PHOENIX -- The longest road trip of the season could not have looked bleaker for the Phillies just a few days ago.
"That's when Chicken Little is always hanging around every day," Charlie Manuel said after Wednesday's 7-2 victory over Arizona at Chase Field.
If the sky was not falling, the Phillies offense certainly was. Cliff Lee threw 10 scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss in San Francisco on April 18. The Phillies lost the series and it set the tone for the weekend in San Diego, where they lost twice to the team with the worst record in the National League.
The Phillies were on their way to a 9-0 loss Monday against the D-backs, but they scored five meaningless runs in the ninth inning. Meaningless in the sense the Phillies scored those runs with nothing on the line against a pitcher with a 20.25 ERA. Meaningless in the sense the Phillies still fell four runs short to drop to 3-5 on the 10-day trip.
But the Phillies found something in those runs.
"You have to start somewhere, so hopefully that was the start," Jimmy Rollins said. "I'd like to believe it's a start."
The Phillies scored 20 runs in the final 19 innings of the series to finish the road trip 5-5. There is no way to know if those 20 runs are the beginning of an offensive turnaround or just a mirage. But the Phillies at least boarded their flight back to Philadelphia on Wednesday with some good feelings about themselves.
They needed them.
"It seems like it's contagious," said Placido Polanco, who went 3-for-3 with two walks. "You see everybody taking good at-bats. Hopefully this is a turnaround for the team."
The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, but a couple running miscues in the first two innings cost them at least one more. It looked like those mistakes could hurt them, except Cole Hamels refused to let that happen.
He allowed a leadoff double in the first inning, but retired 18 consecutive batters until he allowed two runs in the seventh inning. Hamels struck out the side in the eighth inning. He allowed four hits, two runs, one walk and struck out seven in eight innings to improve to 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA.
"He had 17 different pitches and threw them all for strikes," Arizona shortstop Willie Bloomquist said. "He's good at what he does and when he locates, he's awfully tough. You have to hope he makes a mistake and hope you don't miss it. Today he didn't make a lot of mistakes."
The Phillies scored five runs in the sixth inning to take a 6-0 lead.
Juan Pierre singled and Placido Polanco walked to start the inning. They advanced a base on Shane Victorino's fielder's choice. Pierre scored on a wild pitch and Polanco scored on Pence's single to left to make it 4-0. Ty Wigginton and Carlos Ruiz singled and Freddy Galvis walked to load the bases with two outs. Hamels then hit a broken-bat single to center field to score Wigginton and Ruiz to make it 6-0.
"It's awesome," said Hamels, who often has been a stranger to run support in his career. "Things are starting to click. It's a matter of time. We have really good hitters but just weren't able to square it up. It's a game of inches. [The D-backs] could have had quite a few hits today, but they were hit right at guys or guys were able to run them down, but that's kind of what happens and you just have to keep plugging away. When you get frustrated, you take bad swings. We were just plugging away and we got some great hits and are obviously scoring some runs. It's good to get home and hopefully do that in our ballpark."
The Phillies return home for a four-game series against the Cubs beginning Friday at Citizens Bank Park. Then they hit the road for a six-game trip to Atlanta and Washington, which should be a truer measuring stick for the Phillies and their offense. But Wednesday afternoon they would savor coming back to win their first road series of the season to split their 10-game trip out West.
"We came to the ballpark today 4-5," Manuel said. "We lose, we go home 4-6. We go home 5-5. That's better than going home 4-6. The old saying is if you go .500 on the road and win at home, you've got a chance to win your division or get in the playoffs. I don't know if I buy that. That's what they say."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.