Phillies' bid for sweep eluded by Rockies

Phillies' bid for sweep eluded by Rockies

Phillies' bid for sweep eluded by Rockies
PHILADELPHIA -- It looked like an opportunity lost.

It certainly felt like one.

The Phillies had an excellent chance on Thursday to sweep the lowly Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. It would have been the first time this season they had swept a three-game series, and the first time they'd swept a team at home since Sept. 5-7. But the Rockies, whose 2-12 record since June 4 is the second worst in baseball, got the big hits they needed in a 4-1 victory.

"We won the series, but this game here would have been a real good one for us to win," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "We didn't get it done."

That is how the Phillies had to look at Thursday's loss:

They still won the series.

Of course, they had no choice but to look at it that way, as they open a three-game series Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, who are a considerably more talented team than the Rockies.

"We still won the series," Phillies right-hander Vance Worley said. "That's the biggest thing. Sweeps will come."

The first-pitch temperature was 95 degrees, although it felt hotter and muggier than that. Manuel likes to call this weather "hitting season" because the ball carries a little farther. But unlike the first two games of this series, when the Phillies scored 14 runs, runs were not easy to come by Thursday.

Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins hit a 2-2 changeup to left field for a home run in the first inning to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. It was Rollins' 39th career leadoff home run, extending his franchise record, and his second leadoff homer of the season.

The Phillies had runners on first and second with two outs following Rollins' homer, but couldn't add to their first-inning damage. John Mayberry Jr. hit a leadoff double in the second, but did not score. Mayberry went 2-for-4 Thursday. He is hitting .393 (11-for-28) with four doubles, four home runs and 10 RBIs in his last seven games.

The Phillies had four hits after the second inning. Ty Wigginton hit a leadoff double in the eighth, but Hunter Pence struck out, Carlos Ruiz flied out and Shane Victorino popped out to strand Wigginton at third.

"Anytime you lead off an inning like that ... we didn't execute and we need to," Victorino said.

Vance Worley had no room for error as a result. He cruised through the first six innings, allowing no runs on two hits. But he allowed a one-out double to Tyler Colvin in the seventh, and two batters later Chris Nelson hit a two-out, two-run home run to left-center field to hand the Rockies a 2-1 lead.

Worley hung his head in disappointment as the ball left the park.

So close.

"I was pretty disgusted," Worley said. "Yeah, I was like, I go this far into a game and this is what happens? I mean, there's nothing I can do. I thought I put the ball where I wanted it. It was down. I had him out front, leaning a little bit forward. The ball just kept carrying. A line drive, you know?"

Worley allowed four hits, two runs, two walks, one home run and struck out two in seven innings. He has a 2.78 ERA this season and a 2.25 ERA in four starts since returning from the disabled list. But Worley is 3-4 overall and winless since coming off the DL.

"That's a part of the game," said Worley, asked if he felt unlucky lately. "Everything isn't going to go your way. Tonight I didn't have my best stuff, but I was able to go out and compete and keep the team in it."

But the night had set up perfectly for the Phillies. The Rockies are in a free fall, turning to a four-man rotation with strict pitch counts in an arguably desperate measure to give themselves a chance to win. But Rockies starter Jeff Francis, who pitched five innings, took the sting out of the Phillies' bats, as Manuel described it, and the Rockies bullpen allowed just two hits the rest of the way.

"It's baseball," Victorino said. "Somebody's got to win, somebody's got to lose at the end of the night. I don't know what answers you guys want. It seems like every day you guys want a new answer. Do I want to win every game, yeah? Who doesn't want to win every game? But, I mean, we lost one."

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.