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Comeback Dies Short; Phils Lose Third Straight

Another loss to the Mets. Can we call it a moral loss? Can we call it a bad loss? Seriously, what can we call this?

Adam Eaton gave the Phillies little chance to beat the Mets Monday night, giving up eight runs (six earned) on 10 hits in just 2.2 innings. He was bad. Very bad. His pitches were so hittable the 1996 Phillies would’ve had a field day. And the Mets spread the wealth – Jose Reyes had two hits, Endy Chavez had three hits, David Wright had two hits, Damion Easley had three hits, Carlos Delgado had two hits, Fernando Tatis has three hits. When Tatis and Easley get six hits, you know you’re pitching poorly.

Somehow the Phils offense valiantly came back, but it wasn’t good enough. Chase Utley socked his league-leading 25th home run; Pat Burrell hit his 22nd; Ryan Howard brought the Phils within sneezing distance with his 24th. But the big blow was Geoff Jenkins’ eight-inning shot, a pinch hit blow that stirred the hopes of all the fans remaining.

In the ninth, the Phils answered again. Shane Victorino doubled to lead off the inning, but almost was stranded after Eric Bruntlett (in for Utley) walked. But then Howard and Burrell got outs. Pinch hitter Pedro Feliz then made the Mets pay with a single, scoring Victorino. A Carlos Beltran throwing error scored Howard, and suddenly it was a one-run game with the winning run at the plate — Sunday’s hero Jayson Werth. No dice.

They gave it their all when the chips were completely off the table. Come to think, maybe that was why they gave it their all — without much pressure to mount a huge comeback, they mounted a huge comeback. They just didn’t do enough.

Eaton gets all the blame here. He couldn’t even give the team a chance early on. The first three innings resembled a pinball game. Combine Eaton, the Brewers’ acquisition of CC Sabathia and the Cubs’ pursuit of Rich Harden, and it’s becoming dire that the Phils upgrade their rotation.

Lost in the shuffle is RJ Swindle, who had a bad first inning in the Majors (two runs on four hits) but settled down to mow down the Mets, striking out David Wright and Carlos Delgado. He went three innings. Of course, in retrospect, the two runs Swindle surrendered provided the difference, but how can you blame him? This one is on the starter.

With the loss and a Marlins win, the Phils are now 1.5 games in front. The Mets are only 2.5 back now, and coming on strong.

Associated Press photo

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