Some time ago, Ryan Madson said he would have hidden from teammates and reporters after a game like Tuesday's. A year ago, he would have kicked a chair in the clubhouse and missed the next two months with a broken toe.
The maturation for the lanky righthander has come on and off the mound, the latest instance his peace of mind after allowing three ninth-inning runs in a 6-3 Phillies loss to the Cincinnati Reds at Citizens Bank Park.
"It was a good run for me," Madson said. "I'll just get back out there tomorrow and start another one."
No, Madson said, he knew he would not go the entire season with a 0.46 ERA, a statistic that was nearly impossible to sustain for an entire season. Call it regression to the mean, or whatever you want, but Madson blew a tie game wide open with two crucial mistakes.
He had converted all nine of his save opportunities, and though this was not a blown save for Madson, the loss was pinned on him.
"I'm already past it," he said.
Three runs scored when Jay Bruce smashed a bases-clearing double off the right-field wall. The first runner was the result of poor judgment by Madson, who fielded a Drew Stubbs bunt when he should have let third baseman Placido Polanco handle it. Instead, Madson threw wildly to first, and Stubbs was on second.
Madson said he did not hear Polanco calling for the ball until the last moment. Charlie Manuel said he could not blame Madson for trying to field it once he was in position, but the manager also said that from the dugout, he heard Polanco yelling.
"They caught a break and took advantage of it," Manuel said.
With two outs, the Phillies chose to intentionally walk reigning National League MVP Joey Votto to face Scott Rolen. He hit a sharp grounder to Polanco, who stabbed it but had nowhere to throw after double-clutching. So Cincinnati had loaded the bases without hitting a ball out of the infield.
After fanning at a first-pitch change-up and taking a fastball for a ball, Bruce did not let a mistake go by. Madson left a 94-m.p.h. fastball up in the zone. It landed on the dirt of the warning track.
"It was the right pitch," Madson said. "I just didn't make it."
The offense proved that three runs were the breaking point once again, failing to hold a lead before Madson entered. In the first four innings, the Phillies scored three runs, but none after that.
The Phillies also could have scored in the third, but Jimmy Rollins was thrown out trying to score on a Chase Utley single up the middle. It was Utley's first hit of the season (in his seventh at-bat), and third base coach Juan Samuel waved Rollins home. But Rollins had stuttered before the ball fell into short center field and was out long before he reached the plate.
It was an exercise in persistence for starter Vance Worley to survive just five innings. He said he began to feel tired near the end of the third inning because he had thrown no more than three innings since May 4. In between then, Worley served as setup man for the Phillies and made one start for triple-A Lehigh Valley.
He threw 93 pitches, and 43 were balls. He walked three batters, one intentionally, but another one was the opposing pitcher, Johnny Cueto, to lead off the fifth.
That was a regrettable one. After a double by Stubbs, two runs scored on a perfectly placed bloop single into right by Brandon Phillips.
Without flawless pitching, it was back to reality for a Phillies offense that will not score 10 runs a game. It ended unceremoniously when Rollins swung at the first pitch he saw from Francisco Cordero, breaking his bat and lining out softly to first.
Nights like Monday will bring a sellout crowd to its feet. But the final 114 games will not be without nights like Tuesday, too.