Lance Berkman slides into home safely, avoiding Dane Sardinha's lazy tag in the 4th inning. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
The end was inevitable as it unfolded before our eyes.
Danys Baez loaded the bases and got one out in the bottom of the 9th before being replaced by J.C. Romero. But with Lance Berkman’s RBI single, the Cards pulled off the two-game sweep with a 2-1 win.
The loss extended the Phillies’ losing streak to four games. In their 16 losses this season, they have scored three or fewer runs in 14 games.
There were a lot of encouraging signs for Roy Oswalt, who made his first start since April 26. He was on a strict leash, getting yanked after five innings and 76 pitches. He allowed only one run on seven hits and a walk while striking out three.
Oswalt only drew four swinging-and-miss strikes. But I think that was more of a testament on location and movement rather than velocity, the big concern heading into the game. His fastball was hitting 92-94 MPH, an encouraging sign.
The Phillies squandered opportunity after opportunity until the 8th. Jimmy Rollins got on base thanks to an error by second baseman Tyler Greene and then made it to third on a Michael Martinez base hit.
With runners in scoring position and no outs, Placido Polanco hit a sacrifice to score Rollins, tying the game at one. But that was all they would get in the inning.
With that, they blew their come back. An inning later, the rally’s wheels fell off.
Baez gave up a weak single to Ryan Theriot that glanced off Pete Orr’s glove. Jon Jay then singled and Albert Pujols blooped a ball into right to load the bases. After Matt Holliday grounded into a force out at home, Berkman ended the game with a single off Romero.
The Phils managed five hits total in the game. Ryan Howard, who destroys the Cardinals in St. Louis, went 0-for-4 with three strike outs, partly due to Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia.
Garcia was fantastic in the win, allowing an unearned run on five hits and a walk while striking out five.
In other news, Phillies reliever Michael Stutes left in the 6th after throwing only three pitches. He suffered a strain to his right side. If you’re looking for any silver lining, it was not an arm injury.
2B: Valdez (6).
WP: Salas (2-0). LP: Baez (1-2).