Silent bats, Kendrick's 12th inning doom Phillies in loss to Brewers

Jimmy Rollins mishandles a ground ball by the Brewers' Casey McGehee in the second inning. The Phillies tied the game against Milwaukee in the bottom of the ninth and went to extra innings with the score 3-3.
Jimmy Rollins mishandles a ground ball by the Brewers' Casey McGehee in the second inning. The Phillies tied the game against Milwaukee in the bottom of the ninth and went to extra innings with the score 3-3.
Posted: April 19, 2011

The first four pitches Kyle Kendrick threw in the 12th inning were balls. The Milwaukee Brewers attempted to give him a free out with a bunt and Kendrick threw it into right field. The first out he recorded was caught 403 feet away from home plate, prompting mock cheers as the Brewers took the lead.

A 6-3 Phillies loss to Milwaukee on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park devolved into this: Kendrick needed to preserve a tie game but failed to do anything right. But it was lost before Kendrick stepped to the mound.

In 12 innings, the Phillies managed no extra-base hits, spoiling a decent outing by fifth starter Joe Blanton. In five of their last nine games, they have one or fewer extra-base hits.

A day earlier, Milwaukee's pitching staff had allowed 13 runs and nine extra-base hits to a feeble Washington offense in a doubleheader sweep.

Care to explain, Charlie Manuel?

"No," he said, "I can't."

To make matters worse, lefthanded specialist J.C. Romero is likely headed to the disabled list with a strained right calf. He will go for an MRI exam Tuesday morning.

All of the offensive frustration boiled over when Kendrick took the mound. His 12th inning looked like this: walk, throwing error, sacrifice fly, hit batter, wild pitch, intentional walk, sacrifice fly, and intentional walk. Mercifully, Casey McGehee thought he could try to score from second on a single to right but was thrown out to end the inning with three runs already home.

That might have been the only way out for Kendrick. He threw 27 pitches, 18 of them balls.

Even so, Ryan Howard batted representing the tying run in the bottom of the 12th but lined out. Ben Francisco flied out to right on the first pitch he saw to end the game.

So it goes. The offense has not been good of late, and even with the second-best record in the National League, Manuel has bemoaned this fact for the last two days. He knows what happens when he sees good luck, like bunches of unearned runs, games won without hitting home runs, and more balls hit to where they ain't.

It will always catch up.

For a moment, it looked like the Phillies could squeeze out another. Brewers closer John Axford walked Carlos Ruiz on five pitches to lead off the ninth. Wilson Valdez sacrificed him to second, bringing up the pitcher's spot. Rather than going with John Mayberry Jr., who leads the majors with four pinch-hits, Manuel opted for Pete Orr. He singled to left on the third pitch to tie it up.

Orr advanced to second on a terrible throw home by Ryan Braun but was stranded there when Shane Victorino swung and missed at what would have been ball four, and Jimmy Rollins popped out to short on a 3-1 fastball.

Bad luck struck in the seventh when Placido Polanco scorched a liner off Milwaukee reliever Sergio Mitre's right side. It was hit so hard that the ball popped into the air and stayed there long enough for shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt to make a diving catch. He then threw to second for an improbable double play to end the rally. And it was the hardest-hit ball of the inning.

"We had some chances to score," Manuel said. "We couldn't get a big hit."

Milwaukee did against both Ryan Madson in the eighth and Kendrick in the 12th. Blanton, who navigated in and out of trouble for the first seven innings, provided the only silver lining.

"I felt a lot better out of the stretch," Blanton said.

Kendrick, the former fifth starter turned long reliever, had not pitched in 10 days. As the last man out of the bullpen, he had gone relatively unnoticed in the first 14 games of the season.

His first four pitches were a sign this night would not end well for the Phillies. The cold bats guaranteed it.


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/magelb

 

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