Another futile effort with runners on base gave the Phillies their fifth straight loss and dropped them to 49-53. They were again unable to make up ground on the Braves, who lost but remain eight games ahead of the pack in the NL East.
This is the 25th time this season the Phillies have ended a night at least four games under .500. It's their second five-game losing streak, and both skids followed the only two times this season they had gone over .500.
Surprisingly, it's just the second time all season they've been swept in a three-game series. You have to go all the way back to April 15-17 in Cincinnati for the other.
The Phillies were 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position in Thursday's 3-1 loss. They're 4-for-33 in such situations since the 13-run explosion last Friday at Citi Field. It might not have stood out as much if the Phillies weren't playing the Cardinals, who entered the series finale hitting .340 with runners in scoring position -- 28 points higher than the major-league team record and higher than all but 10 individual players in baseball.
Lance Lynn dominated the Phils for the second time this season. On April 20 he allowed one hit over seven shutout innings, and on this night he gave up a lone run over seven innings. He did allow five hits and four walks, but made pitches when he needed to and had three double plays turned behind him.
Kyle Kendrick turned in a quality start but couldn't navigate through the third inning unharmed when eighth batter Pete Kozma started the frame with a single and scored the first of three Cardinals runs.
The Phillies now head to Detroit with their tail tucked firmly between their legs. This team just has no power without Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard, and no one (not even Steve Susdorf) can change that single-handedly.
This was actually the second-best-case scenario for the week. If the Phillies were going to flop on this road trip you wanted it to be emphatic with the trade deadline looming. Even if signs point toward a Chase Utley extension, Ruben Amaro Jr. seems like he's being realistic with selling off other pieces.
As far as that afternoon report from Jon Heyman that the Phillies are close to acquiring Chris Dickerson of the Orioles, it's been summarily rejected by Amaro. And even if it were to take place, that's more of a stay-afloat trade than a deal that would strip the Phils of any young talent.
Cole Hamels takes on Doug Fister tomorrow night at Comerica Park. Miguel Cabrera has sat out three straight games with a sore hip flexor. The Phils might luck out and miss him, but even if they do they'll have to deal with a red-hot Torii Hunter and Victor Martinez as well as Prince Fielder.