"We were playing catch-up with them all day," manager Charlie Manuel said, "but we couldn't get to them."
With two on and one out in the top of the first, Kendrick surrendered an RBI single to Garrett Jones. Then, Casey McGehee launched a 1-2 sinker over the left-center-field wall for a three-run home run. Five pitches later, Pedro Alvarez followed with a home run of his own, putting the Pirates up, 5-0.
Fans recognized this Kendrick, the one who has looked miserable standing on the hump this month, the one with a 7.67 ERA in his last five starts. He's 0-5 in those games, tying a career-worst streak.
With the loss, their second in as many days, the Phillies ended a 10-game homestand with a .500 mark. They open a series in Miami on Friday.
"It seems like we get to a point, and then we fall back," Manuel said. "The way we're playing and the way our pitching sets up, especially our bullpen, it's hard for us to get something going."
After the Pirates jumped ahead, 5-0, in the first, pitching coach Rich Dubee strolled to the mound, calmed Kendrick down and told the pitcher to steer the ball low. From there, Kendrick settled in. At one point, he retired 15 of 16 batters, and he finished with five earned runs allowed on six hits in seven innings.
The adjustment just arrived too late. Still, Kendrick spoke with optimism after the loss.
"I gave us a chance to win," he said. "They needed me to pitch deep in the game, and I did that. . . . You never want to give up runs, but I was happy with myself."
The Phillies entertained thoughts of a comeback, and chances presented themselves.
In the second inning, backup catcher Erik Kratz turned on an 0-2 A.J. Burnett fastball and cranked it for a two-run homer to center. The Phillies crawled closer in the sixth, when Shane Victorino scored on a fielder's choice.
In the eighth, the Phillies got within one when Hunter Pence pulled a pitch from reliever Jason Grilli into the left-field seats. The pitcher then plunked Placido Polanco, and Mike Fontenot later reached with an infield single.
Jim Thome entered to pinch-hit. He turned on the first pitch he saw, and the ball shot off his bat. Fans sprang from their seats, a go-ahead homer and a 7-5 lead on their minds.
But Thome was ahead of the pitch. The ball veered wide of the right-field foul pole. And two pitches later, he struck out, sucking the sound from the stadium.
He then swayed toward the dugout, his eyes fixed on the grass.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies again threatened. Jimmy Rollins reached on a leadoff single, and Juan Pierre moved him to second with a sacrifice bunt. Shane Victorino struck out, but Rollins stole third during the next at-bat.
And there he stood, 90 feet from home, waiting as Pence stood at the plate, looking to add to that eighth-inning homer. Instead, Pence hit a soft fly to center.
Rollins walked toward the dugout, hands on hips.
Contact Tyler Jett at 215-854-4550 or email@example.com.