Homers haunt Phils' Myers in defeat

Homers haunt Phils' Myers in defeat

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' best hitter, Chase Utley, had a day off Saturday, a much-needed rest after an 0-for-23 slump.

Most of their lineup seemed to take the night off in a 6-2 loss to the Angels at Citizens Bank Park.

The slumping Phillies, who lead the Marlins by just one game in the National League East, dropped their season-high fourth straight -- and eighth of their past 11 -- as they collected just five hits against Angels starter Joe Saunders. The 21st sellout crowd this season left disappointed after another offensive shortage.

Since drubbing the Red Sox, 8-2, on Monday night, the Phillies are hitting .161.

"We haven't been hitting the ball hard," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We haven't consistently hit balls hard, and we have to get back to that. Good teams still have to beat good pitching every now and then."

Philadelphia's normally potent No. 3-4-5 combination of Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell is a combined 2-for-42 with 18 strikeouts during the four-game losing streak.

Saunders, the American League's first 11-game winner, allowed two baserunners through the first six innings, as Vladimir Guerrero staked the Angels to a 2-0 lead on two home runs.

Philadelphia finally got to Saunders in the seventh inning with two outs and the bases empty. Jayson Werth homered, and Chris Coste walked and scored on Pedro Feliz's double. Eric Bruntlett followed with a single to center, but was thrown out trying to get to second base.

Assuming that Feliz was being waved around third, Bruntlett tried to draw a throw. Instead, he became a rally-killing out.

"I didn't realize he didn't go until I saw the ball cut," Bruntlett said. "That's what you're going for, is to get him to cut it, and the run scores. Then I saw Pedro at third. I just put my head down and assumed he was going. I assumed it instead of actually seeing him go."

Having allowed three hits through the first seven innings, including the two Guerrero homers, Phillies starter Brett Myers retired the first two hitters in the eighth. Chone Figgins singled, and Erick Aybar smacked a tiebreaking home run to right field.

It was Aybar's second home run this season, ruining what had been a positive outing for the struggling right-hander.

"You can throw 25 good pitches, [but] you make that 26th one that's a bad pitch, they hit it out," Myers said, recalling something he heard earlier from Coste. "That's the way it's going right now."

The three home runs extended Myers' league lead to 23. His evening began well, as he retired 11 of the first 12 hitters.

Guerrero was the 13th.

With 28 home runs against the Phillies from 1997-2003, while he terrorized the National League East as the Expos' right fielder, Guerrero returned to Philadelphia after a 4 1/2-season absence, and showed he hasn't forgotten anything.

He pounded Myers' second pitch into the left-center-field seats, giving the Angels a 1-0 lead, then did the same in the seventh with another solo shot.

"I wasn't too irritated about the two home runs to Guererro, because they were solos, and I figured we could score two runs," Myers said. "The one in the eighth [to Aybar] put the nail in the coffin."

Myers kept the Phillies competitive. Aside from Guerrero's two homers, he allowed just two baserunners and one hit through his first seven innings. Manuel laid Saturday's debut at the feet of the offense. Since pasting 20 runs on the Cardinals on June 13, the Phillies are hitting .204 as a team, and just .188 with runners in scoring position.

"I don't think there's any concern," Bruntlett said. "There shouldn't be. We still have an excellent team. As a team, we're not playing very well. We're in a funk. I don't think there's any worry here."

Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.