PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The Phillies are stuck in a losing rut where nothing seems to be going right.
Dan Uggla had a tiebreaking RBI grounder in the 12th, the Atlanta bullpen pitched 5 2-3 scoreless innings and the Braves beat slumping Philadelphia 5-4 on Saturday night for their ninth straight win.
John Mayberry Jr. homered for Philadelphia, which has lost four in a row and 12 of 13.
“Obviously, this is very frustrating,” Mayberry said. “It can flip and come back around just as easily. We’re going to remain confident until the end.”
The Phillies got a decent start from John Lannan on three days’ rest and a strong performance from their bullpen, which allowed one run on one hit in 7 2-3 innings, but couldn’t get the clutch hit.
“It definitely wasn’t from a lack of effort,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “We just didn’t get the hit, or we didn’t get the big hit to win the game.”
The Phillies were 6½ games behind Atlanta in the NL East at the All-Star break, but now sit 15½ back.
“When you’re going good, things are going to happen for you,” outfielder Delmon Young said. “When you’re going bad, they aren’t going to happen for you.”
That was apparent in the 12th inning when Philadelphia just missed converting an inning-ending double play. Instead, Uggla reached safely and Justin Upton scored the go-ahead run.
“It seems like we have a hard time getting going,” Manuel said. “We’re having a hard time playing good enough or doing enough to win. We’re playing the game out and staying there with it. We’re just getting beat right now.”
Still, Manuel knows the Phillies still have much to play for.
“I think it’s up to us that we come out to play as hard as we can and play every day,” he said. “I think that everyone on our team, although we’re losing games, I think everyone on our team has something to really play for. Put up the best numbers and performance they can, pitching and hitting-wise. I think that’s the way most every team looks at it.
“You never know how many games you can win if you just come out and play as hard as you possibly can and play right. But right now we’re having a hard time getting things going.”
Luis Avilan (4-0), one of seven Atlanta pitchers, tossed a scoreless 11th inning to earn the win and Craig Kimbrel got the last three outs for his 33rd save in 36 chances as the Braves won for the 11th time in 13 games.
Phillies left-hander Jake Diekman (0-2) pitched a perfect 11th but ran into trouble in the 12th. Upton walked leading off and went to second on Freddie Freeman’s groundout. After an intentional walk to Evan Gattis, Diekman walked Paul Janish, a career .215 hitter, on four pitches to load the bases.
Justin De Fratus replaced Diekman and Uggla hit a bounding ball to short that looked like it could be a double play, but Uggla was safe at first when Chase Utley’s relay pulled an extended Kevin Frandsen off the bag. Utley withstood a strong takeout slide from Janish, who made contact with the Philadelphia second baseman.
“Unnoticed by a lot of people is the way Janish went into second against Utley,” Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez said. “If you go in tiptoeing there, Utley gets a clean look.”
The Phillies did threaten in the 12th off Kimbrel, as Jimmy Rollins reached second with two outs on a fielder’s choice and wild pitch. But Kimbrel struck out pinch-hitter Laynce Nix to record his 23rd straight save.
Upton homered for the Braves.
Lannan allowed two earned runs and four hits in 4 1-3 innings with a two walks and no strikeouts. He was pitching on short rest after rookie Jonathan Pettibone, who was scheduled to start Saturday, was placed on the DL on Friday with a right shoulder strain.
“Everybody has to go through it and learn from it and move on,” Lannan said of the skid.
Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon, who has blown six of his last 13 save chances and made criticized the team in recent weeks, entered to boos in the ninth inning but left to cheers with a 1-2-3 frame that featured two strikeouts.
Atlanta got a runner in scoring position in the 10th off Antonio Bastardo when Chris Johnson and Uggla walked with two outs, but the left-hander struck out B.J. Upton to end the threat.
Frandsen nearly ended it leading off the 10th when he ripped the first pitch to left off David Carpenter, but Upton caught it while backing into the wall in left-center. And Scott Downs came in to get the final two outs of the inning.
NOTES: The Phillies honored several former members of their organization, including players from their 1993 World Series team, in a pregame ceremony. Catcher Darren Daulton, who was diagnosed with brain cancer last month, received the loudest ovation and received hugs from John Kruk, Mike Schmidt and manager Charlie Manuel. … Phillies LHP Cliff Lee (10-4, 3.05) opposes Atlanta LHP Alex Wood (1-2, 3.51) in the finale of the three-game series Sunday night. … Phillies LF Darin Ruf went 1 for 4 with a walk and has now reached base safely in 31 consecutive games.
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