For one night, at least, the 2007 Phillies became linked to the stumbling clubs of the 1920s, '30s and '40s, along with the '61 team that lost 23 straight, and the '64 Fizz Kids.
In fact, they became linked to all of the Phillies teams in the franchise's 125-year history. The Phils last night reached a dubious distinction as they became the first team in any sport to lose 10,000 games, dropping a 10-2 decision to the St. Louis Cardinals before a sellout crowd of 44,872 at steamy Citizens Bank Park.
Reaching the milestone, behind Adam Eaton.
Like many before him, he took a sound beatin'.
Righthander Adam Wainwright, one of the heroes of St. Louis' World Series championship last year, pitched seven shutout innings, Albert Pujols slammed two of his team's six home runs, and Scott Rolen tormented his ex-teammates as the Cardinals ended the Phillies' three-game winning streak before the sixth straight sellout at The Bank.
It seemed almost fitting that Rolen (two hits, RBI) played a role in the historic loss. Rolen, after all, was part of one of the worst trades in recent Phillies history. The third baseman doubled and scored the game's first run on Adam Kennedy's second-inning double, then gave the Cards a 3-0 third-inning lead with an RBI groundout off Eaton, whose ERA climbed to 5.98.
"I don't know much about 10,000 losses. I try to concentrate on wins," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We really didn't talk about the 10,000 losses."
"We were so stressed out about it," said Eaton, tongue firmly in cheek, after again struggling mightily with his command. "If you're around for 125 years, you should be the first to get to a great milestone like that."
"We weren't worried about it; it was inevitable," centerfielder Aaron Rowand said. "With 30 more losses, we're in the playoffs."
Mahaffey, Carman and Leiter led the league in losses.
Joe Cowley and Kyle Abbott made some highly forgettable tosses.
Leading by 3-0, St. Louis broke the game open with three runs in the fifth, sending Eaton (six runs, 10 hits in four-plus innings) to an early exit. Skip Schumaker opened the inning with a double, and Pujols, perhaps getting into the spirit of the night, ripped a pitch that seemed to go 10,000 feet to center.
Actually, it was estimated at 441 feet, but it bounced high off the brick wall beyond the center-field fence or it might have traveled four or five digits. After being benched by his own manager in the All-Star Game, Pujols homered in each of the three games in the series. He belted his second homer of the night - and fourth of the series - with a majestic seventh-inning shot to left off Brian Sanches.
Take that, Tony La Russa.
With fans bringing homemade signs that read "Let's Worry About 10,000 Tomorrow" and "10,000 IS NOT IN THE CARDS," the Phils had hoped to sweep St. Louis in Philly for the first time since 2003.
Instead, the Phillies, who had erupted for 23 runs and 37 hits in the first two games, squandered early scoring chances that could have given the game a different look. In the third, with the bases loaded and two outs, Chase Utley grounded out weakly to first. With runners on first and second and one out in the fourth, Greg Dobbs popped out to Rolen, and Rod Barajas took a called third strike.
Trailing by 6-0, the Phils loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. No matter. Dobbs popped up and pinch-hitter Wes Helms grounded out.
In case there was any doubt that history was going to be made - in front of a nationally televised audience - Pujols, Juan Encarnacion and Kennedy launched solo homers off Sanches in the seventh to make it 9-0. Pinch-hitter Ryan Ludwick homered in the eighth, also off Sanches.
Pujols has hit half of his 20 home runs this season on Sundays. All four of his two-homer games have been on Sundays.
The Phils pushed across their first run when Michael Bourn hit his first major-league homer, a solo shot off Andy Cavazos, to start the ninth. Utley's double scored another run, but with the fans standing and cheering loudly - maybe they thought their "10,000th loss" tickets would be worth money? - Ryan Howard struck out and the Phillies were infamous.
So now it's official, those 10,000 losses.
Go celebrate and skip work, we won't tell your bosses.