Kratz goes deep in eighth as Phillies beat Cardinals

Kyle Kendrick delivers another quality start for the Phillies. He went six innings, struck out six, and gave up two runs.
Kyle Kendrick delivers another quality start for the Phillies. He went six innings, struck out six, and gave up two runs. (YONG KIM / Staff)
Posted: April 23, 2013

Charlie Manuel was locked out of Citizens Bank Park on Sunday morning. After his offense was silenced Saturday, the Phillies manager left his electronic key card on his desk. There was no one to open the door at 10:30 because the first pitch of a 7-3 victory over St. Louis was more than nine hours away.

Manuel waited about 20 minutes and thought about his lineup. Once inside, he went to his office and, well, thought about his lineup.

"I write everybody down 100 times and I look at it," Manuel said, "and I still come up with the same names."

Those names prevailed Sunday in a decisive four-run eighth inning. The game seesawed in the later innings until three consecutive singles by Michael Young, Domonic Brown, and Ben Revere plated the eventual winning run. Erik Kratz provided the finishing blow, a three-run blast to left punctuated with his emphatic bat flip.

"That was a whole team win," Kratz said.

They were in that position because Kyle Kendrick eluded major damage for six innings. Laynce Nix tied the game in the seventh with an epic 10-pitch, pinch-hit double.

There is no instant elixir for a 8-11 baseball team. It starts with nights like Sunday. Manuel's team entered with the second-worst run differential in the National League. (Only the moribund Marlins are worse.) The manager complained of his team's inability to execute all aspects of the game on the same night.

His team did enough to facilitate late drama once a favorable matchup emerged. The Phillies mashed Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs, who began 2013 as St. Louis' closer and now sports a 12.46 ERA and damaged confidence.

"They could have scored more runs," Manuel said. "We were fortunate to hold them. We hung on there and caught a break."

This nationally televised game was tense for much of the night. With a chance to break it open, Revere failed in the sixth inning. He bounced into a rally-killing double play with the bases loaded. Chase Utley committed a two-base throwing error in the next half inning that led to a St. Louis lead. Manuel summoned Chad Durbin for crucial outs and he permitted yet another inherited runner to score.

Revere later redeemed himself with the winning hit. His is one name Manuel kept writing at the top of his lineup, only to later drop to seventh. His bat has flickered with life since.

Manuel was able to deploy his ideal bullpen plan because Kendrick lasted six innings. Antonio Bastardo induced a weak grounder to second that Utley charged and threw wide of first base. Durbin entered with runners on the corners.

The veteran righty allowed all seven runners he inherited before Sunday to score. The eighth scored, too, when Allen Craig rocketed one past Jimmy Rollins for the temporary lead.

Manuel's lineup fired from the very beginning. The Phillies answered a first-inning Cardinals run with two of their own. Rollins led off with a triple. John Mayberry Jr. walked. Utley drilled an RBI single to right. Mayberry took the extra base, which allowed him to score on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly.

Jake Westbrook held the offense dormant for the next five innings until Nix's game-tying double.

Kendrick was resilient. It was the sort of game he let spiral into chaos in previous seasons. The second batter of the game, Matt Carpenter, dinged Kendrick for a laser home run to right. The inning drained him of 33 pitches at a glacial pace.

He pitched around trouble in the second and fourth. St. Louis tied it in the sixth on two hits and a groundout because the Phillies did not bring the infield in.

Ultimately, there was enough offense. The Phillies' 14 hits were one shy of a season high. That guaranteed a series split with a robust opponent.

"It's putting it together and running it like a machine," Manuel said. "We're not there yet. Hopefully tonight gets it started."

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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