When the Phillies left home a week ago, they had dropped four of six to the Boston Red Sox and Washington Nationals and slumped back below the .500 mark. The road wasn't going to be any easier - they started at first-place St. Louis and moved on to play an over-achieving New York Mets team.
Although the trip included one very big loss - Roy Halladay's right lat injury will keep him sidelined through the All-Star break - the Phillies have managed to stay within striking distance of the National League East lead. The Phils rallied from two runs down in the last three innings at Citi Field on Wednesday en route to a 10-6 win.
Despite seeing Halladay join Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Vance Worley on the disabled list, the Phillies won five of seven games on the road trip and are only three games back of the first-place Washington Nationals in the division.
"That's good," manager Charlie Manuel said. "That's all right. When we stay with it like we did tonight and we outplay the other team, that's what I'm talking about. It's consistency, it's wanting it, it's enjoying playing and passion for the game. When we do that and we execute, we do some good things right. ... It works out for us."
Their latest win came on a night when Cliff Lee pitched another game without getting a win. Despite sporting a 3.00 ERA in eight starts, Lee is winless in 2012.
But after he held the Mets to three runs in six innings, Lee was pinch hit for when his spot in the batting order came around after Brian Schneider hit a two-out double in the sixth. Carlos Ruiz, who had been out of the lineup for a third straight game with a right hamstring injury, stepped to the plate in place of Lee and ripped his eighth home run of the season to tie the game.
Shane Victorino added a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth, and the Phils put the game away by posting a six-spot in the ninth.
"We've got depth, we've got a lot of talent," Lee said of winning despite the mounting injuries. "Obviously, we'd like to have Utley and Howard back, no doubt about it, but we've had guys fill their shoes and if we play complete baseball, well-rounded baseball, we win."