Lefties get best of Wellemeyer in loss

Lefties get best of Wellemeyer in loss

PHILADELPHIA -- Todd Wellemeyer was searching for answers after his latest outing.

He didn't have any.

In a season in which the hard-throwing right-hander has struggled mightily against left-handed batters, the frustrating trend continued on Sunday.

The Cardinals fell to the Phillies, 9-2, and dropped their second in a row before a sellout crowd of 45,271 at Citizens Bank Park. Wellemeyer allowed 11 hits and seven runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings and saw his ERA increase to 5.79.

"It could be anything from pitch selection to tipping your hand to them to pitch location," Wellemeyer said. "There are a lot of different factors. I wish I knew exactly."

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa knows how much talent Wellemeyer possesses. But he cited some poor selection which hurt his starter.

"He makes some pitches and shows you his potential," La Russa said. "Way too many mistakes. ... The linescore is how he pitched. He made a bunch of mistakes."

Entering the game, Wellemeyer (7-9) had allowed 70 hits, including 11 home runs, and a .340 average against lefties.

Wellemeyer was especially hurt by lefties Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Utley (3-for-4) slammed a two-run homer to right field in the third inning while Howard crushed a two-run shot deep over the center-field wall in the fifth for a 5-2 lead. Howard's blast landed 433 feet from home plate.

"On Utley's hit, I thought it was a popup and it went out to right," Wellemeyer said. "Against Howard, I threw a 2-2 fastball, which was a two-seamer down the middle. He caught it."

Wellemeyer said he tweaked his calf before coming out in the sixth, but was all right. What bothered him was the result.

"I still felt very good," Wellemeyer said. "I felt like I had command of all my pitches. I got ahead of a lot of guys. The line doesn't look good. We lost the game. As far as mechanics, I felt very good."

Switch-hitting Jimmy Rollins added a two-run homer from the left side in the sixth.

Blake Hawksworth, who was recalled Sunday from Triple-A Memphis, surrendered a two-run home run to Raul Ibanez in the seventh.

Mark DeRosa hit a solo home run in the fifth against Joe Blanton. Julio Lugo had two hits, giving him eight in his first three games with the Cardinals.

Lugo has hit safely in 20 of his 22 career games against the Phillies with a .452 average -- 38-for-84 with three homers, 13 RBIs and 19 runs scored. With his two hits in this game, Lugo has hit safely in 13 straight against Philadelphia.

Newly-acquired Matt Holliday added a hit, increasing his total to seven in the series.

"They both had a very good series," La Russa said.

So did DeRosa, who raised his average to .266 with two hits. Despite losing two of three against the Phillies, he said the club's confidence is very strong.

"We swung the bats well," DeRosa said. "Every time we scored, they put a two- or three-spot on the board. They're a very good team."

The Cardinals will now regroup after a 2-5 road trip and head home to begin a seven-game series starting Monday against the Dodgers. After four games against the Dodgers, they'll face the Astros for three. Houston swept the Cardinals to begin this road trip.

"Going 2-5 is barely surviving, not a good trip," La Russa said. "We've been a good road club. We're not going to get all psycho about it."

Not with the number of veterans on this club.

"We haven't been home that much this month," DeRosa said. "We didn't play as well as would have liked on this trip, but we'll bounce back. You go through ups and downs. We'll go home and start a new series and try and get back to the level we were playing at. We're going to keep playing hard."

Andy Jasner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.