Baltimore (31-37) at Philadelphia (36-30)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 53° F
  • Game info: 1:35 pm EDT Sun Jun 21, 2009
  • TV: MASN, WPHL
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Philadelphia Phillies have struggled at home all season, but Saturday’s defeat might have hurt the most.

The slumping Phillies look to avoid their second-longest losing streak ever at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday afternoon when they take on the surging Baltimore Orioles in the series finale.

Philadelphia (36-30) dropped its fifth straight and fell to 1-7 on its homestand with Saturday’s 6-5 loss to Baltimore. Ryan Howard(notes) wasn’t expected to play after being released from the hospital early Saturday morning with flu symptoms, but the 2006 NL MVP played in his 343rd straight game - the major’s longest current such streak - with a pinch-hit three-run homer in the seventh as Philadelphia rallied with five runs.

The NL East-leading Phillies, though, lost for the 21st time in 34 home games as Baltimore scored three in the ninth off Ryan Madson(notes).

“That’s the most deflating part, not getting it done for the those guys,” said Madson, who has two losses and two blown saves in his last three appearances.

The Phillies’ bullpen is 1-4 with a 7.09 ERA on the homestand.

“We’re not going good, but we can turn it around,” said Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel, whose team has dropped 12 of its last 13 at home in interleague play. “We’ve been there before.”

Since Citizens Bank Park opened in 2004, the Phillies have lost six or more in a row there just twice, including a record seven straight from Aug. 12-19, 2004.

Baltimore (31-37), meanwhile, won its fourth consecutive game Saturday after Gregg Zaun(notes) hit a solo homer and Brian Roberts(notes) launched a go-ahead, two-run shot in the ninth.

“I didn’t feel like we deserved to lose,” Roberts said after matching a career high with four RBIs. “It was a good one to come back and win.”

The Orioles, who are an AL-worst 10-20 on the road, give the ball to Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (4-7, 5.42 ERA) as they go for their first series sweep away from Camden Yards since taking all three in Kansas City from May 28-30, 2007. Baltimore is 12-8 all-time in Philadelphia.

Guthrie is 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in his last three starts. In his last outing, the right-hander gave up three runs in 6 1-3 innings of Tuesday’s 6-4 loss to the New York Mets.

Since that defeat, the Orioles are batting .336.

Baltimore faces Cole Hamels(notes) (4-2, 4.48) in the finale of the three-game set. Hamels had a solid start in Tuesday’s 8-3, 10-inning loss to Toronto - striking out six and allowing two runs - but he was dissatisfied with his six-inning performance. The left-hander has already had more outings of fewer than seven innings (10) than he did in 2008 (nine) when he went 14-10 in 33 starts.

“Being a top-tier pitcher, you’re supposed to give the bullpen a break,” Hamels told the Phillies’ official Web site Tuesday following his 110-pitch effort. “I guess I’m not living up to my caliber, and it’s just something I’m going to have to work at.”

Philadelphia, though, has won seven of Hamels’ last nine starts.

Baltimore’s Aubrey Huff(notes) went 2 for 4 Saturday and extended his hitting streak to eight with a first-inning single. Huff is batting .394 (13 for 33) during this stretch.

Howard is questionable for Sunday.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Guthrie KC vs. C. Hamels Phi
10-17 Record 10-11
5.04 ERA 4.32
110 K 168
60 BB 43
1.42 WHIP 1.29

Scoreboard

Sunday, Jun 21