Brown's 3-run homer lifts Phils past Padres

The Phillies' Domonic Brown hits a three-run homer in the third inning against the Padres. Brown had four RBIs in the game, also drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. DENIS POROY / Getty Images
The Phillies' Domonic Brown hits a three-run homer in the third inning against the Padres. Brown had four RBIs in the game, also drawing a walk with the bases loaded in the fifth inning. DENIS POROY / Getty Images (DENIS POROY / Getty Images)
Posted: June 27, 2013

SAN DIEGO — When the Padres decided last year it was best to alter the dimensions of cavernous Petco Park, it was done with the understanding that visitors might benefit just as the home team could. When Domonic Brown launched a Jason Marquis balloon sinker an estimated 411 feet to right field on Tuesday, it struck the top of the old wall. It was a game-tying double in 2012.

Instead, Brown circled the bases with his 20th home run of the season, a blast that jolted the somnambulant Phillies, who are hurtling toward a summer of irrelevancy. They claimed a 6-2 victory for a brief reprieve from all that ails them.

Brown sparked it with his three-run homer. The 25-year-old outfielder, bound for his first all-star appearance next month, had not homered in 15 games (a span of 62 plate appearances). New ownership in San Diego moved a portion of the right-field fence 11 feet closer to home plate and lowered it by four feet. Brown was thankful for that.

"He's going to hit a few more," Charlie Manuel said.

Although the Phillies manager showed signs of overcoming a monster illness that sapped his energy, there was little to say prior to Tuesday's game. Not after the 3 hours, 12 minutes of baseball he watched Monday.

If that was the team's most debilitating defeat of 2013, Tuesday carried a strain of normalcy they all crave. There was happiness but despair, because what would a day for this team resemble without that?

Reliever Mike Adams, the man paid $12 million to fix the eighth inning, revealed he will likely miss the remainder of the season. The bullpen is a quagmire. At least Kyle Kendrick prevented the majors' worst relief corps from opening until the ninth. Antonio Bastardo tossed a scoreless inning on 30 pitches.

"It's always nice to pitch eight innings, especially with some key guys hurting down there," Kendrick said. "I had a couple of long innings but I was able to battle through those. It was a good win for us, for sure."

Kendrick struck out a season-high six for the sixth time in 2013 and third time in June. He did not walk a batter. He could have started the ninth at 104 pitches, but Manuel watched that movie Monday and chose a different scenario Tuesday.

The offense slammed a capitulating pitcher, for once. Marquis wilted in the fifth. Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley rapped singles. Ryan Howard and Brown exercised patience as Marquis threw eight straight balls to force home a run. Padres manager Bud Black yanked his pitcher.

Marquis entered Tuesday with a misleading 3.59 ERA. He has lived on the edge all season - long outs and contact right at his fielders are his specialties. The Phillies exposed him.

"Actually, we did a good job of waiting on him," Manuel said. "We chased some change-ups in the first few innings. He struck some guys out. We beared down on him. We did a good job of being selective and making him throw the ball over the plate. That's what got to him."

A wild pitch by reliever Brad Brach plated another run. John Mayberry Jr. stroked a sacrifice fly to center and the Phillies had six runs before the fifth inning concluded.

Kendrick was sharp. He did not permit a Padres runner to second base for four innings after two-run hiccup in the second inning. He darted around the strike zone with sinkers, cutters and change-ups. He threw a sublime sixth-inning cutter on the outside corner to San Diego's best hitter, Chase Headley, for a called strike three. Headley was incredulous. Kendrick exuded confidence.

His ERA is 3.46 - the Phillies are 10-6 when he starts a game. Twelve of his 16 outings are quality starts. He has permitted two runs or less in 11 of those 16.

"He's done a good job for us," Manuel said. "A real good job."

Brown and Kendrick are two of the few reasons for optimism through 78 disheartening games. The Phillies (37-41) are one game ahead of last season's pace (36-42) at this juncture. They are stuck in neutral - one solid victory will not alter that. But a night without drama was welcomed.

Contact Matt Gelb at Follow on Twitter @magelb.

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