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Bats Go Silent Against Backe, Phils Lose

“Combine Backe’s track record with Eaton and the Phils offensive boon and there’s a real possibility of a high-scoring affair. Then again …”

I shouldn’t write predictions.

The Phillies couldn’t get the job done against Houston starter Brandon Backe, leaving 16 men on base in a 4-3 loss to the Astros. The game seemed oddly close to the April 15 win against the Astros, where the Phils staged a huge comeback off Houston closer Jose Valverde to win 4-3. This time, however, Valverde held off the Phils.

In that ninth, Pat Burrell (who homered already) doubled and scored on a Pedro Feliz single. A Carlos Ruiz single set the stage for a Jimmy Rollins two-out double. Eric Bruntlett, who pinch ran for Ruiz, couldn’t score on the well-played ball by right fielder Hunter Pence. But Shane Victorino flied out to end the game — it was the second time in recent memory Victorino flied out to end a game where a ground ball through a hole would’ve won it.

The loss made Adam Eaton 0-3, and this time it was undeserved. He went seven innings, giving up three runs and scattering eight hits. Still, he stayed in an inning too long, or at least an out too long. While the Pence leadoff homer hurt, it was the Michael Bourn single that should’ve never happened. Houston then extended their lead — the difference in the game — with a triple and sac fly off Ryan Madson. Who else? Madson has been horrible most of the season, and in a two-run game should’ve never been the man on the hill in that situation.

Just when you credit Charlie Manuel for his managing skills, he screws up his pitching timing and rotation. And just when you laud Ryan Howard he goes 0-for-4. But we won’t bash him. Chase Utley went 0-for-3 and Geoff Jenkins went 0-for-4. Bad stuff in a game that, really, should’ve never been a loss. These are the ones I hate most.

Associated Press photo

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