Phillies Notes: In relief, Phils' Kendrick doesn't disappoint this time

Kyle Kendrick threw nine pitches and retired the side in order yesterday against the Brewers. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer)
Kyle Kendrick threw nine pitches and retired the side in order yesterday against the Brewers. (Michael Bryant/Staff Photographer) (Jonathan Tannenwald)
Posted: April 21, 2011

The Phillies had just evened the score with three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning and, in the process, starter Cliff Lee had been removed from the game for a pinch-hitter.

So who came running in from the top tier of the center-field bullpen to face the top of the Milwaukee Brewers batting order in the seventh?

If you did not see the game and have not checked the box score, you're going to exhaust a lot of guesses before you get this one right.

The answer was Kyle Kendrick. Yes, the same Kyle Kendrick who entered a 3-3 game in the 12th inning Monday night and proceeded to allow three runs on a hit and three walks in a Phillies defeat.

Manager Charlie Manuel said Kendrick had the most rested arm among his righthanded middle relievers.

"They had [three] righthanded hitters sitting at the top of their lineup, and we figured we'd put [Antonio] Bastardo on [Prince] Fielder if someone got on," Manuel said. "We also considered using [Ryan] Madson for four outs today."

Instead, Kendrick threw nine pitches and retired the side in order, getting Rickie Weeks, Carlos Gomez, and Ryan Braun on flyouts.

Kendrick had gone 10 days between appearances when he pitched in Monday's series opener and said he felt much sharper on less rest Wednesday.

"It was just good to get back out there," Kendrick said. "Obviously the outing I had before, things didn't go the way I wanted, so it was just nice to get out there in that situation and to be able to help us win the game. That was big. I enjoyed it."

Kendrick, after pitching primarily in a starting role last season, is adjusting to his role in the bullpen and said he works better when he works more often.

"I'm not one to make excuses, but the more I throw, the better I think I can be," he said. "My command was better. I didn't feel like I hadn't been out there in three years like the outing before."

Madson and Jose Contreras each contributed a scoreless inning. Madson escaped a first-and-second, one-out jam with consecutive strikeouts in the eighth inning and earned the victory. Contreras picked up his fourth save in as many attempts and ended the game with a strikeout of Braun on a fastball that registered 95 m.p.h. on the stadium radar gun.

Contreras disputed that recording, saying he's too old to throw that hard.

A foul ball gone fair

Ryan Howard said he had never seen anything quite like Weeks' third-inning ground- out that was about three feet foul before taking an inexplicable lefthand turn into fair territory. Howard gloved the ball and touched the base while Weeks watched in disbelief.

"That's the first one I've encountered like that at first base," Howard said. "You see those things happen a lot at third base. It just kind of hit on that outside lip and kind of started rolling back, and I just waited to see."

Extra bases

Howard went 4 for 20 on the homestand and is 7 for 41 in his last 11 games, dropping his average from .480 to .286. "At times I'm trying to make things happen instead of letting them happen," Howard said. He said it had nothing to do with the guys hitting (or not hitting) around him. . . . John Mayberry Jr. made his second straight start and delivered the Phils' first hit of the game off Milwaukee's Chris Narveson with a two-out double in the bottom of the fifth. With Ben Francisco in the midst of a 4-for-33 slump, it would not be surprising to see Mayberry get more playing time during the Phillies' seven-game West Coast trip. . . . The Phillies are 7-0 in day games.