The Phillies have not been the picture of good health this season. They have numerous players nicked up or injured, but they suffered a seemingly serious one in the ninth inning of a 4-3 loss to the Brewers. Erik Kratz, who is second on the team with eight home runs, injured his left knee running to first base. Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Kratz felt his knee pop, and Kratz required crutches afterward to make his way through the clubhouse. It added injury to a loss that dropped the Phillies back below .500 after they needed 52 days just to get to that mark after plodding through the first two months of the season.
"Guys getting hurt and going down definitely can change a lot of things," Manuel said. "But we've got to stay in there and get them. That's all. We had some chances tonight. We had some chances to score. We couldn't take advantage of some of them."
Saturday's loss to the Brewers, who are last in the National League Central, looked like many of the others they suffered through this season.
Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick kept the team in the game, but the offense came up short against the worst pitching staff in the league. The bullpen also took a three-run deficit and extended it, making it necessary for the Phillies to win the series finale Sunday to leave Milwaukee with a split.
"This game, man," Kendrick said.
The start had some promise as Phillies left fielder Domonic Brown hit his National League-leading 19th home run of the season in the second inning, a solo shot to right field to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead. But who could know at that point the offense would be quiet most of the night?
Brewers left-hander Tom Gorzelanny allowed five hits, one run and struck out three in four innings in a successful spot start. Right-hander Tyler Thornburg replaced him and offered the Phillies a fantastic opportunity in the sixth, when Kevin Frandsen doubled and Jimmy Rollins singled and advanced to second on a throw from Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun to put runners on second and third with no outs.
But Delmon Young struck out on three pitches and Brown and John Mayberry Jr. each grounded out to end the inning.
It felt like one of those innings that would cost them. The Brewers needed just the bottom half of the inning to prove that suspicion correct. Braun and Aramis Ramirez singled to put runners at the corners with no outs. Jonathan Lucroy then hit a 0-2 sinker for a double to score Braun to make it 2-1.
"He kind of knew what we were trying to do with him right there," Kendrick said. "He guessed right 0-2. We were trying to get a ground-ball double play, and I missed down. It was down, but he kind of just dropped the head."
Carlos Gomez then singled up the middle to score Ramirez to make it 3-1.
Kendrick then got out of the inning without further damage. He allowed eight hits, three runs, one walk and struck out six in six innings.
Mike Stutes allowed a run in the seventh to make it 4-1, which loomed large as Brown hit a two-out double to score two runs in the eighth to make it a one-run game.
But the Phillies would get no closer. They lamented their wasted chances. They hit some balls hard against Gorzelanny, but had nothing to show for it.
"That's baseball," Brown said. "Hard outs. That's all you can do, just keep swinging it. We fought hard all night. You can't win them all. Come back tomorrow and fight."
The Phillies entered Friday with a season-high five-game winning streak. They got back to .500 with a victory Wednesday over Miami and moved to 31-30 with a victory Friday over Milwaukee. But now they try to snap a two-game losing streak and get back to .500 on Sunday. They will do it without Kratz, who is fifth among all catchers in baseball in home runs.