Philadelphia (52-51) at Chicago (56-47)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Chicago, IL
Temp: 67° F
  • Game info: 1:15 pm EDT Sat Jul 31, 2004
  • TV: FOX
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies were supposed to rise to the top of the NL East this year. Instead, they’re slipping out of contention.

The slumping Phillies look to avoid a season-high sixth straight loss when they continue a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

The Phillies lost their fifth in a row 10-7 to the Cubs on Friday. Philadelphia, picked by many to displace Atlanta atop the division this season, is just 8-14 in its last 22 games, dropping 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Braves.

Philadelphia last lost five in a row from April 8-12.

Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell each hit two home runs to give the Phillies an early lead Friday, but Chicago came roaring back behind three homers by Aramis Ramirez.

“It’s frustrating,” said Burrell. “It’s frustrating, period, to come here and play well, and not be able to win.”

Left-hander Eric Milton, who almost pitched a no-hitter against the Cubs last Sunday, was roughed up for six runs and eight hits in 5 1-3 innings. Philadelphia has allowed 42 runs while scoring 16 during its slump.

“You know, the name of the game is pitching. We’ve said that since the first day of spring training,” said Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa.

The Phillies, who opened this 13-game road trip by dropping four straight in Florida, visit San Diego and Los Angeles after finishing up with the Cubs.

“You have to keep battling,” said Phillies slugger Jim Thome, who went 0-for-5 on Friday and is 3-for-16 on the trip with two RBIs. “You have to keep everybody positive. You have to keep things upbeat.”

Ramirez hit three solo home runs for the Cubs, allowing him to jog instead of run around the bases. The third basemen missed 11 games earlier this month with a sore groin and is still running at less than full speed.

“I’m not 100 percent, but I can play and I proved today I can,” said Ramirez. “It’s a good feeling. You see the ball well and you know you can do everything at the plate.”

Derrek Lee also homered for the Cubs, who have won seven of their last 10 games.

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9-6 Record 9-13
4.85 ERA 3.68
125 K 190
51 BB 77
1.46 WHIP 1.28