By Dan Majka
SAN DIEGO (CBS) — It wasn’t Justin Verlander, Clayton Kershaw, or even Cy Young himself on the mound, yet for the second straight game the Phillies found their bats stymied by the Padres’ average, at best, starting pitcher.
Right-hander Anthony Bass (1-2) held the Phillies offense to just one unearned run over six innings, leading San Diego to a 6-1 win over Philadelphia on Sunday, and notching his first win of the season in the process.
Much like the previous game against Cory Luebke, the Phillies were unable to generate anything offensively, and the sloppy play in the field on Sunday only helped compound the problem.
“The last two nights were just bad games,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “Today, it got a little bit sloppier. It’s been a while since we played this bad. I look at it like this is a test. It’s a test for the coaching staff, the manager and the players. I see guys who are trying too hard. They just need to relax and play like we can.”
The Phillies had a chance to get to Bass early. Juan Pierre led off the game with a walk, but he was immediately picked off of first base. Three batters later, with Shane Victorino on third base, Jimmy Rollins on first and the Padres conceding a run, an anxious Hunter Pence rolled over on a 2-0 pitch, bouncing out to third base, the one spot on the infield that would prevent Victorino from scoring. Bass put an end to the Phillies threat by striking out Jim Thome who failed to catch up to a 91 mph fastball. Just like that, inning over; no damage done. A pair of walks, a Padres error and a great opportunity wasted.
In the bottom half of the inning, San Diego made sure to capitalize on the Phillies’ mistakes. Will Venable reached base on a bunt single, and then Phils’ starter Joe Blanton botched a sure double-play ball off the bat of Mark Kotsay. With the first two batters on, Chase Headley hit a line drive to right field that Pence played into an RBI double, and Nick Hundley drove in a run on a sacrifice fly, giving the Padres a 2-0 lead. It turned out to be all they needed on this day.
The Phillies lone run came in the top of the second when catcher Carlos Ruiz singled and later scored on Venable’s error in right field on a base hit by Juan Pierre. The Padres lead was temporarily cut in half.
But San Diego got a big performance from Hundley. He tripled in a run in the third inning, and then scored on Thome’s throwing error at first base to stretch the Padres’ advantage to 4-1. Hundley capped the scoring with a two run blast off Blanton in the fifth, giving the Padres a 6-1 lead and giving himself a career-high four RBIs in a game.
Blanton allowed all six Padres’ runs, three earned, and saw his record fall to 1-3 on the season.
“Two-out walks kind of killed me,” Blanton said after the game. “I thought I made a couple of good pitches that I didn’t get the call.”
But pitching hasn’t been the problem for the Phillies. It’s been the lack of offense game after game that has Philadelphia at the bottom of the National League East looking up at everyone else. The Phils managed to score just eight runs in the four-game series in San Diego, a place where they’d won 13 consecutive times before the loss on Saturday night.
“We have to stay strong within and keep pushing, keep attacking and keep believing that we are going to hit better than we are hitting,” said Pence, who is hitless in his last 15 at-bats.
The loss dropped the last place Phillies to 7-9, five games behind the front running Washington Nationals.