Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 4/24/12

PHOENIX - Philadelphia outfielder Hunter Pence could breathe a sigh of relief Tuesday, when an MRI on his right shoulder showed no structural damage. So could the Phillies, who need every able bat they have at this stage of the season.

The Phillies took a small step forward offensively despite a 9-5 loss to Arizona on Monday when they hit two home runs in one inning for only the second time this season in a five-run ninth inning. Shane Victorino hit a three-run homer and Carlos Ruiz followed with a bases-empty shot.

While it was too late to make much difference, it was a step in the right direction for a team that entered the second game of the Arizona series Tuesday with 48 runs, second in Pennsylvania but 29th in the major leagues.

"I always say, let's not always talk about the negative and not playing the way we can play. Let's look at the positive. Let's look at never giving up, putting up a fight that last inning," Victorino said.

Victorino's homer was the team's first with runners on base this season.

"We haven't been consistent in hitting the ball sharp enough to score runs," manager Charlie Manuel said.

The lack of run production seems so not-Phillies, but it is can be directly tied to the loss of injured All-Stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. Neither has played a game this season. Utley took batting practice again Tuesday, but his return date has not been set. Howard said via twitter that he hopes to begin working out in about a week.

The absence of those guys cannot be overstated, Manuel said.

"They're huge. They are the middle part of our order," he said.

"Also, what people don't realize is, that middle part of our order definitely provides confidence and relaxation and eases it for those other guys. They kind of feed off the middle of our order. But you know what? We can talk about it all we want, but we have to go with what we've got and keep our heads above water."

Victorino leads the Phillies with three homers and Pence has two, and they are tied for the team lead with seven RBIs.

Pence, who returned to the lineup after missing Monday's game, suffered shoulder soreness when he extended while diving for a ball on defense.

"It feels good that I'm not risking any damage and that I am not able to move it today. I couldn't lift it up. It's part of it. I could tell in my gut it wasn't horrible. To know that you are not going to do major damage to yourself by pushing it a little bit, everything's cool," Pence said.

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