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Phillies continue hitting woes at home, lose 3-0 to Angels

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PHILADELPHIA - Bullpen breakdowns, defensive lapses and hitting inconsistency have added up to quite a few losses for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Garrett Richards tossed a five-hitter over seven sharp innings and the Los Angeles Angels beat the Phillies 3-0 Wednesday to sweep a two-game interleague series.

Phillies starter A.J. Burnett (2-3) laboured through five innings, allowing three runs and seven hits. He struck out six and walked five. The Phillies have lost three straight and seven of nine to fall a season-worst four games under .500 at 17-21.

"We all expect to win," Burnett said. "Everybody does. When things don't go our way, that's when character comes in."

On Sunday, the bullpen blew a 4-1 ninth-inning lead in an 11-inning loss to the Mets. On Tuesday night, two errors led to four unearned runs in a 4-3 loss. The hitters did their part to contribute to the losing streak Wednesday.

The Phillies are 6-11 at home. They've scored two runs or less at hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park five times in 17 games. They're 1-8 in interleague play.

"We need to do a better job driving the ball at our park," manager Ryne Sandberg said. "This is considered a hitter's park. Teams come in here swinging. We ned to step up our hitting."

Down 3-0, the Phillies had runners on second and third with one out in the sixth after Chase Utley's second double of the game. But Richards then struck out Ryan Howard and retired Marlon Byrd on a soft liner.

"It's very frustrating," Cody Asche said. "Nobody is happy. We have to keep working. Everybody on this team expects more."

The Angels have won five of six to move a season-high three games above .500 at 21-18.

Mike Trout went 1 for 4 with a triple, walk and stolen base. The two-time All-Star finished his first homecoming series 2 for 9. Trout grew up in nearby Millville, New Jersey. More than 4,000 people from the small town came to see him Tuesday night and there were plenty of fans wearing No. 27 Angels jerseys in the stands again.

Richards (4-0) struck out eight, had no walks and lowered his ERA to 2.42. Ernesto Frieri pitched a perfect eighth and Joe Smith finished off the five-hitter for his fifth save in seven tries.

The Angels got a run in each of the first three innings. Richards did the rest.

Albert Pujols hit a two-out double in the first and scored on a single by Raul Ibanez. The former Phillies All-Star heard familiar "Rauuuul" chants when he came to the plate. Ibanez helped the Phillies win the NL pennant in 2009 and was a fan favourite during three seasons in Philadelphia from 2009-11.

Efren Navarro hit an RBI single with two outs in the second to give the Angels a 2-0 lead.

Erick Aybar ripped an RBI double to right-centre in the third to make it 3-0. But Burnett escaped more trouble with the bases loaded and no outs. He struck out Grant Green and retired Luis Jimenez on a third-to-first double play.

Trout led off the seventh with a triple off reliever Mike Adams. He dove headfirst into third base and got up to cheers. Adams left him there, though. He fanned Pujols and Ibanez, walked Aybar and retired Hank Conger on a pop-up.

NOTES: Jimmy Rollins singled in the sixth for his 2,211th career hit, tying Ed Delahanty for third on the club's all-time list. Rollins is 24 hits shy of passing Mike Schmidt for first place. ... Utley has nine extra-base hits in the last six games. ... The Phillies are off Thursday before opening a three-game series at home vs. Cincinnati on Friday. Kyle Kendrick (0-3, 3.98) faces Homer Bailey (3-2, 4.72).

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