It was a classic example of what has ailed the Phillies in the first quarter of the season - a struggling Cole Hamels, an ineffective middle relief corps, and a stalled offense.

Hamels surrendered five runs in five laborious innings and the bullpen matched that total Wednesday in a 10-4 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Citizens Bank Park.

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A pitcher's record can be deceptive, but Hamels is now 1-6 with a 4.61 ERA. In his one losing season, 2009, he was 10-11 with a 4.32 ERA.

"What you saw today was he was having a hard time putting the ball where he wanted it to go," manager Charlie Manuel said.

That about sums it up.

Hamels emphasized several times after the game that his struggles are not because of an injury.

"I feel healthy and strong and am able to throw all four pitches for strikes, but not able to do it nine out of 10 times," Hamels said.

"During the game I make adjustments all the time," he said. "At the same time the hitters are making adjustments, too."

An optimist would say that the Phillies are 19-22 even though their ace has struggled along with many of their top hitters, so there is plenty of room for improvement.

"I think we have been inconsistent," said second baseman Chase Utley, who has been the most consistent and productive offensive player.

Yet Utley, like many of his teammates, believes that the Phillies have hung around while not playing their best. The Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals have not pulled away in the NL East, as many expected.

"As inconsistent as we have been, we are still three-four-five games out of first with a lot of games to play," Utley said. "Clearly, we want to improve, and the only way is to keep working and take it game to game."

The Phillies at least have the consolation of knowing they won't have to face the Indians again. This year Cleveland (22-17) went 3-1 against the Phillies, outscoring them by 32-12.

Mark Reynolds hit a two-out, two-run double to left in the third to give the Indians a 2-0 lead.

The Phillies scored in the third when John Mayberry Jr. hit a one-out single, was sacrificed to second by Hamels, and scored on Rollins' single to right.

Before he exited, Hamels surrendered a solo home run to Mike Aviles in the fourth and a two-run shot by Nick Swisher in the fifth for a 5-1 lead.

In his five-inning stint, Hamels allowed five runs on six hits, striking out four, walking two, and hitting a batter. He has given up nine home runs in his nine starts.

Hamels threw 106 pitches, 64 for strikes.

Rollins' two-run double to right in the fifth against winning pitcher Corey Kluber got the Phillies to within 5-3.

Whenever the Phillies got close, Cleveland pulled away.

The Indians went up by 7-3 in the sixth on Asdrubal Cabrera's two-run single up the middle against Jeremy Horst. Both runs were charged to Chad Durbin, who replaced Hamels to begin the inning.

Jason Kipnis added a three-run homer for Cleveland off Raul Valdes in the eighth.

Carlos Ruiz's RBI double in the ninth ended the scoring.

The Phillies fell short of notching their first four-game winning streak of the season. They are now back to ground zero, and at this point it looks as if Hamels is as well.

Contact Marc Narducci
at mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow on Twitter @sjnard.