PHILADELPHIA -- With losses in 15 of their previous 19 games and losing spins of six and seven games, the Phillies haven't been having what you'd call a good time lately. Somehow, though, the Padres always seem to be an antidote for what ails them in the City of Brotherly Love. After letting a three-run lead get away, the Phillies pushed across a run in the bottom of the ninth inning on Aaron Rowand's RBI single, cashing in Ryan Howard, to deal the Padres a 6-5 loss on Tuesday in front of 29,192 at Citizens Bank Park. That makes it 11 wins in a row and 12 of 13 across three seasons for Philadelphia against San Diego.
Cla Meredith (1-1) took the loss, with the win going to All-Star closer Tom Gordon (3-3). "Heartbreaking," Meredith called it. In the other dugout, heartwarming was more like it. The Padres had a 1-0 lead when a storm dumped torrents of rain on the field, causing a one-hour delay in the bottom of the second. It was 2-0, Padres, when the Phils erupted for five runs in the fourth against Clay Hensley with five hits, the big one a two-run homer by catcher Carlos Ruiz that was the first of his Major League career. "It's hard to believe they're where they are with that lineup," Padres rookie Josh Barfield said, having keyed the comeback with singles in the seventh and eighth inning, scoring a run and driving home another, as San Diego rallied to draw even at 5. "That's a tough loss, after we came back like we did with a chance to win," Barfield added. Barfield's two-out single against Gordon after working the count to 3-1 got the Padres even in the eighth, and the second baseman turned a double play with Khalil Greene on Bobby Abreu's grounder to turn away the Phils in the bottom half. Mike Piazza -- whose two-out single in the first drove home Mike Cameron against young lefty Cole Hamels -- opened the eighth with a double against Arthur Rhodes. Ben Johnson ran for Piazza and scored on Barfield's bullet to center following Vinny Castilla's single, but pinch-hitter Mark Bellhorn struck out looking to leave two stranded. Ryan Franklin, who relieved Hamels after the rain delay, surrendered the run in the fourth when Greene doubled and scored on Adrian Gonzalez's infield out. In the fifth, the Phillies got started with Chase Utley's single and Abreu's double on what would have been a balk by Hensley, who "got too quick" in the view of manager Bruce Bochy. Cleanup masher Howard banged a two-run single to right to even the score. After Pat Burrell's single put runners at the corners, Greene was unable to handle Rowand's grounder when the ball jumped up on him, with Howard scoring on the error. After David Bell bounced into a double play, Ruiz turned on a fastball for a two-run blast to left. Two of the five runs in the fourth were unearned. "The home run wasn't Clay's good moving sinker," Piazza said. "He got the [bat] head out on it. It's frustrating. [Hensley] was throwing the ball well; it was moving. But with the pitcher on deck, we've got to execute there." The Padres made it 5-4 in the seventh with a pair of runs against two Phillies relievers. After Gonzalez walked and Barfield singled against Rick White, Real Cormier yielded a single to smoking-hot Josh Bard, loading the bases. A one-out two-run single to right center by Eric Young had the Padres in business before Brian Giles bounced into an inning-ending double play. After the Padres left two runners stranded in the ninth, Howard opened the ninth with a single to right, moving up on Burrell's infield out before Rowand worked the count full and lined a ball to right for the game-winner. "I was trying to go out and get good wood on the ball," Rowand said. "He threw me a good sinker [on a pitch that Rowand fouled down the third-base line]. On the one that I hit, he made a mistake and left it up." Meredith, who lives down in the zone with his side-arming sinking action, agreed. "I didn't have great command," he said. "I was staying around the zone, making them swing the bat. The pitch I wanted on Rowand was a 2-2 slider that he stayed off. I tried to throw him a sinker away -- and I don't know how much it sank." Young expressed confidence that the Padres, with three tough losses in a row, will bounce back strong with Jake Peavy taking the mound on Wednesday night against rookie Scott Mathieson. "We're battling our butts off," Young said. "We can't get down. You don't want to go into the [All-Star] break on a sour note. We'll be all right."
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.