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Asche hits 3-run double for Phillies' biggest highlight in 5-3 loss to Cardinals

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ST. LOUIS - Cody Asche wondered about how he would perform following a 15-day stint on the disabled list.

As it turned out, there was no reason for the Philadelphia third baseman to worry.

Asche drove in all three runs with a second-inning double in the Phillies' 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday.

"You always have a little bit of doubt in your mind," he said. "You don't want to step in and be a weak link."

Asche has been anything but a weak link.

His bases-loaded hit staked the Phillies to a 3-0 lead. He is 3 for 12 since being activated Friday. He went on the DL on May 25 with a left hamstring strain.

A native of the St. Louis suburban of O'Fallon, Missouri, Asche made the most of his chance to play in front of family and friends.

"This was fun," he said.

Asche provided the lone offence for the Phillies, who managed just four runs in losing the final two games of the series.

"He's really swinging the bat well since he's got back here," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "Other than Cody, we haven't squared much up the last two days."

Mark Ellis drove in two runs, including the go-ahead score with a bunt, and the St. Louis Cardinals got a scoreless effort from their bullpen to win the series finale.

The Cardinals have won two in a row and seven of 10. Philadelphia has lost two straight after a season-high five-game winning streak.

Ellis, who has received increased playing time due to injuries, broke a 3-all tie with a safely squeeze bunt in the fourth. He added an RBI single in the sixth. He is hitting .193 with 12 RBIs in 41 games.

Starter Carlos Martinez (1-3) allowed three runs over five innings.

Martinez, who has 31 relief appearances, was making his second start of the season, replacing Michael Wacha in the rotation.

Nick Greenwood, Sam Freeman, Pat Neshek and Trevor Rosenthal combined for four innings of two-hit scoreless relief. Rosenthal got his 22nd save in 25 chances. Freeman struck out three in 1 2-3 innings.

The Phillies won the first five games of the seven-game swing.

"It's fun to step in and contribute," Asche said. "I wish we could have taken the last two games and completed the perfect road trip. But we've got some confidence."

Jimmy Rollins had a 15-game hitting streak snapped.

Kyle Kendrick (3-7) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings. He gave up just one hit over the first three innings before St. Louis scored four times in the fourth.

"That one big inning hurt," Kendrick said. "They got some hits and I wasn't able to minimize the damage."

NOTES: The Phillies announced after the game that RHP Ethan Martin (0-0, 4.50) has been sent to Triple-A Lehigh Valley of the International League. RHP B.J. Rosenberg will be recalled. Rosenberg is 2-1 with a 2.63 ERA. Sandberg said Martin just "needs to get some innings in."... The Phillies begin an eight-game homestand Monday with the first of four games against Miami. Roberto Hernandez (3-5, 4.52) will face Nathan Eovaldi (4-3, 3.76) in the opener.

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