Phillies' skid reaches 7 straight games with loss to Brewers

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Getting a break from a rugged bit of scheduling that included six games against first-place clubs did nothing to help the Phillies on Thursday night.
 
They lost again.
 
That’s seven in a row if you’re following at home.
 
The Phils were beaten, 4-1, by a Milwaukee Brewers club that is 25-29 on the season (see Instant Replay).
 
Before Thursday night’s loss, the Phils were beaten six straight by the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.
 
Offense continues to be the culprit — that was manager Pete Mackanin’s word — in this losing streak and the season on a whole.
 
Over the seven-game losing skid, the Phils have been held to two or fewer runs six times. For the season, they have been held to two or fewer runs 22 times in their 54 games. They are averaging just 3.09 runs per game, worst in the majors.
 
Ten games ago, the Phils were five games over .500 and two games back in the NL East. Now they are two games under .500 and seven games back.
 
“Nothing is really going right for us these days,” Mackanin said after the game. “When things are not going well, they seem to snowball. We’ve just got to get it going. Our hitters have to step up.
 
“I look at the first two months we had and I know that we’re better than we’ve shown the last 10 days. Things just haven’t been working for us. The main culprit is the offense. We need more offense.”
 
The Phillies were out-hit, 12-5, by the Brewers. Two of the Brewers’ hits were home runs, one against starter Jerad Eickhoff, who left the game after taking a ball off his left foot in the seventh inning. He had an X-ray, but said it was fine.
 
Milwaukee starter Chase Anderson gave up just three hits over 5 2/3 innings for the win. He walked none and struck out six.
 
Maikel Franco returned from a one-game benching and homered and singled for the Phillies. He swung the bat well — until flailing at an outside pitch and striking out in the ninth. Tommy Joseph made his second straight start in place of slumping Ryan Howard and had two hits.
 
“Franco looked a little better at the plate,” Mackanin said. “Everybody else needs to start looking better.
 
“Their pitcher, Anderson, had a good changeup. He made everybody look bad. But we need to start making some pitchers look bad. I think we’re capable of it. We had our moments the first two months. I believe these guys are going to get better.”
 
The game was close late. One big hit could have saved the Phillies. They got that one big hit during the first six weeks of the season, but aren’t now.
 
Hector Neris inherited a no-out, bases-loaded jam from David Hernandez in the eighth and proceeded to get three outs, two on strikeouts. The other out came on a nice defensive play by second baseman Cesar Hernandez, who had just entered the game as part of a double-switch.
 
Neris’ good work kept the Phillies within a run. However, the Brewers went up by three in the top of the ninth when Jeanmar Gomez gave up a two-run homer to Jonathan Villar.
 
Eickhoff gave his club a solid start. He made one big mistake and it cost him. With two outs in the fourth, he had Chris Carter, the Brewers’ big-power, high-strikeout first baseman down 1-2 in the count. Eickhoff went to his favorite pitch, the curveball, and Carter jumped it for his 14th homer, giving the Brewers a 2-0 lead.
 
“I was able to keep them off balance for the most part,” Eickhoff said. “The 1-2 to Carter, I’d like to have back.”
 
Eickhoff wanted to throw the pitch down at the ankles. It stayed up and Carter drove it.
 
Eickhoff took a one-hopper by Keon Broxton off the inside of his left ankle in the seventh inning. He was at 101 pitches and Mackanin was going to take him out anyway.
 
“It’s going to be a little swollen tomorrow, but it will be all right,” Eickhoff said.
 
The pitcher’s ankle isn’t the only thing that’s swollen. The Phillies hope their losing doesn’t swell to eight games on Friday night.

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