The Philadelphia Phillies continue to struggle at home, even against the team with the AL’s worst road record.
The slumping Phillies look to snap a four-game slide at Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night when they continue their three-game set against a Baltimore Orioles club trying to win its first series in Philadelphia since 2002.
Philadelphia (36-29) fell to 1-6 on its homestand with a 7-2 loss Friday. The NL East-leading Phillies are a major league-best 23-9 on the road this season, but they were showered with a chorus of boos in the series opener as their record at home sunk to 13-20.
“The first rule of thumb is get a good ball to hit,” said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, whose team is batting .232 during its skid. “When it’s a 2-0 or 3-1 count, sometimes when I look at our hitters, it looks like they’re in the hole.
“We can coach you and tell you things to do, but you’re the ones hitting. You have to execute.”
That hasn’t been a problem for the Orioles (30-37), who are hitting .322 while winning five of six.
Matt Wieters(notes) extended his hitting streak to four with a game-tying, two-run double in the third inning. The highly touted rookie catcher is batting .367 (11 for 30) in his last eight games. He scored the go-ahead run in the third on an RBI single from starting pitcher Rich Hill(notes).
The left-hander went 6 2-3 innings and allowed two runs and five hits as the Orioles snapped a five-game slide away from Camden Yards and improved to 9-20 on the road this season.
“(Hill) pitched well,” Baltimore manager Dave Trembley said. “The most important thing was he got guys out after they scored.”
Brad Bergesen(notes) (4-2, 3.79 ERA) takes the mound as the Orioles go for their first series win in Philadelphia since taking two of three at Veterans Stadium from June 14-16, 2002. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander tossed his first complete game Sunday in an 11-2 rout of Atlanta.
“I had a couple balls hit hard that worked out in my favor today, right at guys,” he told the team’s official Web site. “I just kept pounding the strike zone.”
He’s 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA in his last two starts.
Philadelphia counters with J.A. Happ(notes) (4-0, 3.53). In an 11-6 win over Boston on Sunday, Happ matched a career high with three homers allowed, including back-to-back shots by Rocco Baldelli(notes) and Nick Green(notes) as the Red Sox scored four times in the second inning.
Happ went 5 2-3 innings after throwing 58 of his 108 pitches in the first two innings.
“Finally I was able to convince myself to slow down a little bit and try to hit my spots and actually pitch the count a little more, and that was the difference,” he said.