Phils' scoreless drought hits 23 innings
Bats unable to break through as club falls to Pirates in extras
PHILADELPHIA -- Shane Victorino blazed toward second base, knowing his speed would bring him home quickly with the tying run of an eventual come-from-behind win.Then there's Brandon Moss. Jason Bay's replacement in left field had other plans. Making an all-out dive, Moss snatched the ball from the grass before it landed, scampered to his feet and easily doubled off Victorino at first base. When the ball completed its flight into Doug Mientkiewicz's glove, the Phillies' lead in the National League East had shrunk to a game after their 2-0 loss to the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park on Friday. "It was like it was meant for us not to score," manager Charlie Manuel said, trying to digest the loss. "[Chase] Utley hit that last ball real good." Utley fouled off five straight pitches off new Pirates closer Craig Hansen. The first two ran the count to 0-2, and the last three kept him alive. In left field, Moss stirred. "I was like, 'Just miss one, goodness gracious.' But that's not going to happen too often," Moss said. The ball and the result -- a painful loss -- symbolized the Phillies' offensive frustrations. Victorino -- who had been running full speed instead of waiting to ensure that the ball drop -- getting doubled off was fitting of a common aggressive mistake. "You say, 'I'm going to score' and you don't think about the reality of what happens if he catches the ball," Jimmy Rollins said. "They made a great play, bottom line. Here we are not scoring and that close to tying the game up with possibly a runner on third, but they made a great play." "I don't want to talk about it," Victorino said. There isn't much to talk about an offense that has stalled to hit .192 in seven August games, so it seemed inevitable that it wouldn't recover the deficit caused when Les Walrond coughed up two runs in the 12th. Serving as the fifth pitcher, Walrond surrendered a double to Ryan Doumit, who went to third on a groundout, and scored on Steve Pearce's double down the left-field line. Clay Condrey relieved and allowed an insurance run on two infield singles. The Phillies left 13 men on base in 12 innings and reached a new low in futility, wasting a fine effort from Joe Blanton, who allowed one hit in seven innings. The team hasn't scored a run in 23 innings, its longest drought since a 24-inning outage from Sept. 1-3, 2000. Philadelphia was also shut out for the second straight night, a feat last recorded on Sept. 11-12, 1999. According to Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org, Friday marked the Phillies' longest home shutout loss by innings since at least 1956, besting an 11-inning, 5-0 loss to St. Louis in September 1980. Making it worse, the Mets beat the Marlins, leaping over Florida into second place and pulling within one game of the Phillies for the NL East lead. With 47 games remaining, Philadelphia, New York and Florida are separated by 1 1/2 games. The Phillies continue to cling to the lead. "We've been on the other side, where we were always down looking up, trying to win a game to stay a game back," Rollins said, referring to last season. "We're on the other side of that. We're still in first place. We have to keep looking forward. We dropped one tonight, but we have to keep looking forward."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.