video thumbnail

PHI@SD: Pierre's single and an error score Ruiz

SAN DIEGO -- Simply put, this is a test for the Phillies, according to manager Charlie Manuel.

Philadelphia (7-9) sits in last place in the National League East after falling, 6-1, to the Padres on Sunday afternoon at Petco Park. The offensive woes continued, as the Phillies left 10 men on base, went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and struck out 11 times against the National League West's last-place team. The Padres (5-12) won consecutive games for the first time all season.

"I think it's a test for the manager, the coaching staff and the players," Manuel said. "I think it's a test for everybody. I see guys who, I think, are trying too hard. They need to just relax and play like we can."

The Phillies scored eight runs while splitting the four-game series. They had won 13 in a row at Petco before dropping the last two games. On Sunday, Philadelphia scored its lone run in the second inning on one of the Padres' three errors in the game. The Phillies also committed three errors, a season high.

"We've got to get better," said Jim Thome, who went 1-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts in his third start of the season. "We've got some talented guys that have had great careers, that have done a lot of great things. You hope that all that will feed itself and everything will fall into place. We want to get big hits, we want to get the big hit when it's out there. It's just not happening."

Right fielder and cleanup hitter Hunter Pence went 0-for-4 on Sunday and was 1-for-16 during the series.

"When they get me out, I'm going to get better because I'm going to learn from it," Pence said. "These last three games, I've had no hits. I've done a whole bunch [that has hurt] the team. There are going to be stretches where that goes on and we've got to pick each other up, and we will.

"There's going to be a day that comes where I catch fire and there's going to be a lot of us catching fire. When we get a couple of these bats hot at the same time, we'll see good things. We've got to have some resolve, stay relaxed and keep coming out."

Phillies starter Joe Blanton (1-3) allowed six runs -- three earned -- in six innings. He struck out two and walked two. Both of those free passes were two-out walks that scored. In the third inning, Blanton issued one to Chase Headley, who scored on Nick Hundley's triple, while another run scored on Thome's error in the inning.

Blanton walked Headley again with two outs in the fifth, and he scored on Hundley's two-run home run. With his sacrifice fly, triple and home run, Hundley set a career high with four RBIs.

"I thought I made a couple good pitches to where it wasn't a walk, but the call didn't go my way," Blanton said. "The fact is, I still walked a guy with two outs and there was a triple and a homer."

Padres starting right-hander Anthony Bass (1-2) allowed an unearned run in six innings, striking out a career-high seven and walking a career-high five in his first start and second appearance against the Phillies in his career.

"We're going to hit better than we're hitting," Pence said. "Our pitching's been good. Stay focused and keep going.

"We're gonna test our fortitude. We're gonna test our resolve right here. I owe a lot more to my teammates the way I've been swinging it, to the Phillies, to everyone."

Manuel said he didn't address the team, but he sees the the players are pressing. The Phillies are 3-4 during their road trip and begin a three-game series against the D-backs on Monday in Phoenix.

"I took my time and walked around the locker room. I didn't feel like it's time to say anything, yet. [Monday] might be the day. I don't know," Manuel said with a smile. "We've got guys out there who definitely want to play and they're trying to play hard. Maybe we just need to get back [to] square one and relax and totally enjoy playing, like we can." Comments