Phillies fall again to Braves
By ROB MAADDI
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Things are so bad for the Philadelphia Phillies that even when they do something right, it looks ugly.
Hunter Pence ran over third-base coach Juan Samuel on his way to scoring a run in the second inning of a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves on Saturday night.
The five-time defending NL East champions are freefalling since Chase Utley returned to the lineup, losing nine of 10. They just got Ryan Howard back on Friday night and have lost two in a row, though the former NL MVP didn't play in this loss.
If there's a single play to sum up Philadelphia's season, it was this.
With two on and one out in the second, Juan Pierre ripped a double to right. Pence took a wide turn around third, barreled into Samuel and kept going. A three-time All-Star during his playing career, Samuel ended up flat on his back and his helmet flew off. Players in both dugouts laughed, though the affable Samuel didn't seem too happy with himself.
"I didn't have a good angle on the bag," Pence said. "I feel bad. That shouldn't happen. I owe him one."
In the seventh, All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon made his biggest save of the season. Papelbon leaped from his seat and stopped a fan from climbing into Philadelphia's bullpen.
Phillies starter Joe Blanton (7-8) allowed six runs - five earned - and nine hits in 6 1-3 innings.
The start was delayed 58 minutes because of dark skies, lightning and threat of a thunderstorm.
The Phillies would've been better off with a rainout.
"We don't do enough to win," manager Charlie Manuel said. "The more we lose, the older it gets."
McCann, who hit a grand slam in Friday's 5-0 win, crushed a 2-1 pitch way out to right to put the Braves up 1-0 in the second. It was the 20th homer allowed by Blanton, and that's most in the NL.
After the Phillies took a 3-1 lead in the second, Martin Prado's RBI double with two outs in the third cut it to 3-2. The Braves went ahead with two more runs in the fourth.
Freddie Freeman and Chipper Jones started with consecutive singles. McCann lined an RBI single to right to tie it at 3. A fielding error on Pence allowed Jones to advance to third on the hit. He scored the go-ahead run on Andrelton Simmons' sacrifice fly to right.
The Phillies scored three in the second, an offensive outburst for a team has 15 total runs in its last seven losses.
After Pierre's double, John Mayberry Jr. was intentionally walked to load the bases. Blanton lined an RBI single to right to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Another run scored on Jimmy Rollins' fielder's choice grounder.
But that was it.
"It's hard for us to win because we don't play good enough," Manuel said.
Notes: Roy Halladay threw his third bullpen session before the game and could start a rehab assignment after the All-Star break. The two-time Cy Young Award winner may rejoin Philadelphia's rotation by mid-July. He's been sidelined since May by a lat strain. ... Blanton has allowed a homer in 11 straight starts after giving up just one in his first seven starts. ... Bourn was added to the All-Star team to replace injured Nationals INF Ian Desmond. ... The Phillies had their 263rd straight sellout, including postseason. ... Jair Jurrjens (2-2, 5.19) pitches for the Braves against Vance Worley (4-5, 3.46) in Sunday's series finale.
Updated July 8, 2012