For the Phillies, it didn't rain early enough, hard enough, or long enough to save them from a defeat that seemed inevitable when Jason Giambi's monstrous, first-inning home run fell into the second-level seats in right field.
The way the Phillies are hitting, they would have needed a mine shaft to lift them out of the three-run hole into which Giambi stuffed them as Colorado went on to grab a breezy, 7-1 win Thursday at Citizens Bank Park.
The graying, 40-year-old Giambi alone accounted for more runs than the Phillies have scored in a game since May 5. He hit three homers and knocked in all seven runs.
Following his three-run homer in the first, Giambi hit two-run homers in each of his next two at-bats. The anemic Phillies have scored a grand total of 10 runs in their last six games, and their recent stretch of futility has to be alarming, regardless of how badly injuries have depleted their lineup.
"We have to hit better and play the game better," manager Charlie Manuel said after the Phillies lost for the fifth time in the last six games. "We don't have balance in our lineup. It's like we're searching. Right now we're bad, and we've got to get better."
The Phillies did end a five-game streak in which they had five or fewer hits, but it wasn't easy. Ross Gload's leadoff single in the ninth was their sixth hit of the game. So the Phillies came within one game of equaling one of the club's all-time lows. They went six games with five or fewer hits from Sept. 9 to Sept. 15, 1959.
Raul Ibanez had two of the hits and drove home the only run with a ground-rule double in the fourth inning.
Few could anticipate such a prolific night coming from Giambi, and for good reason. He went into the game without a hit since April 10, a span of 18 at-bats. He was 3 for 24 for the season. But Giambi had the first three-homer game of a career that began in 1995, and his seven RBIs equaled his career best, which he'd accomplished three previous times.
"I felt like I was close, but something just wasn't right," said Giambi, who became the second-oldest player in the majors to hit three homers in one game. At 41, Stan Musial hit three against the Mets in 1962. "It was really exciting just to be able to contribute."
From the Phillies' perspective, the game was disjointed from the start. Joe Blanton, the scheduled starter, warmed up in the bullpen, but his problematic right elbow prevented him from taking the mound. Afterward, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Blanton would likely return to the disabled list.
On short notice, Kyle Kendrick made his second start of the season after pitching two innings Tuesday at St. Louis. The righthander had a 1.15 earned run average in his previous eight appearances, but the Rockies, especially Giambi, weren't impressed. Scorched by Giambi, Kendrick lasted three innings and allowed five runs and seven hits as boos poured down on him along with raindrops.
The crowd was treated to the spectacle of Cliff Lee pinch-hitting for Kendrick with a runner on and one out in the third inning, a move by Manuel to save bench players for some possible late-inning maneuvering. Turned out it wasn't necessary.
"I didn't have [Shane] Victorino available and I had four guys on the bench, including [catcher Dane Sardinha]," Manuel explained. "I didn't think we needed to use one of them that early in the game."
There were also the travails of Michael Martinez in center field, where he replaced Victorino. Martinez came in, then appeared to freeze, when Carlos Gonzalez ripped a line drive that went over Martinez's head for a double in the third inning. Gonzalez scored on Giambi's second homer off Kendrick to make it 5-0.
Colorado righthander Jhoulys Chacin was the latest to experience the joy of pitching against the Phillies. Before the game, Manuel pointed out Chacin's recent control problems, and hoped his hitters would show some patience. Chacin had walked 12 batters in his three previous starts. This time, he struck out nine and walked one in seven innings.