From the Ballpark: Phillies Power Past Marlins for 7-2 Win
PHILADELPHIA—Save for a few whispers during pregame hacks, Charlie Manuel didn’t say much about it.
“I didn’t really talk about how we played or nothing,” the Phillies manager said of a two-game series in Cleveland best left forgotten. “I didn’t have to. They knew how we played.”
Fueled by Kyle Kendrick’s fifth-straight quality start, solo shots from Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard, and with a little help from plays and players fit for the owners of baseball’s worst record, "they" erupted on the Miami Marlins for a 7-2 win at Citizens Bank Park tonight.
With or without Manuel’s prodding.
They're now 8-2 against the Mets and Marlins, and 4-14 against everybody else. Six times have the Phillies hung seven or more on an opponent this season. Four fell on the Mets and Marlins.
“They were 8-20. We were 12-16,” Manuel said.
“This time of year there ain’t a whole lot of difference.”
The Phillies needed to begin to distinguish themselves. They did.
Brown belted a bomb in the second to even the score, 1-1. It counted for only one. But with his team fresh off a dismantling and quickly trailing one of baseball’s bottom-feeders, it felt like more.
“Tied the game up. Got us on the board,” Manuel said. “It was a big hit.”
Howard tucked a 3-2 fourth-inning pitch in the flower bed atop the left field wall for his fourth home run of the year to put the Phillies up, 2-1. Brown’s was also his fourth so far.
Of the Phillies 24 home runs this year, 15 are solo shots.
Howard’s bomb was his third in eight games, after going 19 with only one.
The Phillies hung two more in fifth and dropped three in the eighth.
Chase Utley boomed a deep sac fly in the fifth to score Kratz, who fought to draw a walk on 12 pitches with seven fouls. Later, Jimmy Rollins, who reached on a boot by second baseman Donovan Solano, coolly took home on a passed ball by catcher Rob Brantly to make it 4-1.
Howard and Laynce Nix led off the eighth with walks. Howard’s was just his fourth of the year in 105 plate appearances (3.8%). Two, including one in the fifth tonight, were intentional.
Then Brown smeared a single to score Howard from second, finish 3 for 4 with two RBI and two runs scored and tie a career-high with hits. Tonight was just Brown’s fourth three-hit game in 175 played.
Brown is hitting 12 for 31 (.387) over his last eight games.
He opened the year.208 in his first 20.
Kendrick surrendered only two runs on seven hits and two walks with five strikeouts. One was a Justin Ruggiano leadoff homer in the sixth. By then, Kendrick already had a three-run cushion.
“It’s nice. It’s always nice, obviously, to get some runs,” Kendrick said. “That’s what it’s all about. We’ve got to score more runs than them. That’s how you win games.”
Miami put a runner in scoring position in each of Kendrick’s first four innings. He only allowed them to plate one, on a Placido Polanco RBI ground into a double play in the first with men on first and third with no outs. Of note, the man on third, Juan Pierre, got there via his 600th career steal.
Kendrick dropped a 2-2 sinker on Brantly to get him looking for the third out of the third inning with the bases loaded. Later, Adeiny Hechavarria burned for a triple with only one out in the fourth.
Kendrick got the next two outs with three pitches.
Miami finished 0 for 7 with men in scoring position.
“You don’t want to be, but I’ve been in a lot of those situations in my career,” Kendrick said with a laugh. “You’ve just gotta make pitches. That’s the only way to get out of them.”
Kendrick’s served two or fewer earned in each of his last five starts.
He’s 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA over the span.
Maybe the most damage Kendrick took was physical: Solano screamed one back at him in the fifth. Caught him in the thigh, too. After Kendrick scrambled and lunged to throw him out at first, he rose to his feet, took a few paces and tossed a few warm-you-back-up pitches. He was fine.
Saying the same of his night would be selling it short.
When the Phillies bullpen took over in the eighth, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon retired six straight Marlins. It was only the fifth time in 13 appearances Adams has entered with a lead. It didn’t qualify as a save for Papelbon, who’s had only four chances in 29 games so far.
If these Phillies keep this up, he’ll get more run. Though only so many can come against the Marlins.
At some point, the Phillies will have to shine against contenders to be one themselves.
One has to think Manuel thinks his Phillies know that too.