PHILADELPHIA — Phillies fans voiced their displeasure at their slumping team Sunday night, and the frustration of losing appears to be seeping into the clubhouse, as well.
Chris Johnson drove in two runs and Alex Wood pitched six strong innings to lead the Atlanta Braves to their 10th straight victory, 4-1 over the Phillies.
Philadelphia managed just four hits while dropping its fifth straight and 13th in the last 14. The Phillies have just 33 runs in their last 14 outings.
"We don't expect to play the way we have," Phillies left-hander Cliff Lee said, "and nobody feels good about it that I know of."
That much could be learned from the stands during the game and the clubhouse afterward.
The home fans greeted closer Jonathan Papelbon with boos when he entered in the ninth. Papelbon pitched a scoreless frame. The loudest boos were targeted at Delmon Young after he struck out for the fourth time in the ninth inning.
Afterward, both manager Charlie Manuel and Lee questioned the Phillies' intensity level.
"You've got to show more hungriness when you're hitting," Manuel said. "I don't see no getting after at-bats. Looks like we take it very casual. We say, 'We'll get 'em next time.' No, that's not good enough.
"At times, we definitely get out-talented, but that doesn't give you any reason why you can't concentrate, stay focused on your at-bats and play the game right."
Lee (10-5) matched his shortest outing of the season while continuing his recent struggles. The left-hander gave up four runs — three earned — on eight hits in five innings to lose for the third consecutive start. Lee, who last pitched on July 21 and had his last turn in the rotation skipped due to a stiff neck, has a 6.00 ERA during his losing streak.
Lee said the Phillies need to play with more energy.
"Not much you can find that's good about the way we've played the last couple of weeks," he said. "We're getting outplayed all the way around.
"We've got to have more pride, more fire and play better fundamental baseball. Period. If we do that, we'll turn it around."
"Everybody is different, that's my take on what I see," Lee added. "We need more drive, more spark and energy and play better fundamental baseball. That's the recipe for success. I don't care what team it is, or what level. That's what it takes. When we start doing that, we'll play better."
Manuel seemed particularly perturbed that Philadelphia batters were unable to make solid contact off Wood and three Braves relievers.
"It's getting real tough," he said. "We squared up, what three balls, four balls, in nine innings? We had all of our right-hand hitters and the guy had a good angle for them to see the ball. We got to stop this somewhere."
"You have to be concentrating on staying focused and playing the game right," Manuel added.
Wood (2-2) allowed one run and two hits in his fourth major league start. The unorthodox 22-year-old rookie left-hander, who configures his body in an unusual way during his delivery, struck out three and walked two.
"(Braves catcher Brian McCann) and I had a good game plan, just attack and make good pitches," Wood said. "I didn't want to be the one who lost the streak."
Johnson, who entered leading the league in batting, hit a two-run single in the first to stake the Braves to an early lead. Justin Upton and B.J. Upton each had two hits with a double apiece for Atlanta, which matched its season-best winning streak.
"Our offense got us going," Wood said. "To get two runs before I got out there, you feel like you have a little room to work with."
The Braves, who surged to a 12 ½-game lead over Washington in the NL East, scored a pair of runs in the first inning on Johnson's two-run single. After the Phillies got a run back in the third on Michael Young's groundout, RBI hits by Jason Heyward and Justin Upton in the fourth pushed Atlanta's lead to 4-1. Upton's double extended his hitting streak to nine games.
Craig Kimbrel pitched a scoreless ninth for his NL-leading 34th save in 37 chances.
Notes: The Braves also won 10 straight games from April 5-16. ... The Phillies have lost five straight series. ... Darin Ruf extended his streak to 32 straight games reaching base safely with a fourth-inning single. Ruf also singled in the ninth. ... After an off day today, the Phillies host Chicago for a three-game series beginning at 7:05 Tuesday night when right-hander Kyle Kendrick (9-8, 4.29 ERA) opposes Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson (7-11, 4.65). ... Braves lefty Mike Minor (11-5, 2.75) faces Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg (5-9, 3.04) at 7:05 tonight when the teams begin a three-game series in Washington.