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Hellickson labors with execution vs. Cards

Phillies starter allows 3 runs, 10 hits over 6 innings
MLB.com @ToddZolecki

ST. LOUIS -- Jeremy Hellickson still has time to get everything tightened up. But with a little more than seven weeks remaining before the July 31 Trade Deadline, he continues to search for the effectiveness and consistency he exhibited last season.

Hellickson, who has been a trade candidate since he joined the Phillies last season, allowed 10 hits and three runs with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings Friday night in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

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ST. LOUIS -- Jeremy Hellickson still has time to get everything tightened up. But with a little more than seven weeks remaining before the July 31 Trade Deadline, he continues to search for the effectiveness and consistency he exhibited last season.

Hellickson, who has been a trade candidate since he joined the Phillies last season, allowed 10 hits and three runs with one walk and five strikeouts in six innings Friday night in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium.

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"I guess you could say he pitched well enough to win, but he also pitched well enough to lose," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said.

Hellickson fell to 5-4 with a 4.50 ERA. He has a 6.43 ERA in his last eight starts.

Video: PHI@STL: Hellickson K's Fryer to strand bases loaded

The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third, but the Cardinals needed just 11 pitches in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Matt Carpenter singled on a ball originally ruled an error on right fielder Aaron Altherr. Dexter Fowler hit a first-pitch fastball for a double to put runners on second and third.

Stephen Piscotty hit an 0-1 curveball for a sacrifice fly to score Carpenter, and Jedd Gyorko singled on a 1-1 fastball to score Fowler and tie the game.

"The first four batters, I don't think I executed a pitch I wanted," Hellickson said. "Even the Piscotty fly ball was a bad curveball. I just didn't execute that inning."

Video: PHI@STL: Piscotty plates Carpenter with a sac fly

Aledmys Diaz hit a 2-2 changeup for a solo homer to left-center field in the fifth to make it 3-2. Hellickson has allowed seven homers on his changeup this season, which are the most in baseball. He allowed three all last year.

"I just have to keep the ball in the yard," Hellickson said. "Even the last few games have been good until the sixth inning. I wasn't attacking like I was early. Today I went back to that. Not that I wasn't trying to attack the last few games. Command was a lot better today. The fastball was down for the most part, and off-speed was a little better."

Video: PHI@STL: Franco gets force after backhanded snag

Hellickson has been having trouble finishing off hitters this season. He entered the game with the lowest swinging-strike rate (7.67 percent) with two strikes out of 105 qualified pitchers. He ranked 34th out of 135 pitchers at 15.78 percent last season.

"I felt like I threw the ball well, just not good enough," Hellickson said.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and listen to his podcast.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jeremy Hellickson