A six-game winning streak and chance to escape last place was skunked by a 7-5 loss to Boston. Joe Blanton was undoubtedly at fault, but so too was an offense that stranded 11 runners and hit 2 for 12 with men in scoring position.
Victorino's at-bat in the eighth inning of a two-run game was the signature moment. Aceves, the Boston closer, walked John Mayberry Jr. on four pitches after Rollins' run-scoring infield single. Victorino hacked at the first offering - a 94 m.p.h. fastball over the heart of the plate - and popped out. Rollins, the tying run, never made it past second base.
"I went up there looking for a cutter," Victorino said. ". . . I got the pitch I wanted and he just beat me. I tip my hat. He got me. It is what it is. I'm not going to sit here and question what I did."
Charlie Manuel said Victorino, who had three hits Saturday, was free to swing at a good pitch.
"It's pretty hard for me to put a take on there with the bases loaded," Manuel said. "You know?"
Ultimately, Blanton had dug too deep a hole. His night was gruesome. It required 102 pitches to record 13 outs. He served up four home runs. He committed two fielding errors.
In 41/3 innings, he allowed seven runs - the same total from his previous four starts (30 innings) combined.
The four home runs, a career-high for Blanton, were the loudest mistakes. He was the first Phillies pitcher to do that since Roy Halladay on Sept. 4, 2010.
Mike Aviles homered five pitches into the game. Will Middlebrooks and Jarrod Saltalamacchia smashed back-to-back bombs quicker than you could spell their names. And David Ortiz walloped one into the center-field shrubbery that mercifully ended Blanton's start.
"I threw a lot of pitches down the middle," Blanton said.
Manuel had a chance to minimize the damage but chose otherwise.
Once Freddy Galvis swatted a Jon Lester fourth-inning fastball deep into the night, Pete Orr retreated from the Phillies on-deck circle. The crowd at Citizens Bank Park chanted "Freddy! Freddy!" and it suddenly it was a one-run game again.
Orr stood in limbo on the second step of the Phillies dugout while Manuel contemplated his options. He called Orr back and let his pitcher hit. Blanton said he thought his night was over until Galvis' homer.
Had there been a runner on base, Manuel said, Blanton would have been removed. The offensive situation apparently changed Manuel's mind about Blanton's effectiveness.
"When Freddy homered, it's 5-4 and it's still early in the game," Manuel said. "I sent him back out there. I felt like he still had some left. I had confidence in him going back out there and pitching an inning or two."
But Blanton said his command worsened as his pitch count rose. And four batters into the next half inning the fans were pleading for Manuel to yank him. Finally, he relented, but not before the Red Sox had built an insurmountable 7-4 lead on the strength of Ortiz's blast.
The Phillies had their chances against Lester and let him wiggle free sans damage. Twice they hit into double plays to kill rallies in the fifth and six innings as Lester teetered.
They threatened again in the seventh, this time against Vicente Padilla, only to come away empty when Boston centerfielder Ryan Sweeney made a spectacular diving catch. It robbed the Phillies of two runs and secured a prime spot on highlight shows everywhere.
That image easily summarized a lost night.
Contact Matt Gelb at email@example.com or follow on Twitter @magelb.