The fight came a little too late for the Phillies, but at least they went down scoring.

Right now, the Phillies will take any positive offensive measure they can find.

Trailing by 5-0 entering the ninth inning, the Phils averted a shutout but suffered a 5-1 loss to the Chicago Cubs Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

The Phillies, who were limited to two hits by three Chicago pitchers, loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the ninth against righthander Carlos Marmol. That brought to the plate Ty Wigginton, who didn't extend his 13-game hit streak but was issued a walk to force in the Phillies' lone run.

With the tying run at the plate, Shane Victorino ended matters by grounding out to shortstop.

The Phillies (10-12) have lost two of three to the Cubs (8-14). For what it's worth, the winning team scored five runs in each of the three games in this four-game series, which concludes Monday.

The Phillies are now averaging 3.2 runs per game. Yet they are also plagued by mental and physical miscues in this rough start to a much-anticipated season.

"I think what you see is we have been making mistakes, even in games we've been winning," manager Charlie Manuel said. "When you win, there isn't a lot said about them, but we've been making mistakes ever since the season started."

No wonder the Phillies are guaranteed to finish with a losing April for the first time since going 11-14 in 2007.

Jimmy Rollins led off the Phillies' first inning with a single, but it would be the only hit that starter Matt Garza would yield in seven dominating innings in which he struck out 10 and walked one.

Juan Pierre followed with a forceout of Rollins, and then made one of those mistakes Manuel mentioned.

With Hunter Pence at the plate, a pitch got away from catcher Wellington Castillo, who retrieved it and threw Pierre out at second.

"You read ball in the dirt, I went, the guy scrambled and made a good throw," Pierre said.

When the offense struggles, these mistakes become magnified.

Kyle Kendrick (0-2) took the loss, allowing three runs in six innings, two of which were earned, on five hits. The righthander also struck out seven, tying a career high that he achieved on Aug. 2 of last year at Colorado.

With the way the offense has been going, and the way Garza was dealing, leaving with a three-run deficit wasn't a good position to be in.

"As the game went on, I kind of felt better and got more consistent," Kendrick said. "I was missing down [early] and they had a couple of key hits."

The Cubs scored single runs in the second, third, and fourth innings.

In the second inning, Bryan LaHair led off with a double and went to third on Jeff Baker's double that Pence misplayed in right. Pence came in on the ball, which went over his head.

"He hit the ball hard and I have to go back immediately, but I didn't get the right read, so I didn't make the play," Pence said.

LaHair scored the game's first run on Ian Stewart's RBI groundout.

Speedy Tony Campana opened the third with a single and went to second on an errant pickoff attempt. First baseman Laynce Nix was charged with the error. Another key miscue.

Campana advanced to third on a groundout and scored the unearned run on a sacrifice fly by Starlin Castro in a close play at the plate after a strong throw by Pence.

The Cubs made it 3-0 on leftfielder Joe Mather's first home run of the season in the fourth. Chicago added two runs in the eighth off reliever David Herndon on an RBI fielder's choice by Castro and a run-scoring single by Baker.

Then the Phillies made their brief comeback before clinching a losing month in April.

Contact Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com. Follow @sjnard on Twitter.