PHILADELPHIA – With a 2-12 record since the All Star break, defeats have become so common that the Phillies must devise new ways to lose.
On Saturday, defeat took four hours and 10 minutes with the winning run scoring on a fielder's choice.
The Atlanta Braves beat the Phillies 5-4 in 12 innings before 41,164 fans at Citizens Bank Park. Atlanta won despite not producing a hit in extra innings.
"When you play 12 innings of baseball and you don't do a lot of hitting and there's not a lot of action, the game looks slow," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "But our effort was definitely there. It (the defeat) wasn't from a lack of effort. We just didn't get it done."
The numbers marking Philadelphia's downward spiral are alarming.
Philadelphia has lost four straight and 12 of its last 13 games. The Phillies (50-60) trail the first-place Braves (66-45) by 15.5 games in the National League East.
"Anytime you're losing it's going to affect the clubhouse," said pitcher John Lannan, who started Saturday and threw 4.1 innings. "Losing is not fun. But you can sense the guys are not giving up. You have to keep on going. We haven't caught any good breaks."
Some extra-inning games are filled with drama. That was not the case Saturday.
Phillies reliever Jake Diekman pitched a scoreless 11th inning but then became his own worse enemy.
He walked the bases loaded with one out in the top of the 12th inning. The crowd groaned with each ball.
Manuel brought in Justin DeFratus to pitch. He got Dan Uggla to ground to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who flipped to Chase Utley for a force play at second. But Utley's relay throw pulled first baseman Kevin Frandsen off the base, allowing the winning run to score.
The Phillies trailed 4-3 heading to the bottom of the seventh inning. Jimmy Rollins tied the game in that inning with an RBI double.
But the Phillies were 1-for-15 after that inning.
The Phillies did manage to tease their fans with some long outs. Delmon Young hit a fly ball to the 401-foot sign in center field in the bottom of the ninth inning. Frandsen lined a ball to the left center field wall in the bottom of the 10th.
"It seemed like everything either stayed in the yard or they caught it," Manuel said. "I felt like we played hard. We just couldn't get a (run) across."
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