It's not hard for Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel to figure out why the Phillies have had so much trouble winning this season.
It's all about their hitting - or, rather, their lack of it.
The lackluster Phillies offense scored three or fewer runs for the 31st time in 54 games this season in Thursday night's 9-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox.
David Ortiz and Jonny Gomes homered and Jacoby Ellsbury set a club record with five stolen bases for the Red Sox, who enter this weekend's series against their AL East rival New York Yankees having won 11 of 16 games.
Philadelphia hasn't been able to put together a similar winning streak. The Phillies have had two three-game winning streaks and were trying to make it three straight wins for the third time this year on Thursday.
But they had just six hits against Franklin Morales (1-0) and four Boston relievers to drop to 8-23 when scoring three runs or fewer.
"It's a battle for us to win games," Manuel said. "We haven't blown many people out. In order for us to get a winning streak, we have to score more runs."
Delmon Young homered and Domonic Brown remained hot with a pair of hits for Philadelphia, which was trying to get back to .500 for the first time since April 14.
Phillies rookie Jonathan Pettibone (3-1) surrendered four runs in a 28-pitch first inning.
Cesar Hernandez, filling in for injured Chase Utley (oblique) at second base, also had two hits, including his first major-league hit with a first-inning single.
But the Phillies couldn't generate much offense.
"We swing at bad balls," Manuel said.
They also had trouble containing Ellsbury on the base paths.
"It's pretty neat," Ellsbury said of the record. "As long as the Red Sox have been around.It's pretty special."
Afterward, the Phillies presented Ellsbury with a base to acknowledge his accomplishment.
"Single-handedly, he changed the game," Boston manager John Farrell said of Ellsbury. "When you have that kind of base-stealing threat, it's a huge asset."
Ellsbury added three hits and Jarrod Saltalamacchia had two doubles and three RBIs for the Red Sox.
Ellsbury was on base five times, adding a walk and hit by pitch to the base hits.
"Getting on base that many times, you want to take advantage and put pressure on the defense," he said.
The Phillies didn't do much to prevent Ellsbury from advancing.
"He was getting a walking lead and we've got to stop that," Manuel said.
Morales (1-0) allowed four hits in five innings with two strikeouts and two walks in his first appearance this season. Four relievers closed it out with four scoreless innings.
"He kept the game under control," Farrell said of Morales. "That was a solid five innings of work."
Pettibone (3-1) hadn't given up more than three earned runs in his first seven career starts, but left after giving up six hits, striking out five and walking four in five innings.
Saltalamacchia's two-run double to was the big blow in the first for Boston, which got RBIs from Dustin Pedroia and Mike Carp in the opening frame.
"I wasn't being aggressive early on, I wasn't finishing the batters," Pettibone said. "The double was on a change that was up in the zone. I kind of left it up and he put a good swing on it.
"The plan was to pound the lefties inside. I kind of fell behind and that didn't help."
After the Phillies got a pair of runs back on Young's opposite-field, two-run homer to right in the bottom of the first, Morales kept the Phillies scoreless.
"After the first inning he settled in and was making his pitches," Manuel said. "He threw a lot of fastballs and we didn't muster enough offense."
Boston tacked on a run in the sixth when Gomes, pinch-hitting for Morales, hit a solo homer to off Phillies left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst to put Boston ahead 5-2. Horst hit Boston's next batter, Ellsbury, prompting home-plate umpire Bill Miller to warn both teams.
And Boston took a 6-2 lead in the seventh when Ortiz led off the inning with a majestic homer to right field.
Despite Miller's warning, Philadelphia reliever Michael Stutes and Boston reliever Mortensen each hit a batter after the caution but weren't ejected.
Notes: Manuel didn't play slugger Ryan Howard, who has been battling a sore knee, against the left-handed Morales. . Morales was 3-4 with a 3.77 ERA in 37 games with Boston last season. . Young's homer was just the third in the last 33 Phillies homers that was not a solo shot. . Ellsbury's previous career high of four stolen bases came on August 9, 2010 at the Yankees. . Brown's homer streak ended at three games, but he has 14 hits in his last 38 at-bats after going 2-for-4. . Boston heads to New York on Friday for a showdown with their AL East rival Yankees at 7:05 p.m. Lester (6-1, 3.34) is scheduled to face New York lefty CC Sabathia (4-4, 3.96) in the first of a three-game series. . The Phillies host Milwaukee for the first of three games at 7:05 Friday night when Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels (1-8, 4.43) is scheduled to face Brewers righty Yovani Gallardo (3-5, 4.79).