ARLINGTON, Texas -- There was no surprise 14-run explosion for the Phillies on Tuesday night, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t have picked up another win in the young season.
The bullpen failed to protect a late one-run lead and the Phils suffered a 3-2 loss to the Texas Rangers (see Instant Replay).
The Phils (1-1) won Monday's opener, 14-10.
Rangers’ cleanup man Adrian Beltre tied Tuesday night's game with a two-out RBI double in the seventh and won it with an RBI single with one out in the bottom of the ninth.
Beltre’s game-winning hit came against right-hander B.J. Rosenberg, who entered after rookie Mario Hollands walked two men in a crucible of a major-league debut. Both of the batters that Hollands walked were left-handed hitters -- Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder.
“I’m supposed to get those guys out whether it’s my first time or not,” Hollands said.
Manager Ryne Sandberg had already used Jake Diekman and Antonio Bastardo in the seventh and eighth innings. Diekman, in fact, gave up the game-tying hit to the right-handed hitting Beltre in the seventh.
Hollands came into spring training largely as an unknown and pitched his way onto the club with a strong performance in Florida. Sandberg could have gone with Brad Lincoln or Justin De Fratus in the ninth -– both have big-league experience –- but he chose Hollands because he was left-handed and showed promise in spring training.
“That’s a tough spot for him,” Sandberg said. “Even though he walked two guys, I thought he showed his stuff. He might have been one pitch away from getting Fielder.”
The walk to Fielder ended Hollands' night. Enter Rosenberg, who allowed two hits and walked a batter in Monday’s opener. Rosenberg has allowed three inherited runners to score in two appearances. Sandberg has used him in big situations because “Coming out of spring training he was throwing the best.”
Given the lefties Texas sent up in the ninth inning, it might have been good to have Bastardo in that inning, but Sandberg wanted to use him in the eighth inning -- even if it was against the bottom of the order -- with the game tied.
“Being on the road, Bastardo is our eighth-inning guy,” Sandberg said. “We’re trying to put a zero up there and trying to score in our half of the inning. We went that route.”
There were other factors in the loss beside the bullpen.
A.J. Burnett and Martin Perez hooked up in a scoreless duel for five innings before the Phillies broke through with two runs in the sixth. They scored both of those runs after Ben Revere, another potential run, was picked off second base in a play that had to be reviewed before the umpires got it right.
“That was a big play,” Sandberg said. “He wasn’t going anywhere. He was getting his lead and [Perez] quick-picked him. As it turned out we could have possibly put up a crooked number there.
“Ben was trying to be aggressive so he could score on a hit. You don’t want to get picked off there. Hopefully we’ll learn from it.”
Ryan Howard, dropped from the cleanup spot for the first time since June 2008, a span of 665 starts, capped that inning with a two-out RBI double off the lefty Perez. The double gave the Phils a 2-0 lead.
Howard had a chance to do more damage when he batted with two men on base and the score tied 2-2 in the top of the eighth. He struck out swinging at a breaking ball off the plate from lefty Neal Cotts.
“It is what it is,” Howard said of being moved out of the cleanup spot, a move Sandberg may employ more often against left-handed starters. “Where we hit in the lineup is Ryno’s decision. My job is to get hits and knock in runs. Whether I hit fourth or fifth, I’ve got to do a job.
“I was able to come through in [the sixth inning]. I wish I could have come through later on. But that’s a situation where it doesn’t matter if I’m hitting fourth or fifth.
“I was a little anxious. It’s early. I’m still working out some kinks. I have to let the ball travel a little deeper and not be so quick.
“I’ll get in the cage tomorrow and keep working to get better, so if that situation presents itself again there will be a different result.”
The Phillies face another left-handed starter (Robbie Ross) in Wednesday’s series finale. After Tuesday night’s game, Sandberg was asked where Howard would hit Wednesday.
“I haven’t done the lineup yet,” the manager said.