ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Phillies had no problem reaching base Wednesday night.
Getting those runners home was another matter.
The Phillies stranded nine runners, including four in scoring position, and those missed opportunities added up and resulted in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Angels (see Instant Replay).
“It’s been a problem of ours a lot of the year,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “We just haven’t been able to come up with the big hit with men on base to put up crooked numbers. We’ve put up single digits, but to put up a bigger number with an extra-base hit and drive in a couple runs, we just haven’t been able to do that.”
The Phillies entered the game with a .243 average with runners in scoring position, 21st out of the 30 MLB teams.
It was more of the same Wednesday.
They had two on and one out in both the first and second innings, but came away empty each time. They missed a chance for a big inning in the third, failing to convert a two-on, one-out situation after bringing one run home. Ben Revere was on second with nobody out in the seventh, but two popups and a strikeout left him there.
All in all they were 3 for 12 with men in scoring position.
“We’re not pressing (in those situations),” rightfielder Marlon Byrd said. “It just didn’t come together this series and we’ve got to get ready for the next one.”
Sandberg credited Angels starter Jered Weaver for some of the Phillies' struggles to get runners home.
“I really attribute it to some pretty good pitching,” he said. “Weaver mixed speeds real well; added a little on, took a little off. In those situations he subtracted velocity even more.”
All the failures to convert with runners in scoring position gave the Angels time to erase an early 2-1 Phillies lead.
A.J. Burnett cruised through five innings but ran into trouble in the sixth. He allowed a one-out double to Albert Pujols, hit Josh Hamilton and walked Erick Aybar to load the bases.
Howie Kendrick blooped a fly ball to shallow right that fell just inside the chalk, scoring a pair and giving the Angels the lead. Brennan Boesch followed with a run-scoring fielder's choice, and that was all the scoring the Angels needed.
“I felt like I threw the ball well, but obviously not well enough to win,” Burnett said. “I made good pitches. I jammed Howie, I got a ground ball ... I felt like I made good pitches after the walks.”
Burnett (6-13) is 0-5 since the All-Star break. He leads the major leagues in walks allowed.
“He’s just not making the opposition earn their baserunners,” Sandberg said. “A lot of times it seems like walks find a way to score somehow. Tonight it was a bloop, a jam shot. Walks tend to score and that gets the best of A.J. sometimes.”
Grady Sizemore tripled and scored on a Domonic Brown groundout in the eighth to bring the Phillies within one at 4-3, but they wouldn’t get any closer.
The Phillies have lost nine straight to the Angels dating back to 2003, including four losses this season.