Phillies continue to struggle at the plate, drop series
Loss marks fourth consecutive game without an extra-base hit
DENVER -- Ryne Sandberg placed some of his faith into the law of averages Saturday night at Coors Field.
Eventually, the Phillies had to hit.
"We're due, that's for sure," he said before a 3-1 loss to the Rockies.
But the offense continued its deep hibernation as the team dropped to 7-10 and into last place in the National League East. The Phillies have played four consecutive games without an extra-base hit, their longest stretch without one since a four-game streak May 10-14, 1968. It is the longest drought in baseball since the Marlins went four consecutive games without one in their inaugural season Sept. 12-16, 1993.
"We're a better team than this," Ben Revere said.
"We just need a spark from somebody," Sandberg said.
The Phillies have played the past two games with their everyday lineup, so they are not missing any critical pieces to the offense. They simply have not hit the baseball since Domonic Brown hit a short-lived, go-ahead home run in the eighth inning Monday against the Braves at Citizens Bank Park, making it 129 consecutive plate appearances without an extra-base hit.
"Sometimes it takes some guys a little more to really get going and everything," Revere said. "It's right there. It's going to be one of those games we're really going to show, we're going to really explode and we're going to go from there. We've got the talent. We've got the hitters. It's all going to come together and we're going to be rolling."
Sunday would be a great time to start. They need a victory to avoid a sweep.
The offense wasted a solid performance from Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who allowed six hits, three runs and struck out three in seven innings. It is the type of performance that gets a win on many nights at hitter-friendly Coors Field.
"You're going to go through ruts in the season," Kendrick said. "You want to get out of them as quick as you can, so hopefully we can swing it tomorrow and score some runs. Things can turn quick."
The Rockies took a 1-0 lead in the third inning thanks to instant replay and the new rules about catchers blocking home plate.
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado singled to center to start the inning. He broke for second on a hit-and-run. DJ LeMahieu hit the ball to shortstop, but Jimmy Rollins already had started to break to second base for a potential throw from Carlos Ruiz. The ball rolled into left-center field.
Rockies third base coach Stu Cole noticed Brown pick up the ball and throw to second base. He sent Arenado home. Chase Utley got the throw from Brown and fired the ball to the plate, which beat Arenado to the plate as Ruiz applied the tag. Home plate umpire Tim Welke called Arenado out.
But Ruiz also blocked the plate before he received the throw. Rockies manager Walt Weiss made that point and so the umpires reviewed the play under Collision Rule 7.13 to see if Ruiz was in violation of blocking the plate before receiving the ball.
Interestingly, Sandberg asked for the same review Sunday at Citizens Bank Park, but umpires upheld the out call. In that case, Major League Baseball's Joe Torre later called to say umpires incorrectly applied the rule, saying Tony Gwynn Jr. should have been safe at the plate because the plate had been blocked.
"Both went against us with two different interpretations of the same play," Sandberg said. "[Welke] came over and explained the play. I said, 'Wait a minute. We've had two plays go against us. We have to get some consistency with the calls at home plate. There are two against us, two different interpretations of the same exact play in a five-day period. Both against us.' I told him that. He didn't have an answer. … Maybe it was ironed out [since Sunday] and that was addressed in the meantime."
The Rockies built a 3-0 lead in the fourth when Justin Morneau hit a two-run home run to right field. It should have been a solo home run, but Ryan Howard couldn't handle a ground ball down the first-base line from Carlos Gonzalez to start the inning.
"Yeah, off his glove," Sandberg said, asked if it was playable.
It was ruled a hit.
Not that it mattered with the Phillies offense fizzling. Rockies right-hander Jordan Lyles allowed one unearned run in seven innings, pitching effectively with his sinker.
"They kept hitting the top of the ball, so we stayed with it," Lyles said. "The base hits weren't hit too hard, so overall just a good night when you're seeing that type of contact all night."
"This is a place where you need to score runs," Sandberg said. "There's no question about it. That's why I give Kendrick a lot of credit with the game he pitched. Most likely there will be runs scored at this place. We just have to counter and score some runs."