Twenty-three games into the second half, and the Phillies are still without consecutive wins.
On Tuesday night, the Phils had a chance to notch back-to-back wins for the first time since July 13-14, but they instead took another second-half loss, 3-1, to the Braves.
The loss pushes the Phillies back to a season-worst 13 games below .500 (53-66) and drops them to 5-18 since the All-Star break.
Atlanta drew first blood, thanks to a two-out RBI double from pitcher Kris Medlen. The Braves’ starter stroked a liner to right field in which Darin Ruf showed his inexperience playing the position. Ruf initially broke in and was too late in retreat, allowing the ball to sail over his head and Tyler Pastornicky to score all the way from first base.
The NL’s leading hitter Chris Johnson (.337) added to Atlanta’s lead with a two-run home run off Ethan Martin in the third. The long ball came on a 2-1 pitch and bounced off the top of the left field fence and into the stands.
Tuesday wasn’t the cleanest of games for the Phillies. Casper Wells, getting the start in center field, also misjudged a fly ball that dropped for a single, while Ruf made another blunder, this one on the bases, getting doubled up at first base on a line-drive out to third in the seventh inning.
Martin was OK, throwing three-run ball through five innings and striking out six. The Phillies’ bullpen kept the Braves scoreless the rest of the way, but Charlie Manuel’s lineup went into hibernation after a couple of singles in the opening frame. Medlen retired 15 straight batters at one point and went seven innings, giving up just one run before handing the ball to a pair of relievers (David Carpenter, Craig Kimbrel) with ERAs in the ones to close things out.
Chase Utley totaled half of the Phils’ offense with three of the team’s six hits. Utley’s average is up to .286 after being at .269 on Aug. 4.
However, his night went for naught as the Phillies' second-half losses continue to pile.
The Phils look to avoid their seventh series defeat of the second half when John Lannan (3-5, 4.81) takes on Atlanta righty Brandon Beachy (1-0, 5.00) in the series rubber match Wednesday night.