Lidle struggles; win streak over at six

Lidle struggles; win streak over at six

PHILADELPHIA -- The sight of pinch-hitter Todd Pratt striking out to squash a ninth-inning rally shouldn't be the image taken from Monday's game.

What should stand out is the fight leading up to it.

Despite a four-run, ninth-inning rally in Monday's series finale, the Phillies fell short in a 10-8 loss to Arizona, snapping their six-game winning streak.

It had to end sometime, and it didn't end quietly.

"We lost the game fighting and almost pulled it out," said Bobby Abreu. "When we lose a game without having a chance, that's tough, but we gave ourselves a chance. This loss won't affect us."

The ninth inning started when reliever Brian Bruney plunked Mike Lieberthal, perhaps in retaliation for three Diamondbacks getting hit in the series. It fired up the Phillies bench.

"There were some screams on the bench," said manager Charlie Manuel.

"When Lieby got hit, we got a little [ticked] off," added Abreu. "We tried to get a rally going, and we did. We made it close."

Placido Polanco followed with a single and Jimmy Rollins doubled in Lieberthal. Kenny Lofton then singled to load the bases.

Abreu and Jim Thome struck out looking on disputed pitches for the first two outs, but Pat Burrell walked to load the bases.

Chase Utley singled in two runs, but Pratt struck out.

"We had a chance," said Rollins, "but no more magic."

With the streak over, the Phillies fell into a last-place tie with Florida, 1 1/2 games behind the first-place Nationals in the National League East.

Phillies starter Cory Lidle put the Phillies in a hole by allowing five runs in the first inning. Though Rollins set the tone with a two-base throwing error on a routine grounder by Craig Counsell, Lidle (5-4) did nothing to stem the tide.

The right-hander allowed seven of the next eight batters to reach -- including a bases-loaded triple to Shawn Green -- putting Philadelphia down, 5-0.

Back-to-back doubles by Alex Cintron and Luis Gonzalez added another run for Arizona, and Gonzalez later scored on a sacrifice fly.

"He just couldn't get out of the gate," said Manuel. "Things weren't going his way, and the game got away from us early."

Lidle also agreed with the hitters' assessment of home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor's strike zone -- or the varying degrees of it.

"Anytime you have C.B. behind the plate, you know it's going to be an interesting game," Lidle said. "He had two different zones. He was tight in the beginning, then took the bat out of a couple of guys' hands later in the game. Strike two and three to Bobby were off the plate [in the ninth inning], and they weren't close to being called strikes early in the game."

Lidle didn't use that as an excuse for his ineffective outing.

"The first inning was the back-breaker," said Lidle. "They hit some balls that had some eyes. I had some games where everything goes my way and this one it seemed like nothing went my way. The line doesn't reflect on how I felt out there. I'm going to try to take a positive out of this. That's what happens."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.