Phils see signs of life from Herrera vs. Rockies

Outfielder goes 2-for-4, posts his first extra-base hit in 40 at-bats

Phils see signs of life from Herrera vs. Rockies

PHILADELPHIA -- Not much has been going right for the Phillies during their nearly month-long free fall. Still, manager Pete Mackanin is determined to see the positives, and he listed them off after Tuesday night's 8-2 loss to the Rockies.

There was a home run by backup catcher Andrew Knapp, a solid relief outing from Hector Neris and signs of life from Odubel Herrera at the plate.

Neris strikes out the side

Mired in a slump for the last two weeks, Herrera went 2-for-4 with a double. The double was Herrera's first extra-base hit in 40 at-bats, and Tuesday marked his first multi-hit game since May 9.

Knapp's solo homer

"I'm a believer that he's going to get back up to where he's supposed to be," Mackanin said. "He's a very unique individual that it's tough to figure out what his thinking is at the plate. But he has a knack for putting the barrel on the ball. We've seen it before where he's scuffled and he's come around. So we think he's going to be OK."

In his previous 38 at-bats entering Tuesday, Herrera had just five hits (a .132 average), no walks and 11 strikeouts. His average dropped 30 points and his OPS went down by more than 100 points in that span.

The 2016 All-Star was dropped from his usual No. 3 spot in the order to sixth for the series against Colorado in an ever-changing Phillies lineup looking for the right fit.

Herrera -- now hitting .238 with a .646 OPS on the season -- smacked a double off the right-field wall in his first at-bat of the evening against Rockies starter German Marquez. He added a sixth-inning single, but could not come up with a hit in the Phillies' biggest spot of the night.

In the third inning, Herrera came up with the bases loaded and one out. Tommy Joseph was hit by a pitch and Andres Blanco drew a five-pitch walk to force home the Phillies' first run of the night. Herrera awkwardly swung at the first pitch he saw, which was out of the zone, and grounded into a 6-4-3 double play on the third pitch of the at-bat.

"Those types of at-bats, what can you say?" Mackanin said. "When you don't score runs, it's frustrating to watch the at-bats."

The loss pushed the Phillies to 4-16 in May, and it marked the 14th time in the month the team scored four runs or fewer.

In addition to moving Herrera down in the order, Mackanin pulled scuffling hitters Maikel Franco and Michael Saunders out of Tuesday's order. The Phillies are struggling at the plate because a handful of players are in slumps.

It's going to take multiple players -- including key hitters like Herrera -- to stop the slide.

"Not every day it's going to be the third hitter or the fourth hitter," shortstop Freddy Galvis said. "Not every day it's going to be Cesar [Hernandez]. Not every day it's going to be Odubel. Everybody has to do a little bit."

Stephen Pianovich is a contributor to MLB.com based in Philadelphia. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.