PHILS' LITTLE LEAGUE-TYPE PLAY GIVES CARDS A WIN

By Sam Bush

As the 2014 season creaks to a dismal end for the Phillies, they are still making basic mistakes that even the Taney Dragons have learned to avoid, and Saturday night it cost them.

Poor execution burned the Phillies early against the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, and Matt Carpenter’s sacrifice fly off Ken Giles in the 12th doomed them late in their 6-5 loss.

Marlon Byrd delivered the game-tying hit in the eighth to send it to extras, but miscues from earlier came back to haunt Philly. A three-run sixth inning born out of two physical errors and a couple of mental ones quickly put a damper on what was another firm display of growth by rookie starter David Buchanan.

Buchanan (photo above) didn’t have his best stuff, but he gave up only two earned runs in five innings pitched. He put 10 runners on base (eight hits, two walks) but limited the damage and kept the Phillies even with St. Louis through the first five frames.

He even had a chance to leave with a lead. But in the fifth inning, Ryan Howard bobbled a sure double-play grounder and settled for a single out. A groundout on the next play allowed the Cardinals’ second run to score.

Buchanan was on pace to pick up his sixth consecutive quality start, but was pulled after just five innings and 90 pitches.

“That caught me off guard, honestly,” Buchanan said. “I didn’t expect that. I wasn’t too happy about it. But I can’t control that. I just do what I’m told. And I go for as long as I can. Unfortunately, that was only five innings tonight.”

That’s when the Cardinals pounced. Mario Hollands relieved Buchanan in the sixth and surrendered a double to A.J. Pierzynski on his third pitch. Oscar Taveras then lined a ball that Domonic Brown pulled up on in left field, and Brown proceeded to throw it past Cody Asche at third to allow another run to score and Taveras to reach third.

“It definitely wasn’t a ball that I think I could have got to. But I should have charged it better than that,” Brown said. “I knew it was a wet ground, I didn’t know if the ball was going to shoot right or left there, so I was just trying to keep it in front. He took the extra base on me, I short-hopped Cody Asche and they ended up scoring a run, so it was a big play, for sure.

“Usually if a play like that happens, I’m going to, you know, be taken out, but that’s a part of the game.”

For the Phillies, Byrd and Brown reached on consecutive singles with one out in the fourth, and Carlos Ruiz brought them both home on a double that split the gap in right field. They scored their third run on a solo shot by Howard, his 19th homer of the year and first off a right-handed pitcher since he hit one off Miller on June 19. And Byrd’s two-RBI double in the eighth moved him into sixth in the NL with 75.

That should have been enough offense to spell a Phillies win, but the unearned runs provided the Cardinals enough cushion to survive the Phillies’ late rally, prolong the game and win it in extras.

 

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