PITTSBURGH -- A trademark of a Charlie Manuel team is its ability to keep cool.
The Phillies tried to keep everything in perspective after a frustrating and disappointing weekend at PNC Park, where Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Vance Worley allowed just nine hits and two runs in 20 innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the Phillies offense hit just .204 (20-for-98) overall and .194 (4-for-21) with runners in scoring position -- despite its attempts to play small ball and manufacture runs as much as humanly possible.
The Phillies lost two of three to the Pirates, including Sunday's 5-4 loss.
They are below .500 for the first time since April 24, 2009, when they were 7-8.
"Yeah, you couldn't say we've played good," Manuel said. "But we've played three games."
But those three games have only exacerbated concerns about the team's offense and bullpen.
The Phillies on Sunday wasted what was their best offensive performance of the season. Four runs hardly counts as a windfall, but they doubled their offensive production from the first two games, in which they scored just two runs in 19 innings.
Shane Victorino singled, advanced to second on a fielder's choice and scored on Hunter Pence's double into the left-field corner to hand the Phillies a 1-0 lead in the first inning. It was just the Phillies' second extra-base hit of the season. Pence then crushed a 2-1 pitch from Pirates right-hander James McDonald into the left-center field stands for a home run in the fourth to make it 2-0.
The Phillies played small ball in the later innings. Juan Pierre reached second on a bunt single and an error in the sixth. Victorino's sacrifice bunt moved him to third with one out, although the Phillies could not bring him home.
They tried again in the seventh. Ty Wigginton walked and Freddy Galvis dropped a bunt in an attempted sacrifice, but Pirates second baseman Neil Walker missed the throw from reliever Jared Hughes. That allowed Wigginton to reach third and Galvis to reach second with nobody out. Brian Schneider lined out and pinch-hitter Laynce Nix grounded out, but Pierre came through with a single to right for two runs.
The lead didn't last.
Mike Stutes struck out Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez swinging for what should have been the second out in the seventh. But the ball got away from Phillies catcher Brian Schneider, who picked up the ball and fired to first
. The ball hit the tip of Wigginton's glove, scooted away and allowed Alvarez to reach safely.
"The out has to come there," said Wigginton, who was charged with an error. "I reached out for the ball and it hits just the tip [of my glove]. I knew I had to try to hold the bag at the same time, otherwise he was going to get there. It was just a different play. You kind of wonder. You think about the play a lot, obviously. I don't know if I could have done anything differently."
Schneider said he felt like he had a good grip on the ball when he made the throw.
But, "I could have made a better throw," he said.
That play led to two unearned runs to cut the Phillies' lead to 4-3. Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo allowed another run to score in the eighth.
Right-hander David Herndon allowed the winning run to score in the ninth. Casey McGehee hit a leadoff double. Alex Presley's sacrifice bunt advanced pinch-runner Josh Harrison to third with one out, and Andrew McCutchen's two-out single off the center-field wall scored Harrison to win it.
Manuel said he never considered having Herndon walk McCutchen, because he did not want Herndon facing the switch-hitting Walker. Left-handers have hit .343 in their career against Herndon. Manuel also did not want Herndon walking McCutchen and Walker to load the bases.
Two consecutive walk-off losses are not how the Phillies wanted to start their season.
"Any time you open the season, you always want to win the first series, you want to win the first game, you want to get hits, you want to make big pitches," Jim Thome said. "I think the one thing I've learned over the years is that it's a long haul. And we have a very talented club, we have a very, very good club. Give the Pirates credit, you know, they battled back, they swung the bats, and you know, I think everyone in baseball knows we have a very, very good club. Any time you play the first series, everything is always magnified. That's part of the game. You want to always do well, so you want to bounce back tomorrow."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.