After Carlton departed, the Phils' bullpen finished one of this season's biggest disasters by frittering away what was left of Carlton's lead, then blowing a 9-7 advantage. Finally Dave Rucker supplied the coup de grace by serving up Wallach's home run on his second pitch.
So instead of being at the .500 mark and just one game out of second, the Phils are back to two below the break-even figure and three games behind the Expos. Of such setbacks is mediocrity bred.
"It seems like every time we're on the verge of getting to that .500 mark, something happens," said Phils manager John Felske, who has enjoyed being over .500 just one day in his 1 1/2-year managerial reign.
"With an 8-1 lead, you want the other team to hit the ball. But what killed Lefty was his walks. Then the bullpen just did not do the job, and we lost a game we never should have lost."
The Phils zoomed to their big lead with a dynamic start that included Mike Schmidt's two-run home run in the first inning, making six straight games in which the Phils have scored in the opening inning. They added three runs in the second on RBI doubles by John Russell and Steve Jeltz and an RBI single by Carlton and three more runs in the third, two on Glenn Wilson's homer and the other on Jeff Stone's triple.
Stone went on to single and double, and he threw out a baserunner for his third assist in a week. Juan Samuel also had three-quarters of a cycle as he singled, doubled and tripled.
But by the time the game ended, Samuel was in shock like everyone else. ''Do you believe that game? Do you believe losing when you score nine runs?" he asked.
Sadly, it all was very believable.
Carlton was nicked for a run in the first when Schmidt booted a grounder after the bases were loaded with two singles and a walk. Then came the third, when the Expos collected six runs.
The inning started with back-to-back home runs by Mitch Webster and Andres Galarraga. An out later came a grounder to first by Jim Wohlford that should have been the second out, except that Carlton was woefully late covering the base, and Wohlford had a gift hit.
Then it all unraveled. Vance Law followed with an RBI double, and Felske was itching to lift Carlton.
But next were Mike Fitzgerald and Al Newman, hardly the reincarnation of Mantle and Maris. "I figured he could get them out, and we'd stay out of the bullpen for a while longer," Felske said.
But Carlton walked both Fitzgerald and Newman, and finally Felske had enough.
He brought on Tom Hume, part of the soft underbelly of a Phils bullpen that looks thinner every day and could soon undergo some shakeups. Hume retired one batter, but then Tim Raines delivered a sinking liner to center that glanced off Ron Roenicke and wound up being a three-run double to make the score 8-7.
Schmidt followed Samuel's double in the fourth with a single to give him a league-leading 41 RBIs and the Phils a 9-7 lead.
But that lead disappeared in the seventh. Kent Tekulve gave up a single to Fitzgerald and a double to Newman, and on came Don Carman, who is as much a mystery as any of the Phillies relievers. He proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Jason Thompson and, after retiring Raines, served up a two-run single to Webster, who was thrown out at second by Stone to end the inning.
By then, the Phils' offense had exhausted itself. A triple by Samuel with two outs in the sixth was wasted when Schmidt lined out. A one out-double by Stone and a walk to Roenicke in the eighth were squandered when Samuel grounded out and Schmidt flied out.
And the Phils got a runner to second in the 10th when Steve Jeltz led off with a walk and was bunted to second. But Stone fanned and pinch-hitter Greg Gross lined out to Wallach.
Montreal left the bases loaded in the ninth as Steve Bedrosian escaped that mess.
Wallach walked up to the plate in the 10th and hammered Rucker for what had become by then an inevitable Phillies loss.
"What can you say after a game like that," said Von Hayes. "We've lost some tough games and bounced back, but this one was really pathetic."
Said Schmidt in the shellshocked Phils clubhouse: "All we can do is come back tomorrow and regain our momentum. What else can we do?"
Cry wouldn't be a bad idea.