Phillies shut down in Interleague finale
Howard collects club's lone RBI as Phils fall to Rangers
ARLINGTON -- Those emphatic waves from the Phillies' charter, as it departed Texas airspace Sunday were 25 players saying a hearty goodbye to the American League.After a 5-1 loss to the Rangers gave the Phillies the fewest wins against an AL opponent (4-11) in Interleague Play this year, they couldn't wait to get to Atlanta and return to the National League East, which they lead by one game over the Marlins. The Phils will recharge during an off-day Monday in Atlanta, then deal with their own division for 19 of the next 25 games.
"We haven't played too good against [the AL], but I don't think it would've made a difference who we played," manager Charlie Manuel said, not excusing his team for the tough competition. "We haven't won a series for a while. We definitely could've won some, but we haven't. It's the way we've been playing."Philadelphia entered Sunday's series finale on an offensive upswing, having scored 15 runs in the previous two games to match its total from the previous eight. Rangers rookie Eric Hurley rendered the Phillies' bats anemic, limiting them to one run over 5 2/3 innings. Relievers Jamey Wright, Eddie Guardado and C.J. Wilson handled the rest of the game. As they have in every game this series, the Rangers plated a first-inning run. Ian Kinsler tripled off Jamie Moyer and scored on a groundout. Kinsler battered the Phillies with a trio of three-hit games. Moyer, one of the bigger beneficiaries of run support, has been hurt by the recent offensive purge. The Phillies have scored a total of three runs in his previous three outings, and he has lost all three decisions. Still, as Moyer has done for five straight outings, the lefty allowed three or fewer runs. He went 5 2/3 innings, throwing a season-high 117 pitches. The Rangers scored one run in each of the first three frames, and added two more off Ryan Madson in the eighth. "As a team, you go through ups and downs over the course of the season," Moyer said. "You have to deal with it. A couple of weeks ago, we played very well. Currently, we haven't played as well and we're not winning games. Fortunately, we're still in first place. We'll find a way and go from here." Philadelphia understands it's a team built on offense, starting with Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins. In Interleague Play, the team batted just .220 and scored 57 runs against the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Angels, A's and Rangers. "There's room for improvement," Utley said. "We haven't been swinging the bats well." "We hit some balls good, but they made some good plays in the outfield," Manuel said. "They played good defense. We [also] had at-bats where we swung at first pitches low in the strike zone and got really anxious. Jamie pitched good enough to win, but we couldn't score." The Phillies remained in first place in large part because their NL rivals also struggled against the AL. Only three teams -- the Mets, Braves and Reds -- had winning records against the Junior Circuit. Manuel refused to use that as an excuse. "The AL definitely beat up on the NL teams, but at the same time in each series, the Red Sox series, the Angels series, the A's, there was at least one pitcher who pitched a great game against us," the skipper said. "We ran into some good pitching, but at the same time, we didn't hit at all."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.