The Phillies have played so well of late it seems we should be willing to forgive them just about anything. Looks like we’re going to have to. Tyler Cloyd delivered his second straight ugly start last night and the pen imploded in the eighth, allowing three two-out runs as the Astros beat the Phils 6-4.

Cloyd was solid in the first two innings, setting down the first six batters he faced. He allowed two hits and hit a batter in the third, but worked out of trouble to keep the Astros off the board. He started the fourth up 4-0, but allowed singles to the first two men he faced before Matt Dominguez pounded a three-run homer to left. The Phils took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the eighth, but Aumont, who has been so good of late, and Diekman both struggled badly. Aumont issued a one-out walk, but Kratz made a fantastic throw from his knees to cut the runner down trying to steal second, clearing the bases with two outs and no runs in. Aumont allowed the next two runners to reach on a walk and a hit by pitch before Diekman came in to face Jed Lowrie. Lowrie cleared the bases on a double just out of the reach of Schierholtz in right, putting the Astros up a run. He would come in to score when Brandon Barnes followed with a single, putting Houston up to stay at 6-4.

Lowrie against the lefty Diekman was the biggest at-bat of the game. Bastardo wasn’t available to pitch to Lowrie after throwing a scoreless seventh. Needing a lefty, Manuel called on Diekman rather than Horst and Diekman couldn’t get the job done, allowing hits to three of the four men he faced including the Lowrie double.

It was the second-straight frustrating outing for Cloyd, who hasn’t gotten an out in the fifth inning in either of his last two starts and was hurt by a three-run homer in both games.

The Phillies are 72-72 on the year after losing to the Astros 6-4 last night. The loss snaps a season high seven-game win streak for the Phils. They remain in third place in the NL East, 17 1/2 games out of first. They are four games out in the Wild Card hunt.

Cloyd got the start for the Phillies and went three innings, allowing three runs on five hits. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a three-run homer. He struck out four.

Cloyd has allowed four home runs in 20 innings so far, which would have him on a pace to allow 40 over 200 innings. That would be too many.

If it makes you feel any better, I can pretty much promise you that Cloyd is never going to allow 40 home runs over 200 innings in a season.

He’s still striking people out. Four in three innings last night gives him 20 in 20 frames for the year. He doesn’t walk anyone — three so far in 20 innings. Opponents are hitting .293 against him and he’s been hammered by home runs. The big blow last night came from righty Matt Dominguez, but lefties are hitting 379/455/621 against him for the year.

He struck out Brett Wallace while setting the Astros down in order in the bottom of the first.

Up 1-0, he struck out Justin Maxwell and Matt Dominguez in the second.

He started the third with a 4-0 lead. Jimmy Paredes led off with an infield single on a ball deflected by Rollins. Cloyd got Tyler Greene on a popup to Rollins. The pitcher Lucas Harrell was next and struck out trying to bunt for the second out. Jose Altuve moved Paredes up to second with a single and Cloyd hit Fernando Martinez with a 1-2 pitch, loading the bases for Wallace. Wallace grounded to Utley to end the inning.

Maxwell and Jason Castro started the fourth with back-to-back singles, putting runners on first and second for Dominguez. Dominguez hit a 3-1 pitch from Cloyd out to left, cutting the lead to 4-3. Rosenberg took over for Cloyd, striking out Paredes for the second out before Greene doubled to left. Rosenberg struck Harrell out looking to leave Greene at second.

Cloyd sets down the first six Astros in order, then six of the next nine reach base and he’s pulled.

Rosenberg set Houston down in order in the fifth.

Great outing for Rosenberg, who goes two scoreless innings, facing seven batters and allowing one hit. He has thrown four scoreless innings over his last four appearances.

Lindblom started the sixth. He walked the first batter he faced, Castro, on five pitches. He got the next three, though, getting Dominguez on a fly ball to right and striking out Paredes and Greene.

Lindblom drops his ERA with the Phillies to 4.32. He hasn’t been charged with an earned run in his last eight appearances, allowing four hits and four walks over six innings while striking out ten. He was charged with two runs that were unearned in Tuesday’s game.

Bastardo started the seventh. Brandon Barnes led off with a single to left. Altuve was next and lined to third for the first out. Righty Matt Downs hit for the lefty Martinez. Barnes stole second before Bastardo struck Downs out for the second out. Wallace popped to Frandsen to end the inning with Barnes still at second.

Bastardo has a 0.00 ERA and an 0.60 ratio over his last ten appearances. In 8 1/3 innings he has struck out 17.

Aumont started the eighth. Maxwell led off and flew to right for the first out. Castro was next and again walked on five pitches. Jordan Schafer ran for him at first. Schafer took off for second as Aumont delivered ball one to Dominguez. Kratz threw from his knees in time to get Schafer for the second out. It cleared the bases with two outs, but Aumont went on to walk Dominguez on five pitches. Lefty Scott Moore hit for the pitcher Wesley Wright and Aumont hit him, putting runners on first and second. Switch-hitter Jed Lowrie hit for the righty Greene and pitcher Jordan Lyle ran for Moore at first. Lowrie’s numbers for the year are way better against righties and Diekman came in to pitch to him. Lowrie lined an 0-1 pitch to right-center, just out of the reach of Schierholtz, which cleared the bases and put the Astros up 5-4. Barnes was next and he singled into center, scoring Lowrie and extending the lead to 6-4. Barnes took second on the throw home. Altuve was next and moved Barnes up to third with an infield single. Altuve stole second before Diekman struck Brian Bogusevic out swinging to leave the runners stranded.

No question that the Phillies need to bring in a lefty to face Lowrie in that key situation. After the double off of Diekman, he’s hitting 203/306/338 against lefties for the year compared to 270/356/498 against righties. I think there’s a huge question of whether it should have been Diekman or Horst. Lefties are on-basing .362 against Diekman for the year and .300 against Horst (although it was guys batting right-handed in Lowrie and Barnes that hurt Diekman last night). Horst has struggled a bit of late, allowing three hits and four walks over three innings in his last three appearances. Diekman had made three straight appearances where he went a third of an inning without allowing a hit or a walk.

Manuel also let Diekman pitch to the righty Barnes with De Fratus and Papelbon presumably both available. Altuve is also a righty. So Diekman faces three batters in a row to start the outing, all batting right-handed, and all three get hits. The one guy Diekman did get, Bogusevic, is left-handed. Righties are now hitting 275/393/412 against Diekman for the year.

The eighth was the kind of inning that makes you miss Raul Valdes.

Fantastic throw by Kratz to get Schafer, which set the Phillies up with two outs, nobody on base and no runs across.

Aumont can’t find the plate, pitching in his fifth game in five days and for the third day in a row. He faces four batters, gets one out, walks two and hits the other. He came into the appearance not having been charged with a run in 4 1/3 innings over his last five appearances. He has now walked six hitters (and hit one) in nine innings over ten appearances for the season. He walked 6.9 batters per nine innings in the minors this season.

Diekman faces four batters, allowing a double, two singles and getting one out. From May 20 to June 27, Diekman made 15 appearances in which he threw to a 1.38 ERA. Since then he has a 7.04 ERA in 7 2/3 innings over 11 outings and opponents have hit 294/415/471 against him. He didn’t walk anyone last night, but he has walked 16 in 22 2/3 innings for the year.

Long day for the pen. They go five innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. Aumont and Diekman combine to allow three hits, two walks and hit a batter in the eighth.

Lindblom threw 21 pitches in the game, Rosenberg 20, Bastardo 19, Aumont 17 and Diekman 15. Aumont almost surely cannot pitch tonight after going three days in a row and five times since the start of the day Sunday. Hopefully Hamels pitches for a long time tonight.

The Phillies lineup against righty Lucas Harrell went (1) Rollins (2) Pierre (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Mayberry (6) Brown (7) Frandsen (8) Kratz. Frandsen returns to the lineup and third base. Ruiz stays on the bench with Kratz catching. Pierre in left against the righty.

Pierre singled to center with one out in the top of the first, but Utley and Howard went down behind him.

Brown walked with one out in the second. Frandsen was next and flew to left for the second out, but Kratz followed and hit a ball off of the wall in left for a double that scored Brown and put the Phillies up 1-0. Cloyd grounded to second to leave Kratz at second.

Pierre and Utley singled back-to-back with one out in the third, putting runners on the corners for Howard. Howard flew to center for the second out, deep enough for everyone to move up a base. Pierre scored from third to put the Phils up 2-0. Mayberry was next and singled softly to right. Paredes didn’t handle the ball cleanly and was charged with an error. Utley scored from second to put the Phils up 3-0 and Mayberry wound up on second on the error. Mayberry took third on a wild pitch before Brown walked again, putting runners back on the corners for Frandsen. Frandsen reached on an infield single, scoring Mayberry (4-0) and moving Brown to second. Kratz struck out to leave the runners stranded.

Pierre does his best to get the rally started, singling for the second time in three innings. This time he scores. Brown walks for the second time in the game in the third inning.

The Phillies went in order in the fourth.

Utley walked to start the fifth with the lead cut to 4-3, but the Phils went in order behind him.

Frandsen and Kratz went down to start the sixth. Orr hit for Rosenberg and singled to left. He stole second before Rollins and Pierre walked back-to-back, loading the bases for Utley. Lefty Xavier Cedeno came in to pitch to Utley and Harrell was ejected from the game as he walked off the mound, presumably complaining about the strike zone. Utley grounded to first to leave the bases loaded.

Orr’s average is up to .313 for the year (15-for-48) after going 2-for-2 in his last two pinch-hitting chances.

Cedeno walked Mayberry with one out in the seventh and Mayberry moved up to second when Brown grounded out for the second out. Righty Hector Ambriz came on to face Frandsen and Frandsen flew to center to leave Mayberry at second.

Mayberry continues to walk at a much better rate. Thirteen walks and a .458 on-base percentage over his last 72 plate appearances.

Ambriz struck Kratz out swinging for the first out in the eighth. Schierholtz, who entered the game in the bottom of the seventh was next. Lefty Wesley Wright came in to pitch to him and struck him out swinging for the second out. Rollins was next and drew a walk. Ruiz hit for Bastardo and moved Rollins up to second with a single. Rollins stole third, the 400th stolen base of his career, before Utley grounded out to leave the runners at the corners.

Second big chance for Utley with runners on. He grounded out to leave the bases loaded in the sixth.

Rollins has stolen 27 bases this year and been caught just five times.

The Phillies were down 6-4 when they hit in the ninth. Howard was the first hitter and singled to left off of righty Wilton Lopez. Lopez struck Mayberry out looking 0-2 for the second out and Brown grounded into a double-play to end the game.

Seems like a good a time as any to remind that our five-hitter breaks up lefties Pierre, Utley, Howard and Brown hitting two, three, four and six and is hitting 231/302/350 against righties for the year.

Rollins was 0-for-3 in the game and walked twice.

Pierre 2-for-3 with a walk. He’s hitting .440 so far in September. 320/365/371 over his last 111 plate appearances.

Utley 1-for-4 with a walk. Two big ground outs to end the inning in the sixth and again in the eighth. 345/486/483 over his last 37 plate appearances.

Howard 1-for-4 with an RBI. 179/264/295 over his last 91 plate appearances.

Mayberry 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. 353/476/569 over his last 56 plate appearances. 298/379/489 in 161 plate appearances since Victorino and Pence were traded.

Brown 0-for-3 and walked twice. He’s hitting just .241 over his last nine starts but on-basing .389 thanks to six walks in 36 plate appearances. Cedeno got him to ground out in the seventh, dropping his line against lefties to 188/297/344 on the year.

Frandsen 1-for-4 with an RBI in his return to the lineup. 5-for-21 (.238) with five singles so far in September.

Kratz was 1-for-4 with an RBI-double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. He’s 1-for-his-last-17.

Hamels (14-6, 3.03) faces righty Bud Norris (5-12, 4.93) tonight. The Phillies have won five of the last six games that Hamels has started. In those outings he’s thrown to a 2.22 ERA and a 1.01 ratio. In five of his last six starts he hasn’t allowed a home run (he allowed two homers in the other start). Norris had had two good starts in a row, allowing just one run over 12 1/3 innings, before allowing five runs in 5 1/3 against the Reds his last time out. He has a 1.90 ERA in his ten starts at home and a 7.34 ERA in his 16 starts on the road this season.