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Phils' late rally vs. Brewers falls short

Phils' late rally vs. Brewers falls short

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PHILADELPHIA -- Joe Blanton compared the first 13 games of the Phillies' season to a car which needs a tuneup.

In other words, he believes the Phils are close to turning things around after a 6-7 start. Just a few things need to be altered.

The Phillies couldn't muster much offense and fell to the Brewers, 3-1, on a chilly Wednesday night before a crowd of 32,759 at Citizens Bank Park.

"You can sense you will get it going," said Blanton, who fell to 0-2 after allowing eight hits and three earned runs in six innings. "It's like that car that won't quite start. It just needs a kick to get going."

Braden Looper pitched six strong innings and Milwaukee's bullpen preserved the victory. Mark DiFelice and Carlos Villanueva each tossed a scoreless inning before the Phillies finally got to Todd Coffey in the ninth.

Phils right fielder Jayson Werth hit a solo shot in the ninth to make it 3-1. With runners on first and third, catcher Chris Coste struck out to end the game.

"We're either hot or not," Werth said. "We'll get it going. We hit the ball hard. It was one of those days."

J.J. Hardy put the Brewers ahead in the fifth with a solo homer to left field. Hardy ripped a 3-2 pitch from Blanton just over the fence for the first run of the game.

"Hardy's home run was a good pitch," Blanton said. "It was a pitcher's pitch. He was out in front of it and barreled it out."

One inning earlier, Ryan Braun laced a double off the left-field wall which took a fortuitous bounce to Raul Ibanez. On one hop, Ibanez gathered himself and fired a strike to Chase Utley at second to nail Braun.

But Blanton allowed two more runs in the sixth when Mike Cameron doubled home Corey Hart and Braun for a 3-0 advantage.

Blanton, who's still searching for his first win this season, struck out five and gave up one walk.

"He pitched good enough if we scored some runs," Phils manager Charlie Manuel said.

Rookie catcher Lou Marson agreed.

"You've got to score runs to win, right?" Marson said. "Joe threw the ball well."

The Phillies managed eight hits, seven of which were singles. They weren't able to put a leadoff runner on base in all nine innings, though.

"We hit some balls good," Werth said. "We came up empty-handed."

Ibanez was 1-for-4 and has hit safely in nine straight games (16-for-37). He has 40 total bases this season, which was tied for second in the National League entering Wednesday's game.

Utley singled in the first and extended his streak of reaching base safely to 33 straight games. The streak dates to Sept. 7 of last season and is the longest current streak in the Major Leagues.

Utley was 1-for-4, dropping his average to a still-robust .362.

"He works hard," Manuel said of Utley. "He stays after it. He loves to play and he's determined. His determination is off the chart. He puts everything he's got into it."

The Phillies' six-game win streak against the Brewers -- five in a row at home -- was snapped. Now, it's a short turnaround on Getaway Day to try to win the series.

"I feel like we're trying to get on a rhythm, but we're just off the path," Blanton said.

"We'll be alright," Werth added.

Ace Cole Hamels will make his third start Thursday. He's 0-1 with an 11.17 ERA.

Hamels won Game 1 of last year's National League Division Series over the Brewers with eight scoreless innings.

Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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