Manuel was clearly unhappy, but he tried to reassure his beleaguered relievers and their now-primary catcher.
"We win games like that, too," he said, looking directly at the relievers. "It's all part of it."
They have not won many like that lately. The Phillies are in an interesting position with eight games remaining in the regular season. With a five-game lead over the streaking Atlanta Braves, who again thrashed Washington yesterday, a historic collapse is highly unlikely.
But with injuries and ineffectiveness plaguing the bullpen and the lineup pressing, wins suddenly are elusive.
Take Chase Utley. The Phillies' best hitter was a major reason the team failed to batter weak starting pitchers the last two nights, and he is 1 for 13 in the series.
"I think he is trying hard," Manuel said. "When we're not playing good, he takes it real tough."
The other talented hitters were no better last night. "The top of our lineup was 0 for 14," Manuel said. "[Jayson] Werth and [Raul] Ibanez were 0 for 6. That might tell the story right there."
Members of the coaching staff privately acknowledge that Phillies hitters are trying too hard to drive runners in, leading to sloppy at-bats, and sometimes are overly focused on hitting home runs.
Asked whether he was worried about complacency, given that the Phillies have seemed inevitable division champions all summer, Manuel said: "I'm not [complacent]. You'll have to go ask them. I talk to them every day, and I hadn't seen nobody tell me that. I'm not taking it for granted that we've got the division won. No. Not at all."
It would be difficult to take the title for granted after watching last night's game. The Phillies allowed key pop-ups to fall on the grass. Starter Kyle Kendrick balked and made a throwing error. The team failed to attack middling starter Braden Looper.
With Brad Lidge no longer the closer, Manuel has hinted that Walker would assume the job. With Walker's quick loss, yet another candidate to stabilize the ninth inning faltered.
Trying to maintain a 5-5 tie, Walker began the ninth by allowing a single.
"When one run is going to end the game, you've got to get that first guy out," he said. "Then the pitch to Braun was not quite away, not quite down enough. . . . Now I have to regroup and come back at them tomorrow."
That cliche held more meaning than usual. The Phils truly do need to regroup and play with the urgency of a team yet to clinch.
"When we were in Atlanta [last weekend]," said Werth, "I just happened to look at their schedule and notice that, like, seven of their last 10 games were against the Nationals. Ever since I saw that, I realized that, potentially, they could still make a run at us. As far as I'm concerned, it's over when we've got it."
Contact staff writer Andy Martino at 215-854-4874 or firstname.lastname@example.org.