Most of this game followed the now-established script: anemic hitting, just-good-enough-to-lose pitching, and the characteristic lethargy of the Phils at home, in June, against an AL opponent. Some Baltimore pitcher called Brad Bergesen held them to two hits through six innings as J.A. Happ allowed two runs and Chad Durbin walked Brian Roberts with the bases loaded to surrender a third. Then, in the bottom of the seventh, the Phils woke up: two doubles and two singles made it 3-2, and Ryan Howard--out of the starting lineup with the aftereffects of a 104-degree fever--came off the bench to slam a three-run homer against Danys Baez. Chan Ho Park followed the five-run frame with a scoreless eighth inning, and it looked like the Phillies might secure that rarest of achievements: a win at home in interleague play.
Nope. Ryan Madson allowed a solo home run with one out in the ninth sandwiched between two outs, then a seeing-eye single to pinch-hitter Oscar Salazar. He got ahead of Brian Roberts 1-2... and then threw the single worst pitch I can remember seeing to a good hitter when ahead in the count, a fastball in the dead middle of the plate. Roberts did with it what you'd expect him to do with it, and George Sherrill closed out a truly sad Chris Coste/Pedro Feliz/Eric Bruntlett troika in the bottom of the ninth to wrap things up. The loss was the Phillies' sixth when leading after eight innings, which is six more than they had in 2008.
Right now this team is about as fun as a steel-booted kick to the taint.