Blown call against Phillies is a loss cause

Phils' Kyle Kendrick delivers pitch against Reds.
Phils' Kyle Kendrick delivers pitch against Reds. (JOHN GRIESHOP / GETTY IMAGES)
Posted: September 06, 2012

CINCINNATI - Kyle Kendrick continued his path toward solidifying a spot in the 2013 starting rotation.

But like many a Phillies pitcher before him this season, Kendrick got bitten both by the long ball and an unaccommodating offense behind him. He also didn't have any friends in blue, either.

Kendrick and the Phils dropped a taut, 2-1, loss to the Cincinnati Reds in a game marred by a blown call by the umpiring crew.

"They're human," Kendrick said. "We make mistakes and they make mistakes, too, I guess. I know it's frustrating when it goes against you, but there's nothing you can do about it, really."

The Phils' lone run on Tuesday night at Great American Ball Park came in the fourth inning, when Chase Utley sparked a one-out rally with a double. After Ryan Howard was hit by a Matt Latos pitch and John Mayberry Jr. and Domonic Brown followed with walks, the Phils broke a scoreless tie.

But they didn't have the chance to expand their 1-0 lead.

With the bases loaded and one out, Nate Schierholtz dipped a sinking line drive to center. The ball appeared to drop just in front of Drew Stubbs' glove.

Chaos ensued in the infield, with fielders and base runners unsure where to turn.

"Our runners got all messed up," Charlie Manuel said. "They got confused. They didn't know where to go it looked like."

"I was trying to pick up an umpire to see what happened," said Howard, who hovered between third and home plate. "A play like that happens so fast, it's hard to get a read on the whole situation."

Stubbs threw to second, where he appeared to get the force out. Second baseman Brandon Phillips followed with a throw to the plate.

After wandering around for a few seconds, Cincinnati catcher Ryan Hanigan followed Latos' instructions and stepped on home plate. Inning over, rally killed.

Except: There wasn't a force out at home after the Reds forced Brown out at second. To get an out, he would have had to tag Howard.

Despite not appearing to be any more aware of what was going on then the infielders and base runners, the umpiring crew relayed to the Reds bench that the ball in centerfield was actually caught, meaning the third and final out of the inning came at second, where Mayberry had broken for third.

"That was a bad break because we would have had a hit and a run for sure and bases loaded," Manuel said. "That's kind of the way everything happens for us, isn't it?

Instead of padding their lead and chasing Latos, the Phils and Kendrick held a precarious 1-0 lead. Cincinnati needed just one swing to erase it.

After Kendrick retired the first two batters of the sixth inning, Ryan Ludwick hit an 0-2 cutter into rightfield for a single. Jay Bruce followed with a line-drive, laser home run into the first row of seats in rightfield to put the Reds in front, 2-1.

"Bruce was swinging through changeups all night," Kendrick said. "He's a good hitter, maybe he was sitting soft. But he put a good swing on it and got it out."

The home run was Bruce's 31st of the season and second in as many days against the Phillies. It spoiled an otherwise sturdy start from Kendrick, who has been close to brilliant since replacing Joe Blanton in the rotation.

Kendrick held the Reds to four hits in the first five innings and was in position to throw shutout baseball for the third time in his last five starts. But just like in each of the previous two, Kendrick couldn't avoid the home run ball.

All six runs Kendrick has allowed in his last three starts have come on four home runs.

Despite seeing his career-high four-game winning streak snapped, Kendrick is 4-1 with a 1.53 ERA in his last five starts. He has allowed two runs or less in 14 of 20 starts this season and in seven of his last nine.

Even with the blown call and a relief corps that flirted with disaster in the eighth - three rookie relievers walked a batter in the inning - the Phils still trailed by one run in their final at-bat. But they had to get that run against the almost unhittable Aroldis Chapman.

After throwing a 100-mph fastball wildly to Howard, Chapman struck out the Phillies cleanup hitter en route to his 35th save of the season.

"Most of the time you can win games like that," Kendrick said. "It's just frustrating. If you get Bruce out, I get a chance to go back out for the seventh. But he's been swinging well, you have to give credit to him. You might not want to at times, but he put a good swing on the ball."


2010 MVP Joey Votto is expected to make his first start since July 15 for the Reds on Wednesday afternoon. Votto was activated from the DL on Tuesday after undergoing two surgeries to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his left knee . . . Chase Utley took ground balls at third base for the second time in the span of a week. Charlie Manuel downplayed it afterward: "He's taking ground balls there. That's all he's doing. Hell, when I was a player I played rightfield and I'd come in and take ground balls at shortstop, third, first" . . . Nate Schierholtz made his first start since Aug. 11. Schierholtz, who returned from the DL with a broken right big toe on Saturday, was penciled into the seventh spot in the lineup and in rightfield. Since the Phils traded Hunter Pence and Shane Victorino, Manuel has had eight players make up 13 different outfield combinations in 32 games. Tuesday night's outfield trio started seven of the first nine games after the trades.

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