PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Carter and Jonathan Villar homered, Chase Anderson delivered another effective start and the Brewers continued a winning streak at Citizens Bank Park that began long before that trio's tenure. It reached eight games over three seasons with Thursday's 4-1 win over the Phillies in the opener of a four-game series.
Maikel Franco continued to torment Brewers pitchers with two hits, including his ninth home run, but he flied out in a critical at-bat against Milwaukee reliever Will Smith in the sixth as the teams traded late-inning threats. The Brewers left the bases loaded in the sixth and the eighth -- the latter inning ending with a disputed strikeout -- but Villar's two-run home run in the ninth provided insurance on the way to Milwaukee's seventh victory in 10 games.
"The one thing [Villar] hasn't done is hit home runs, and then he goes and hits a home run," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "It's a complete game, for sure."
The Phillies have lost seven straight games while scoring three runs or fewer in all of them. They have scored three runs or fewer in 34 of 54 games this season.
Anderson lowered his ERA over his past five starts to 2.97 by allowing a run on three hits and no walks in 5 2/3 innings. Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff pitched into the seventh before leaving the game when a comebacker struck his foot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Smith shuts down rally: Two Brewers miscues -- a throwing error that allowed Odubel Herrera to reach base and a passed ball that moved him from second to third with one out -- put the tying run 90 feet away for the Phillies in the sixth. But Anderson struck out Jimmy Paredes, and Smith came in to get Franco to fly out to end the threat. Smith, making his season debut after recovering from a torn ligament in his right knee, returned to pitch a scoreless seventh.
"I enjoy that kind of stuff," Smith said. "It was fun to get in there, that's for sure. It was a fun run in [from the bullpen], I was ready to go." More >
Brewers leave 'em loaded: The Phillies intentionally walked Jonathan Lucroy to load the bases with no outs in the eighth inning -- and it worked. Reliever Hector Neris struck out Carter, retired Alex Presley on a fielder's choice grounder (with second baseman Cesar Hernandez getting the out at home) and got a called strike three from plate-umpire Jim Reynolds against Aaron Hill on a check swing. Hill immediately protested that the ball had hit his bat, and replays appeared to show corroborating evidence. But the umpires conferred on the infield, and the inning was over.
"It's not reviewable," Reynolds said. "It's not under the guidelines for plays that are reviewable. Foul balls, any of that stuff is not reviewable." More >
Clutch relay: The Phillies fell behind in the top of the second, but it could have been a lot worse. Eickhoff gave up a single and two doubles, but only one run, because right fielder Paredes, making his first Phillies start since being acquired from the Blue Jays, hit cutoff man Andres Blanco, who threw out Lucroy trying to score on Kirk Nieuwenhuis's two-bagger.
Waking up: After a 2-for-24 homestand and a strikeout in his first plate appearance Thursday night, Carter's fourth-inning solo home run off Eickhoff extended the Brewers' lead to 2-0. It was Carter's 14th homer, three behind National League leader Nolan Arenado.
"I look at the first two months we played, and I know we're better than the last 10 days. Things just haven't been working for us, and the main culprit has been our offense. We need more offense." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on his team losing 11 of its last 13
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Phillies' magic number is four. When they've scored at least four runs this season, they're 14-6. But they've scored three or fewer far more often -- 34 times -- and are 12-22 in those games.
Franco is 9-for-17 (.529) with a 1.235 slugging percentage in four games against the Brewers this season. Four of his nine homers and nine of his 29 RBIs have come against Milwaukee. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: Milwaukee could have right fielder Domingo Santana in the lineup when the series continues Friday at 6:05 p.m. CT, with Jimmy Nelson making the start. Santana, on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder, played his third Minor League game Thursday night and is scheduled to rejoin the big league team.
Phillies: Right-hander Vince Velasquez will try to get back on track after two tough outings when the Phillies host the Brewers at 7:05 ET. Velasquez, who dazzled in his second start of the season with 16 strikeouts, has a 10.38 ERA in his last two outings.