BOSTON -- It was almost midnight and Phillies players and coaches walked around the cramped clubhouse at Fenway Park looking as if they were in a catatonic state. They had long ago become numb to all the losing, but these two nights left them absolutely drained.
"Very much so," confirmed manager Pete Mackanin.
Two nights in Boston produced two more losses for baseball's worst team, two extra-innings losses that ended with the Boston Red Sox dancing on the field while the Phillies trudged off with their heads down.
On Monday night, Dustin Pedroia, one of the Red Sox old-guard players, beat the Phillies with a walk-off single in the 11th.
On Tuesday night, Andrew Benintendi, one of Boston's brilliant young stars, beat the Phils with a walk-off bullet to right field in the 12th against Luis Garcia. Benintendi's hit gave the Red Sox a 4-3 win and the Phillies their seventh straight loss (see Instant Replay). The Phils are 21-42 overall.
The four-game, home-and-home series continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia. And if the next two games are anything like the first two, get ready for some long, draining nights.
"We've played these guys tough," Mackanin said. "They can't say we're a pushover."
Benintendi was also a defensive star in this game. His throw from left field cut down Howie Kendrick at the plate in the eighth inning to keep the score tied 3-3.
Third base coach Juan Samuel waved Kendrick, who had been on first base, on a hard shot off the Green Monster by Maikel Franco. Twenty-four hours earlier, Mackanin had talked about the need to take chances on the bases because the team wasn't producing runs.
Samuel took a chance. It did not pay off.
"I didn't have an issue with that," Mackanin said. "We had 12 hits. But we just couldn't get big hits after (Aaron) Altherr's (two-run) home run (in the third inning."
Franco, struggling to find consistency, had the kind of game that could ignite a hot streak. He had three singles, a double and a walk. The double high off the left-field wall in the eighth was scorched and would have been a homer run in any other stadium in baseball. His single with one out and a man on in the 10th also hit high off the wall and would have been out of any other stadium.
"Two home runs, four RBIs if the wall is not there," Franco said.
And most likely a victory.
"It's part of the game, you know?" Franco said. "Keep on swinging."
Mackanin was thrilled to see Franco swing the bat so well.
He acknowledged that Franco would have had two homers if the game were played at Citizens Bank Park.
"But we're here, so ...," Mackanin said. "It still bodes well for Mikey. I'm glad to see him looking like we know he can swing the bat. So that was nice to see."
The Phillies had plenty of chances in this one. They left 13 men on base, including three in the second, three in the eighth, two in the 10th and two in the 11th.
Aside from Franco's work at the plate, the Phillies took one other big positive out of the game. Rookie right-hander Ben Lively pitched seven innings of three-run ball in his third big-league start. The Phils have had a starter go more than six innings just 13 times this season and Lively owns three of those efforts.
Lively gave up a run in each of the first three innings, but put up four straight zeroes before departing.
"He showed a lot of guts," Mackanin said. "He got hit around early, but then he didn't shy away. He didn't start nitpicking. He wasn't afraid to throw strikes. He came right after the hitters. Very impressive, three seven-inning stints in a row."
Lively is the first Phillies starter since Billy Champion in 1969 to go seven or more innings and allow three or fewer runs in his first three starts.
"It's nice," he said. "But it's always better to win. I felt like if I was a little more settled in early in the game, it could have been a different outcome tonight."