Brewers beat Phillies, push win streak to 6

Ryne Sandberg narrowed down the Phillies’ issues to just three things: “We need to swing the bats and score some runs, we need to play defense and we need to pitch,” Sandberg said.

Other than that, all is rosy for the Phillies right now.

The Brewers closed out a dominating three-game sweep of the reeling Phils Thursday night with a 6-2 win at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).

The Brewers won the three games by a combined 25-10, they hit .325 and they won each game by at least four runs.

“The good news is they're going out of town,” Sandberg said.

Last time the Phillies were swept in a series of at least three games and lost each game by four or more runs?

That was a Red Sox series here in June of 2005, nearly nine years ago.

“We got beat,” losing pitcher Cliff Lee said. “They beat us all three games. There’s no way around it. But we got to put it behind us and move on and come in here [Friday] and try to get headed in the right direction.”

The Phils have now lost four straight to fall to 3-6 and in sole possession of last place in the National League East, already four games behind the Nationals.

There are still 151 games left, but no team in baseball has fewer wins, and the Phils looked lifeless Thursday night for a fourth straight game.

How bad have they looked? The 6-2 loss Thursday night was actually their closest during the four-game losing streak.

Sandberg conceded after the game that the Phils do look flat right now.

It didn’t help that the official attendance of 25,492 was the smallest at Citizens Bank Park in seven years.

“When you have a lack of action on the bases and you're not putting numbers up on the board, it can look that way,” he said.

“We have a new series starting tomorrow. We need to do some things differently and change the momentum a little bit.”

The Phillies open a three-game series with the Marlins on Friday evening.

Against the Brewers, the Phils just weren’t competitive.

“You want to start fast and finish the same way, try to ride it out,” said Marlon Byrd, who drove in both Phils runs with a solo homer in the second and an infield single in the sixth.

“It’s one of those things right now where it didn’t start that way for us. There’s nothing we can do, you can’t go back. We have to figure out how to start winning series. It starts [Friday].”

As usual, the Phils had a few chances.

Bases loaded with two outs in the sixth, and Domonic Brown lined out to center.

First and second with two outs in the eighth, and Byrd struck out.

That was it. Marco Estrada pitched six effective innings, and the Brewers’ bullpen allowed nothing in three innings.

The Phils managed just six hits -- two by Byrd, two by Chase Utley, one each by Carlos Ruiz and Jimmy Rollins -- and struck out 12 times.

They are 5 for 35 with runners in scoring position during the four-game losing streak.

“We just haven't been able to come up with a big hit with some men on base to put up a crooked number,” Sandberg said.

“One hit here or there with some men on base and it would be a little different. We haven't had that since Texas and the first couple games in Chicago. We haven't gotten that hit with a couple of guys on. We've been shut down in those situations. We've been lacking in the last four games.”

The Phillies’ three starters in the Marlins series -- A.J. Burnett, Jonathan Pettibone and Kyle Kendrick -- will each be looking for their first win of the year.

Lee fell to 2-1, allowing eight hits and three earned runs in six innings. He’s been hit hard in two of his three starts.

“They were definitely aggressive,” he said. “For me, I felt like I should use my changeup more and I did that. They’ve got a pretty good lineup. There’s no way around it. They swung the bat well. They’re a good hitting team. They proved that throughout this whole series. They flat out beat us.”

- Reuben Frank, CSN Philly