The Philadelphia Phillies may be on the verge of becoming the first professional sports team to reach 10,000 losses, but they certainly aren’t playing that way.
The Phillies try to complete a three-game sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals when the teams meet Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
Since suffering its 9,999th defeat on July 7th, Philadelphia (46-44) has rattled off three straight wins. The Phillies are outscoring opponents 31-11 and hitting .448 with seven homers and 10 doubles during that stretch.
They have recorded 23 runs and 37 hits in the first two games of this series, including a 10-4 victory on Saturday.
“You’ve got to win the best way you can,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, whose team is trying to win four in a row for the first time since a five-game winning streak April 21-25.
Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand homered while Pat Burrell added four RBIs for the Phillies, who scored a run in five of the first six innings to boost their NL-best total to 479. Rollins’ leadoff homer was the 22nd of his career and franchise-record fifth of 2007.
He is batting .378 (17-for-45) with five homers during a nine-game hitting streak and is 12-for-24 versus the Cardinals this season. Howard extended his hitting streak to eight games as Philadelphia beat St. Louis (40-47) for the fourth time in five meetings this season and improved to 7-1 in the last eight matchups.
The Phillies look to continue their solid play when they hand the ball to Adam Eaton (8-5, 5.69 ERA), who is trying to build on his first win in a month. The right-hander allowed four runs and eight hits, including two homers, over six innings in an 8-4 victory over Colorado on July 8th.
He walked one and struck out three to snap a four-start winless streak. Eaton is 1-3 with a 5.93 ERA in six career starts versus the Cardinals, including an 8-3 defeat on June 23 when he gave up six runs and eight hits over 5 1-3 innings.
He opposed Adam Wainwright in that contest and will do so again Sunday. Wainwright (7-7, 4.66) held the Phillies to two runs over six innings for the win, improving to 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in three career appearances against them.
The right-hander hasn’t started since July 5, when he carried a shutout into the eighth inning of a 3-2 victory over Arizona. He allowed two runs and five hits over seven-plus innings while inducing four inning-ending double plays.
“Adam did a great job,” closer Jason Isringhausen told the Cardinals’ official Web site. “When the starters can get six, seven, eight innings, it makes our job a lot easier. It usually works out for the best.”
The Cardinals have dropped four of five games since Wainwright’s last outing with the starting rotation posting a 6.04 ERA. Mike Maroth gave up six earned runs Saturday, the most by a St. Louis starter since June 15.
Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols homered for the second straight game Saturday - his 18th of the season - but is just 4-for-17 versus the Phillies this season. Shortstop David Eckstein went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his return after missing a month with a back injury.