Philly Sports Live

Phillies lose second straight to Washington Nationals, 5-2

The at-bat that summed up the season came in the bottom of the third, after Shane Victorino hit a one-out double to put runners on second and third with the Phillies trailing by three runs. Last year, that would have meant Ryan Howard batting cleanup with Hunter Pence on deck, perhaps followed by Raul Ibanez. Last night, it was back-up catcher Brian Schneider and journeyman Hector Luna following Pence, and the best you can say about the right fielder’s approach is that it reflected a me-or-nobody desperation. Four of the five pitches he saw were sliders, the last two of them prompting out-of-the-zone swings, including a feeble strike three wave at a pitch that Pence seemed to know was in the opposing batter’s box.

A 5-2 loss to the Nationals on Monday night brought with it more of the same — namely, an offense that went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine runners — in addition to a rocky outing by Roy Halladay, who allowed two home runs and a triple in his six innings of work.

Washington defeated the Phillies for the fourth time in five games this season, momentarily tying Atlanta for the division lead. The 21-23 Phillies, losers of four straight since a six-game winning streak, are six games back in the National League East.