The smallest crowd in Citizens Bank Park's 12-year history witnessed the Phillies drop their fourth series in five tries. A day after they "didn't do too much right," in the words of Ryne Sandberg, the second-year manager could have just as easily said the same about Thursday's matinee.
The Phillies committed two more fielding errors in a 9-1 loss to the Miami Marlins, giving them a major-league-worst 17 through just 16 games. Only three of their eight hits came before the eighth inning. Their lone run came in the final inning of a lost game.
The defeat, which came against a Marlins club that arrived in Philadelphia with just three wins, marked the ninth game in which the Phillies (5-11) scored two runs or fewer. They enter the series opener Friday against the visiting Atlanta Braves (8-7) averaging 2.6 runs and sporting a .213 team batting average.
"For the most part," Sandberg said, "it was not a good game for us."
An announced attendance of 17,097 was the lowest for a Phillies home game since June 4, 2003, at Veterans Stadium. Thursday marked the second time this month that the ballpark drew a record low; an announced crowd of 19,047 saw the Phillies beat the Nationals on April 10.
Marlins third baseman Martin Prado tagged Phillies pitching for three hits and four RBIs. Shortstop and No. 8 hitter Adeiny Hechavarria notched four hits, scored two runs, and drove in three of his own. Miami slugger Giancarlo Stanton smacked his second home run of the series, a laser shot over the left-field wall off reliever Justin De Fratus in the sixth inning.
Errors charged to Cesar Hernandez and Andres Blanco - the team's fourth and fifth over the last two games - didn't help matters. So much for the fundamental baseball Sandberg has stressed since he took the helm as the Phillies skipper.
"We need to make the routine plays, get the routine outs," leftfielder Ben Revere said, "because in the game of baseball, if you give the other team a second chance, they're going to make up for it."
"It's frustrating. It really is," Sandberg said. "We worked at it. We'll continue to work at it. Fundamental baseball is a priority. Making routine plays is a priority. Hitting the cutoff man is a priority. It's been disappointing the last two games."
Phillies pitching set a season high by allowing nine runs, and tied a season high by surrendering 12 hits. Dustin McGowan (1-1) started a game pitched by five Phillies relievers, running out of steam in a fourth inning in which he was charged with the game's first four runs. De Fratus gave up four more runs, three earned, two frames later.
David Phelps (1-0) held the Phillies to three hits over seven innings. The Marlins righthander faced the Phillies' 12th different lineup of the young season. For the first time ever, it did not include any holdovers from the 2008 World Series championship season. Chase Utley, hitting a woeful .120; Ryan Howard (.196); and Carlos Ruiz (.184) were given the afternoon off.
Darin Ruf, who doubled twice, was the only Phillies player with more than one hit.
"You definitely have to learn from some of the things we did today," Ruf said. "We made way too many mistakes defensively. You're not going to win too many ball games when you're giving up as many baserunners as we did. . . . We definitely have to clean up some things defensively."
BY THE NUMBERS
Announced attendance, the smallest crowd in Citizens Bank Park's 12-year history.
Errors by the Phillies this season, the highest total in baseball.
Carlos Ruiz's batting average. Chase Utley is batting .120 and Ryan Howard .196.