The Philadelphia Phillies came out of the All-Star break looking determined to put off a dubious franchise milestone as long as they can.
The Phillies try to keep rolling against the St. Louis Cardinals’ woeful pitching when they continue a three-game series Saturday at Citizens Bank Park.
The Phillies (45-44), who have 9,999 franchise losses, entered the break with an 8-4 victory over Colorado. Philadelphia averted the much-talked-about defeat for at least another day Friday, routing St. Louis 13-3.
It was the largest margin of victory this season for the Phillies, who will eventually become the first professional sports team to reach 10,000 losses.
“It’s going to happen. It’s inevitable,” said Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who along with his teammates has endured constant questions about the milestone as it has drawn closer. “We could be perfect, but I doubt it.”
Philadelphia may be able to put that defeat off for a while if it continues to hit the way it did Friday. The Phillies chased Cardinals starter Kip Wells early, scoring five runs off him in the first inning. After Wells gave up his eighth hit of the game in the second inning, he was pulled for Troy Cate, but things didn’t get much better for St. Louis.
Seven Phillies had multi-hit games, including Chase Utley, who was 4-for-5 with a homer, two runs and three RBIs. Greg Dobbs also had four hits and Rollins drove in three runs. Philadelphia’s 23 hits were a season high.
The only bright spot for St. Louis (40-46), which fell behind 9-0, was Albert Pujols breaking a career-high 22-game home run drought with a solo shot in the eighth.
Wells’ performance was yet another dismal outing from a Cardinals starter, as St. Louis came in with an NL-worst 22 wins and 5.31 ERA from starting pitchers this year. The struggling staff didn’t receive much help Friday from a lineup that managed just seven hits while committing four errors - two by catcher Yadier Molina.
After needing six pitchers to get through Friday’s loss, the Cardinals could use a lengthy outing from Mike Maroth (0-1, 4.11 ERA) on Saturday. The left-hander, making his fourth start for St. Louis after being acquired from Detroit on June 22, didn’t pitch deep into either of his last two outings.
After debuting with the Cardinals with 7 1-3 innings of one-run ball against the New York Mets on June 25, Maroth lasted just three and five innings in his next two starts.
He faced the Phillies in interleague play in 2002 and ’04, going 0-1 with a 2.08 ERA in those two starts.
Fellow left-hander Cole Hamels (10-4, 3.72) will oppose Maroth. The 23-year-old Hamels entered the break tied for the NL lead in wins.
Hamels is 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in two starts against the Cardinals. He allowed one run and three hits in three innings of a start against them June 24, but was forced out by a rain delay in St. Louis’ 5-1 win.