BOSTON - By the middle of it, the fans at Fenway Park turned their attention to more pressing matters, joining together in loud chants of "Beat L-A!"
Presumably, they were cheering on the hometown Celtics, who are deadlocked with the Lakers in the NBA Finals, although could have been harkening back to May 1982, when Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen made the one and only start of his major league career here against the Red Sox.
Either way, they weren't paying much attention to the game on the field, mostly because, after the second inning, it wasn't much of a game.
Jamie Moyer allowed nine runs on three outs, Charlie Manuel pulled every regular he could in the fourth inning, and the Phillies suffered a 12-2 loss and dropped to third place in the National League East with a 31-28 record.
And, really, there isn't much more that can be said.
"It's quite obvious," said Moyer, who was lifted after allowing four straight hits, three of them doubles, to start the second inning. "I didn't execute. And when I did, they hit the ball hard. It's pretty simple."
Moyer entered the night coming off his second complete game in what has been an impressive comeback season for the 47-year-old. But the Red Sox hit him early and hit him hard. Ten of the 13 batters Moyer faced reached base, producing six doubles and a two-run homer by Mike Lowell. The Red Sox scored five runs in the first inning and three more before David Herndon relieved Moyer with no outs and a man on second in the second.
Moyer was charged with nine runs in just an inning of work, his shortest start since 1997 and only the fifth in his career in which he failed to record more than three outs.
Moyer allowed three earned runs in 2/3 of an inning and seven runs in 1 1/3 innings in his rookie year of 1986. But yesterday was easily the worst start of his career. To put it in perspective, only five other times in 621 career starts of any length has Moyer allowed nine or more earned runs, most recently in 2002, when he allowed 10 earned runs in 5 2/3 innings against the Red Sox.
"In this ballpark, you are going to give up runs, but you have to stop the bleeding," said Moyer, whose ERA rose from 3.98 to 5.03 during the loss. "Tonight, I didn't have the ability to do so."
The Red Sox added three more runs in the third inning against Herndon, and in the fourth, Manuel removed starters Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley from the game.
"I might as well get my bench in and let them play some," Manuel said. "Get [the starters] off their feet, and get those [bench] guys some at-bats, too."
The Phillies lost for the fourth time in five games, the eighth time in 11 games, and the 13th time in 18 games. The last time they were ranked lower than second in the NL East this late in a season was Aug. 15, 2007.