Phils' bullpen struggles in tough defeat
Gordon, Myers give up costly late homers against Padres
PHILADELPHIA -- The meeting lasted less than 15 minutes.During it, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and veterans Aaron Rowand and Jimmy Rollins spoke about the club's situation for the final 35 games. As sour as Friday's 14-3 defeat was, Saturday brought a new day, with a perfect blue sky and a clean slate for the Phils.
"We're teetering on the fence," Rowand said. "There's no doubt about that. It's either make a run, make this interesting and go to the postseason or pack up go home in early October. Nobody in here wants to do that. It's go time."Go time will have to wait until Sunday, following a crushing 4-3 defeat to the Padres on Saturday night at Citizens Bank Park. This one especially hurt, as Philadelphia squandered a well-pitched game from Kyle Lohse when relievers Tom Gordon and Brett Myers surrendered three home runs in the eighth and ninth innings. Kevin Kouzmanoff and Terrmel Sledge quickly quieted the 37,957 fans at Citizens Bank Park, delivering ninth-inning homers, though Myers didn't agree with either call. "I wanted to win that game. I lost on two popups," Myers said. "Sledge didn't even know where the ball went and it lands in the flower bed. What are you going to do? I fell behind and threw him a fastball in a good spot, good location. Popups go straight out of here." Criticism of the park aside, Myers (2-5) couldn't get his team to the dugout with a tie score. Already frustrated at having given up home runs on balls he felt were fly balls, Myers lashed out when a reporter questioned that contention, offering that Kouzmanoff's ball was well hit. Myers didn't appreciate it and he and the writer exchanged words, with Myers having to be restrained by teammates Pat Burrell and Antonio Alfonseca. If nothing else, Myers' outburst shines a spotlight on the team's mood after losing ground in the National League East (seven games behind the Mets) and in the NL Wild Card standings (four games behind the Padres). Both teams were still buzzing after Friday's game, which featured a bench-clearing discussion prompted by Carlos Ruiz's high slide into second base -- eventually leading to Marcus Giles being placed on the 15-day disabled list. With an offense that has scored three or fewer runs in the past four games, the Phillies led, 2-1, in the seventh inning behind Lohse's four-hitter on an 89-degree night. Lohse retired the first two hitters of the seventh before walking Geoff Blum. Not wanting a repeat of Sunday, when Lohse melted down at the same point against the Pirates, Manuel lifted his starter after 84 pitches. J.C. Romero allowed a hit to pinch-hitter Craig Stansberry, but escaped the jam by getting Brian Giles to pop out. Gordon surrendered the game-tying home run to Milton Bradley, who taunted the fans as he did after Friday's two-homer performance. "We can't take any nights off," Lohse said. "We're trailing everybody. This is the homestand where we have to get something done. We've got time, but you don't want to sit there and keep saying that, because things will fall through your hands. We still have to play with some sense of urgency, but not panic." Or, as Manuel put it, regarding Sunday's series finale: "We definitely have to win that game."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.