PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Ryan Howard(notes) spent two nights in the hospital this weekend. Raul Ibanez(notes) is injured, Jimmy Rollins(notes) is getting booed and not even a strong outing by Cole Hamels(notes) is enough to boost the slumping Phillies these days.
Brian Roberts(notes) had the decisive hit for the second straight game, a tiebreaking single in the eighth inning, and the Baltimore Orioles completed a three-game sweep of Philadelphia with a 2-1 victory Sunday.
“If we can find a way to lose one, that’s what’s happening,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a call at first base.
Roberts’ RBI single to center off Hamels (4-3) made it 2-1 and sent the Orioles to their fifth straight win. Roberts also hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth off Ryan Madson(notes) in a 6-5 victory Saturday night.
“He’s in the middle of things every game, whether it’s in the field or at bat,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “He seizes the opportunity whenever it is.”
The World Series champion Phillies paid for it. The NL East leaders have lost a season-high six straight, getting swept at home in consecutive interleague series by Toronto and Baltimore. Philadelphia went 1-8 on its homestand and fell to 13-22 at home—the Phillies are a major league-best 23-9 on the road.
They start a nine-game road trip Tuesday at Tampa Bay.
“I think it won’t hurt us to get on the road,” Manuel said. “But we’ve got to play better baseball than that on the road.”
Howard sat out after spending another night in the hospital with flu symptoms, ending his streak of 343 straight games played since May 25, 2007. It was the longest active streak in the majors.
Howard had a CT scan and needed antibiotics. He might have a sinus infection, Phillies trainer Scott Sheridan said.
Roberts’ key single made a winner of starter Jeremy Guthrie(notes) (5-7) for the first time since May 25. Guthrie tossed three-hit ball over seven innings and allowed only Greg Dobbs’(notes) fourth homer in the second inning.
Robert Andino(notes) led off the Baltimore eighth with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Roberts lined a single and the Orioles were on their way toward matching their longest winning streak of the season.
“There are worse things to get used to,” Roberts said.
Manuel was ejected in the eighth by first base umpire Larry Vanover for arguing what appeared to be a blown call. Rollins hit a slow grounder to first baseman Ty Wigginton(notes), who attempted to tag Rollins before he got to first. TV replays showed Rollins avoided the swipe, but he was called out and Manuel came running out of the dugout to protest.
Rollins went 0 for 4 to drop his average to .217 and heard boos after his at-bats as his slow start has morphed into the worst season of his career.
Manuel insisted he won’t drop Rollins from the leadoff spot again.
The Phillies have lost three games by one run and another in extra innings during their losing streak. With Howard ill, Monday’s off day comes at an opportune time.
“I think the key is we’re in first place,” Hamels said. “We’re fortunate everyone in the NL East is playing really bad.”
Hamels gave the overworked bullpen some needed rest with 10 strikeouts over eight innings. He walked none and gave up nine hits.
Howard’s absence provided an opportunity for Dobbs and he delivered just like the 2006 NL MVP. Dobbs, batting only .210 coming into the game, led off the second with a homer to right that made it 1-0.
Guthrie has allowed 28 runs in the first two innings this season and only 27 from the third inning on. He struck out four.
“This team has battled all year and they picked me up today,” Guthrie said. “Pitching against a guy like Hamels makes you focus a little more. They’ve been in a tough stretch and we wanted to take advantage of it.”
NOTES: Phillies closer Brad Lidge(notes) expects to be activated from the disabled list this week now that his right knee is close to full strength. Lidge said he’d make at least one more rehab appearance, on Tuesday for Class-A Clearwater, then either be activated Wednesday, or if a third rehab appearance is needed, on Friday in Toronto.