Everything was going smoothly. Roy Halladay was locked in on the mound. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard each hit massive solo home runs after being split up in the lineup by manager Charlie Manuel. The Phillies held a 3-1 lead as they handed the game over to the back end of the bullpen just the way they like to have it set up, but Antonio Bastardo and Mike Adams were unable to get the game in to the hands of closer Jonathan Papelbon and the Pittsburgh Pirates took game three of the series by a score of 5-3.
"I was just flat-out bad," Adams said after the game. Adams started the eighth inning by walking pinch-hitter Jose Tabata and following by serving up singles to the next two batters to allow the Pirates to tie the game. He then walked Andrew McCutchen after a great at-bat by the Pirates star player to load the bases with nobody out. Adams was lifted for Jeremy Horst, who allowed a ground ball single to left, slipping by the Phillies infield playing in instead of at double play depth. The Pirates took a one-run lead on the play and they would tack on one more run in the top of the ninth off of Horst for the 5-3 lead.
Every bullpen is going to let a game slip away from time to time. This one stung though, because the winning formula was right there for the Phillies. A dominant start by Halladay and home runs from Utley and Howard and the chance to set up the bullpen for a win. Domonic Brown even had a highlight reel diving catch in left field and Kevin Frandsen added an RBI single in a pinch hit appearance.
On the flip side, Michael Young's hitting streak has come to an end. Jimmy Rollins ran in to trouble. Ben Revere had a rough night. This team just cannot seem to put everything together on the same night. This team may just not be very good.
The good news was the performance of Roy Halladay. Halladay pitched six complete innings before being replaced with a pinch hitter (Frandsen with an RBI single). He struck out eight batters and walked two while allowing just one run on one hit. He also hit a batter and lowered his season ERA to 5.08. If there was any positive to be taken away from Wednesday night, Halladay's outing on the mound was it.
Cliff Lee will take the mound Thursday afternoon as the four-game series wraps up. The Phillies are looking to break even on this home stand after splitting a series with the St. Louis Cardinals and dropping two of three to the Pirates so far.