses in all of baseball, lived down to that record tonight in a 3-2 loss to the New York Mets (18-11) at Citizens Bank Park.

Aaron Harang (3-2) didn’t pitch poorly, allowing 3 runs, 2 of them earned, in 7 innings pitched. He allowed 8 hits and a walk, striking out two. But he was outpitched by Mets starter Jonathan Niese (3-3) who allowed just 5 hits and a walk in his own 7 innings, striking out 6 and allowing a pair of unearned runs.

Phils manager Ryne Sandberg was appreciative of his starter’s effort: “Harang was outstanding, one high fastball that he’d like to have back. Everything else was down at the knees and quality.

New York drew first blood in the top of the 5th when Ruben Tejada led off with a double, went to 3rd on a sacrifice bunt by Niese, and scored on an error by Phils’ 2nd baseman Cesar Hernandez.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The Phillies took the lead with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the 6th. Ben Revere led off by reaching on an error, stole 2nd, and went to 3rd on a base hit by Darin Ruf. Jeff Francoeur followed with a sac fly to right to score Revere. Hernandez then singled and Carlos Ruiz doubled to score Ruf, putting the Phils up 2-1.

The game’s first of two big moments then came in the top of the 7th. Mets skipper Terry Collins chose to leave Niese in to hit for himself leading off the inning, and the pitcher delivered with a base hit to right. One out later, Niese scored ahead of a clutch 2-run homer off the bat of Juan Lagares, and the Mets were back on top 3-2.

The Phils escaped trouble thanks to an inning-ending double play in the top of the 8th, and the game moved to the 2nd pivotal late innings moment as the Phillies came to bat in the bottom of the 8th.

Freddy Galvis stayed red-hot on the season by leading off with a double, putting the tying run in scoring position. Galvis moved over to 3rd when Ruf grounded out, and the tying run was 90 feet away with less than two outs.

After walks to Grady Sizemore and Hernandez loaded the bases, Ruiz came to the plate. It was a difficult decision for Sandberg, but he chose to stay with Chooch rather than pinch-hit with Chase Utley. The Phils skipper believed his catcher could deliver positive contact. Ruiz delivered contact, but there was nothing positive about it as he grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 doubleplay.

Utley got his chance in the bottom of the 9th, singling with one out. But then Ryan Howard just missed one, driving a deep fly out to center field, and Revere grounded weakly to 1st base to end it.

The Phillies fell to 11-20 on the year in scoring 2 runs of fewer for the 15th time in their 31 games. The victory for the Mets kept New York 3 1/2 games up in the NL East race over suddenly hot Washington.

The two clubs will meet in the series finale tomorrow afternoon in a 1:35pm Mother’s Day game. Chad Billingsley will make his 2nd start for the Phillies. He’ll be opposed by Bartolo Colon, moving up in the rotation due to an injury to previously scheduled starter Dillon Gee.