The Phillies, throwing Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in a four-game series with the Pirates, ended up losing three of four to Pittsburgh after falling on Thursday, 6-4. The Phillies finished 3-5 in their eight-game homestand.
Thursday featured another Lee start with not a whole lot of run support. Granted, the Phillies did give Lee a pair of leads that he could not hold, which led to a second straight stomach-churning loss to the Pirates.
Handed a 3-1 advantage in the seventh inning, Lee walked his first batter of the day and it was costly. With two outs, Andrew McCutchen singled before Gaby Sanchez -- who homered earlier -- singled for his second RBI to make it 3-2 and force Lee into a first-and-third pickle.
Charlie Manuel then came out to speak with Lee. Manuel had Phillippe Aumont warming in the bullpen, but decided to stick with his lefty. Lee jumped out to an 0-2 count, but Michael McKenry served a bloop single to center to knot the score.
Aumont relieved Lee in the eighth and failed to keep the game tied. In succession, Aumont hit a batter, allowed two singles to load the bases before pinch-hitter Garrett Jones took the air out of Citizens Bank Park with a two-run double to give the Pirates the game and the series. Pittsburgh tacked on one more run in the eighth with a sac fly.
Heading into Wednesday night, the Phillies were 6-0 when leading after the sixth inning. Now? 6-2.
Before the unraveling of Lee and Aumont, Ryan Howard, who was hitting 2 for 17 (.118) with runners in scoring position, came up in the sixth with two in scoring position and put the Phillies ahead with an RBI single. Later in the inning, Domonic Brown plated Howard from third with a sac fly to center field. Previously, Brown was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts when hitting with a man on third and less than two outs.
That 3-1 lead, though, quickly evaporated.
The Phillies have now scored three runs in Lee's last 23 innings pitched. Lee finished with seven innings pitched, 10 hits, three earned runs, 122 pitches and a critical walk.
Amazingly, Pittsburgh won the four-game set despite its star outfielder McCutchen going 1 for 15.
The Phillies are now a season-worst five games below .500 (9-14) and head to New York for their first visit to Citi Field this season to take on the Mets. Here are the probable pitching matchups for the weekend series.
Friday -- Kyle Kendrick (1-1, 3.28) vs. Dilon Gee (1-3, 5.95)
Saturday -- Jonathan Pettibone (0-0, 3.38) vs. Shaun Marcum (first start)
Sunday -- Cole Hamels (0-3, 5.40) vs. Jonathon Niese (2-1, 3.81)