PHILADELPHIA — The Phillies did what have they have done best all season Saturday afternoon — deflate the hopes of their fans.
The Phillies couldn’t score the winning run from third base with no outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
They couldn’t score the winning run from third base with one out in the bottom of the 10th.
Philadelphia lost to the Chicago White Sox 5-4 in 11 innings before 41,562 fans in the first game of a day/night double header at Citizens Bank Park.
“I don’t have to tell you how many chances we had,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We had some golden chances. All we had to do was hit the ball. We didn’t do it.”
After the game, matters got worse for the Phillies. The team revealed that outfielder Ben Revere, who leads the club with a .305 average, broke his right foot when he fouled a ball off it.
Philadelphia won the second game of the day/night doubleheader 2-1 when Michael Young scored Jimmy Rollins with an RBI single in the bottom of the 13th inning. The doubleheader featured 24 innings and 712 pitches.
Philadelphia (47-48) is now 3-10 in games where it had a chance to even its record and two of those victories came in April. The Phillies trail the first-place Atlanta Braves by 7.5 games in the National League East.
“We’ve been playing well to get us the point (of reaching .500),” said Phillies starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone, who allowed three runs in six innings in the day game. “Now we have to get over that hump and stay over that hump.”
The Phillies inability to top .500 is a problem. It is hard to imagine a team contending for a playoff spot when it can’t put together a winning streak long enough to get above .500.
Saturday afternoon’s loss was especially disappointing because it came against the White Sox, who at 37-53 have the fourth worst record in baseball. Chicago had lost five of its last seven and 11 of its last 15 games before Saturday.
The Phillies squandered a 2-0 lead. They struggled for offense against White Sox starting pitcher John Danks, who began Saturday with an 0-5 record and a 6.43 ERA in five road starts this season.
The Phillies seemed headed for the type of dreary, lackluster game they have lost all too often this season, But the mood in Citizens Bank changed when Phillies first baseman Darin Ruf tied the game at three in the bottom of the seventh inning with a solo home run to center field.
That was the last Phillies highlight, however.
The ninth and 10th innings left fans shaking their heads.
After a 41-minute rain delay in the middle of the inning, the Phillies came to the plate with the scored tied in the bottom of the ninth.
Kevin Frandsen and Ruf (3-for-4 with two runs scored) began the inning with back-to-back singles and moved to third and second base, respectively, with no outs after Chicago reliever Nate Jones balked on a pickoff move. Fans were poised to celebrate the win.
“We need a ball hit there,” Manuel said. “We needed to make an infielder move or hit deep into the outfield.”
The next three Phillies hitters could not produce a run. Carlos Ruiz popped up to left field, Laynce Nix struck out and Revere lined out to right field.
The Phillies got the winning run to third base with one out in the bottom of the 10th inning. Again the fans stood and cheered anticipating victory.
But Delmon Young struck out and Frandsen grounded out to shortstop.
The strikeouts by Nix and Delmon Young were particularly vexing. Conventional baseball wisdom says that hitters with two strikes are suppose to shorten their swings to make contact and put the ball in play. Young and Nix didn’t do that.
“They don’t work on choking and poking,” Manuel said when asked about those at-bats. “They don’t cut their swing down. It’s what they’ve been doing their whole career.”
Manuel did point out that Hall of Fame hitter Ted Williams choked up with two strikes.
“If it’s good enough for Ted, it’s good enough for me,” Manuel said. “But you’re talking about different individuals.”
After the White Sox scored two runs in the top of the 11th to take a 5-3 lead, the Phillies teased their fans in the bottom of the inning. Ruf led off with a double and scored on Humberto Quintero’s one-out single to make it 5-4.
But as has usually been the case this season, disappointment followed.
Revere bounced into a game-ending double play. But the pitch before that Revere fouled the ball off his right foot, breaking his foot and making the Phillies chances of becoming legitimate contenders even more remote.
The only consolation for the Phillies was Saturday night's win. John Mayberry Jr. started in center field and he tied the game at one with a seventh inning home run.
The Phillies are now 6-3 on the 10-game homestand that will go a long way toward determining if they are legitimate playoff contenders. The homestand concludes at 1:35 p.m. today and the Phillies have another chance to reach the .500 mark.
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