Kansas City Royals 9, Phillies 8

Royals (3-3), Phillies (2-4)

WP: James Shields (1-1, 3.75 ERA)

LP: Cole Hamels (0-2, 10.97 ERA)

SV: Kelvin Herrera (1)

PHILADELPHIA—They certainly brought the drama.

Down 5 runs heading into the bottom of the ninth, just 18 hours after Kevin Frandsen lifted the Phillies to a walk-off win, Jimmy Rollins smacked a 3 run homer. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Laynce Nix followed up with singles. In all, 4 runs dropped on the Kansas City Royals – the type of rally that, on most nights for most teams, is more than enough.

But it wasn’t on Sunday. Cole Hamels stumbled, Chad Durbin imploded, and the Phillies lost, 9-7, at Citizens Bank Park on Sunday.

That makes for 2 series losses a 2-4 start, their first since 2007. The Phillies have yet to reach .500 this season.

Cole Hamels, Gacked In Game 2

Hoping to rebound from an Opening Day battering by the Braves, Hamels simply didn’t.

He served 8 earned runs on 9 hits in just 5 2/3 innings. Only 2 of his runs scored on Durbin.

He struggled with his command, his 4-seam fastball especially, and threw 17 of 29 batters first-pitch balls. Hamels walked 4, and struck out just 2. Of 106 total pitches, only 63 were strikes.

The damage came in the third, fifth and sixth.

Chris Getz and Alex Gordon scored on an RBI double and RBI ground out by Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler, who grand slammed in the fifth to give the Royals a 6-4 lead.

It crashed off the netting on the outfield wall and was initially ruled in play.

In the sixth, Hamels let 3 of 4 batters reach, with the other grounding into a double play, to set up Durbin for a shot at redemption.

The Other Guy

James Shields was hittable early, but settled in late.

He went 6 strong and allowed just 4 earned runs – all in the first inning – on 10 hits.

After relying heavily on a 2-seam fastball in the first few frames, the 31-year-old righty bailed on it in favor of more offspeed pitches – with great success. He surrendered just 5 hits overall after the first, and at one point retired 11 of 14 straight batters.

Shields threw strikes on 72 of 100 pitches.

Bats Flying

Simply, they did enough today.

The lineup opened with 5 of 6 batters reaching base.

Ben Revere gutted out a leadoff infield single, and advanced to third on a Jimmy Rollins screamer that crashed off of shortstop Alcides Escobar.

Chase Utley, Michael Young, Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz each powered RBI singles to score Revere, Rollins, Utley and Young, Young for his first ribbie as a Phillie.

Jimmy Rollins mashed a 3-run shot over the right field wall in the bottom of the ninth off Royals reliever J.C. Gutierrez to make it, 9-7.

Young went 3 for 4, with a fifth-inning double making for his first extra-base hit of the year. Utley finished 2 for 4, and now has 7 of the team’s 21 RBI. Revere, 3 for 5, logged his first 3 hit game as a Phillie.

Ryan Howard tripped up a bit, looking indecisive and often checking his swing. He appeared to be struggling to see the ball. He drew his first boo birds from the home crowd this year.

But he came through in the ninth, as did most of the order. They went 6 for 13 with men in scoring position.

Needing Relief

Durbin entered with 2 outs in the sixth and men on second and third. After walking his first batter, Escobar, on 5 pitches, he served a 2 RBI single to Butler.

The 35-year-old righthander recovered with a 1-2-3 seventh, but by then the damage was done. He’s let 10 of 12 baserunners score this year.

Jeremy Horst surrendered an earned run in a 2-hit eighth. Phillippe Aumont was erratic with his location, but battled for a ninth inning-ending strikeout of Getz with the bases loaded.

The ninth inning woes continued for the Royals, who needed 3 relievers to get through it.

After lefty Tim Collins struck out 4 of 6 batters and letting none reach, Gutierrez surrendered 3 runs in 4 batters faced, and Greg Holland – who surrendered last night’s game winner – let 2 of 3 reach.

Kelvin Herrera surrendered an RBI single to his first batter, Nix, but struck out Kratz to end it.

Fielding Fun

In his first chance as a Phillie, Ezequiel Carrera soared on a lunging, full-extension grab in right to rob Lorenzo Cain of a sure base hit and end the second inning.

Rollins dashed some 50 feet to hawk Cain from behind on a rare 3-6 pickoff play.

Also: Butler’s 7 RBI day made for his career high and tied a franchise record with 12 other Royals, their first since 2008. (Mike Sweeney and Raul Ibanez are also on that list.)

Next: A 3-game set with the New York Mets, with Roy Halladay and RHP Matt Harvey going in Game 1. First pitch at 7:00 p.m. TV coverage on ESPN.