Unable to hold lead, Phillies lose in 10
Mayberry, Feliz go-back-to-back, but 'pen woes continue
ATLANTA -- Jayson Werth stood at his locker and shook his head at how nicely Tuesday had set up for the Phillies.
They got back-to-back, two-out solo home runs in the eighth inning from John Mayberry Jr. and Pedro Feliz to take a one-run lead against the Braves at Turner Field. They had setup man Ryan Madson ready to go in the eighth and closer Brad Lidge ready to go in the ninth. But Lidge never pitched because the Phillies relinquished the lead in the eighth on their way to a 5-4 loss in 10 innings.
"I would have labeled this game if we'd have lost it as 'devastating,'" Braves third baseman Chipper Jones said.
Nobody in the visitors' clubhouse called the loss devastating, but it certainly hurt.
"We've been finding ways to lose games," Werth said. "We've got to turn this thing around and get back to playing the type of baseball that made us champs last year."
The Phillies have lost 12 of their past 16 games.
Any idea why this is still happening?
"Like I said, it seems like anything we can do to lose a game right now, we're doing it," Werth said. "Both sides of the ball. We're all right, though. We're still really good. I still feel like we're the best team in baseball. We've just to find a way to start winning games. We'll be all right."
Mayberry hit a pinch-hit solo home run to center field in the top of the eighth to tie the game at 3. It was his fourth homer in just 38 at-bats this season, and the first pinch-hit homer of his career.
It was a big hit for Mayberry, and not only because it tied the game. The 25-year-old rookie is trying to show the Phillies that he can handle a role on the bench. The club certainly could use a right-handed power bat like the one Mayberry provides, but it also likes his potential and thinks he could be better served playing every day in Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
But that is a decision that will be made another day.
The Phillies were just happy Mayberry tied it.
Pedro Feliz followed and hit a home run to left field to make it 4-3.
But Madson couldn't hold the lead. He issued a two-out walk to Gregor Blanco, who moved to second on his throwing error on a pickoff attempt at first base. Martin Prado then ripped a ball down the first-base line to score Blanco to tie the game.
Had Madson not allowed Blanco to reach second on the throwing error, Blanco would not have scored on the play.
It was Madson's third blown save in his last six appearances. He is 0-2 with a 9.53 ERA (six earned runs in 5 2/3 innings) in those appearances. He has allowed nine hits and seven walks in that span.
"We've been getting beat, and we never used to get beat late the last couple years," Manuel said.
The Braves scored a run in the 10th against right-hander Chan Ho Park to win it. It was the first time the Braves had beaten the Phillies at Turner Field since Sept. 5, 2007, a memorable loss because the Phils blew an 8-2 lead in the thick of a pennant race.
The Phillies won all nine games at Turner Field last season.
"It's good to get that off our backs," Braves manager Bobby Cox said.
"The difference in this game tonight and those games we beat them last year?" Manuel said. "Last year, we made the plays. We got the hits. Tonight, they made the plays and got the hits when they really needed them."
But it isn't just the Braves. The Phillies haven't been coming up with the big plays or big hits against anybody lately.
Werth believes it will turn around.
The Phillies hope it happens quickly. They hold just a 1 1/2-game lead over the Marlins in the National League East.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.