PHILADELPHIA--Players and coaches were willing to talk.

But after the Phillies’ 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park tonight, there just wasn’t much to ask.

The lineup hit, but not in the clutch.

The bullpen was good, except for when it wasn’t.

This, despite changes to the lineup out of both injury and necessity. And the Phillies turning to their $6 million setup man in the eighth inning.

So, Charlie Manuel fielded just 5 minutes worth of questions. Cole Hamels, 3. Michael Young and Mike Adams, 1:30 each.

“We had a chance,” Manuel said after. “Matter of fact, we had a good chance. We just didn’t cash in on it.”

Same old story.

The only wrinkles Thursday were ones most would rather not speak on.

John Mayberry slipped on a should've-been pop out to right field in the fourth, giving Cardinals first baseman Allen Craig a double instead.

The next batter, Yadier Molina, pulled a line drive down the first base line about six inches foul, seen as easily on replays as it was the first time out.

It was instead ruled fair. And after a Pete Kozma sacrifice fly to score David Freese in the seventh, the Cards lead, 3-0.

“I saw it,” Manuel said of the controversial call. “When I look at it, it kinda looks like to me the ball didn’t hit the line as he said. Looked to me like it was foul. But it was a close play. A real close play. But it looked to me like it was a foul ball.”

“I don’t even need to comment on it,” said Hamels. “It was a poorly executed pitch. Even if I would have executed it right, it might have been a different story. He could've hit it a mile fair.

“It’s just kind of a situation where you have to make pitches and try to get the guys out as quick as possible and try to prevent runs.”

Hamels served just 3 runs on 5 hits in 7 innings, but wasn’t as sharp as he wants to be. Just 14 of 27 batters saw first-pitch strikes.

The 29-year-old lefthander said he’s progressing since a rough start and strong outing against the Marlins that, he said, could’ve been stronger yet.

But, he said, it wasn’t enough.

“I felt really good tonight,” he said. "But when I’m making mistakes, they tend to be at the wrong time. ... You have to be better than good. In order to win ball games, you have to be great all the time.”

As for the rest of the team, they were what they’ve been.

The lineup mustered just 3 runs on 13 hits, and went a mere 3 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

Still, they entered the eighth tied, 3-3. Chase Utley knocked an RBI single in the sixth to score Freddy Galvis, who started in left field for Domonic Brown. Galvis belted a double one batter earlier to score Jimmy Rollins. Erik Kratz in the seventh singled to score John Mayberry.

But Mike Adams opened the eighth, and outfielder Carlos Beltran, crushing a 2-1 fastball over the left field wall for the deciding run, closed the door.

“I thought maybe it was to the warning track or off the wall,” Adams said. “But it stayed up and got out.”

Their best chance came in the ninth.

Ben Revere, dropped in the order from first to seventh for the first time on Thursday, led off the inning with a single to center, and went from first to third on an Erik Kratz single just three pitches later. After a Kevin Frandsen pinch-hit ground out, Kratz, the winning run, was on second.

Rollins struck out, Galvis grounded out. Game over.

But this was bigger than two outs in one inning.

Laynce Nix struck out to end the eighth with Michael Young and Ryan Howard on first and second. Young grounded into an inning-ending double play with Howard and Utley on first and second in the fourth.

Utley and Howard combined to go 5 for 8, mostly off Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright (3-1, 2.48 ERA), who hasn't allowed a walk or home run this year. He surrendered 3 runs on 9 hits over 7 innings with 4 strikeouts.

Eight men were left on base. The Phillies have stranded 7 or more in 9 of 16 games so far.

“We’ve been talking about that for a little bit now — getting guys out there and doing things the right way and eventually things will work out and find holes in big spots,” said Young, as he has before.

But even when it has worked out, it hasn't lasted, bringing us back to this: same old stories, and few questions to be asked.