The Phillies could use a clean inning at this point. Just one.

Not that they wouldn't take two or three or more, but first things first.

The Florida Marlins pounded them, 11-5, last night at Citizens Bank Park, which officially locked up a fourth consecutive losing April for the Phillies.

The Marlins have had at least one hit in every inning this series - that's 18 consecutive innings - which concludes this afternoon.

"It feels like it," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "I've seen a lot of hitting."

The problems last night started with Phillies righthander Adam Eaton, who is 2-2 with a 7.71 ERA in five starts. In 41/3 innings last night, Eaton allowed 10 hits, seven runs and three walks. He struck out four.

"It's frustrating, to say the least," Eaton said. "I just didn't get ahead of hitters very well. And when I did, I didn't make quality pitches when I had them behind in the count. I don't know if it's a tweak or a mind-set or what, but obviously it needs to change."

This certainly isn't the start the Phillies or Eaton envisioned when he signed a three-year, $24.5 million contract in the off-season to replace lefthander Randy Wolf.

"Obviously, I'm coming up a little short with my expectations, let alone with theirs," Eaton said.

Eaton struggled last night from the jump, which so far has been his modus operandi. He has allowed 13 runs in the first and second innings this season. He has allowed 12 in the rest. He also has allowed the leadoff hitter in every inning to hit .407 (11 for 27) with three walks.

So if it seems that Eaton always has been pitching with runners on base, it's because he typically has been.

Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez hit a leadoff double to right in the first inning to help the Marlins take a quick 3-0 lead. Dan Uggla followed Ramirez with a walk and Miguel Cabrera, who had a career-high 5-for-5 night, singled to load the bases with no outs.

"He's half man, half amazing," Marlins lefthander Dontrelle Willis said of Cabrera.

After Mike Jacobs grounded out to score Ramirez, Eaton walked Josh Willingham to load the bases again. Uggla scored on Joe Borchard's single to left-center and Cabrera scored on a fielder's choice.

Eaton allowed a two-run homer to Uggla in the second to make it 5-1, and two more runs in the fifth to make it 7-3.

There's no telling what might have happened if the Phillies had received any pitching, because they also continued to hit. They had a hit in every inning of this series until the seventh last night; they had a runner reach base in every inning of this series until the eighth.

Aaron Rowand, hitting in the leadoff spot, doubled in the first inning off Willis to extend his career-high hitting streak to 16 games. Rowand scored on Jimmy Rollins' one-out single to left.

The Phillies picked up runs in the second (Rod Barajas homered), third, fifth and sixth innings. But it wasn't enough.

"Eaton's got stuff, but he runs into command problems," Manuel said.

Still, the Phillies find themselves in position today to win their third straight series, which would be an accomplishment after their 4-11 start. Manuel was asked about having another losing April.

"That's disappointing, but that means we're going to have to have a big May," Manuel said. "That's all."

Lefthander Jamie Moyer will be on the mound today, and he will try to accomplish what no Phillies pitcher has accomplished so far against the Marlins: throw a clean inning.

Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki
at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.
Read his blog at go.philly.com/zozone.