Phillies Win, Now 3 Out & Very Much Alive
(77-75) Phillies 6, (86-65) Braves 2
WP: Kyle Kendrick (10-11, 3.89 ERA)
LP: Tommy Hanson (12-9, 4.46 ERA)
SV: Jonathan Papelbon (37)
That's all the Phillies can do at this point, with just 11 games to go and the standings sneering at them.
Still, they did it Friday, riding a gem from Kyle Kendrick and four solo homers from four seperate Phillies for a 6-2 win at Citizens Bank Park before a sellout crowd to piggyback the Cubs win over the Cardinals earlier in the afternoon to trim their Wild Card hole to three games.
With the win, the Phils are working a 20-7 run that makes them among the hottest team in baseball.
So long as they continue to take advantage, that will continue to matter.
That's right. Drop the question mark.
Kendrick (10-11, 3.86 ERA) reaffirmed his recent run Friday, allowing just two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings, making for his seventh quality start in his last eight, the other being that one he'd like to forget his last time out in Houston.
Over the span, Kendrick has worked a 2.47 ERA and, without question, solidified the No. 4 spot in the Phils 2013 rotation.
He sat down 12 straight Braves into the seventh Friday; Dom Brown's lunging glove landed inches away from No. 12 on a Dan Uggla double deep to right that would've been an inning ender.
Uggla scored on a broken bat single by Jose Constanza to end Kendrick's night.
That's how close Kendrick came away from his fourth one-run-or-fewer start in his last eight.
Even if the Braves entered averaging 3.1 runs per game in their last 11, Friday was an unabated accomplishment from Kendrick.
The Other Guy
The Phillies did what they needed to with Hanson: get him out early, and get at that second-best-in-baseball bullpen.
Hanson (12-9, 4.46 ERA) lasted just 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned. Friday marked his sixth straight start in which he didn't make it out of the sixth inning, for an 0-4 record and 4.50 ERA over the span.
He lasted just 73 pitches (45 strikes, yuck) making for his second-lowest total this season. That includes a 3 1/3 outing (92 pitches) and a 3 2/3 outing (95), too.
Four home runs soared off Phillies sticks Friday. Four.
Yes, that's a season high.
Kevin Frandsen went first in the third. Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz followed in the fourth. Chase Utley lifted off in the eighth. All solo shots, something of a backhanded compliment, indeed. (Didn't hit much, but made Atlanta pay for their mistakes.)
The shots off Howard and Ruiz came back-to-back, making for just the Phillies seventh set this season and first since John Mayberry and Erik Kratz did it against Milwaukee on Aug. 19.
Howard's bomb was also the 299th of his career, in just 1,092 games. The fastest ever to 300 homers? Ralph Kiner, who needed just 1,087. Coincidentally, Utley's was his 199th ever.
With the RBI, Howard's now knocked in 53 in his last 57 games, making for the third-highest total in baseball. One of the other two, for record, is the namesake of a brandy new MLB rule blocking PED users from getting postseason honors for statistical production.
With a 2-for-3 outing Friday, Utley is now 19-for-44 (.432) in his last 13 games. Not coincidentally, the Phillies are 10-3 over the span.
With a start like Kendrick's, the bullpen was basically asked to valet park a Lamborghini. All you have to do? Get out of first gear and into a spot without blowing the transmission or swiping a parked car.
Jeremy Horst logged a quick out against the only batter he faced to end the seventh.
Antonio Bastardo allowed a single, but fanned the Braves Nos. 3 and 4 hitters, Jayson Heyward and Chipper Jones, to get out of the frame clean.
Lot of fly balls from Jonathan Papelbon; pops off Freddy Freeman and Dan Uggla came off the bat like they were headed for the bleachers. But he wrapped a clean ninth for his 37th save of the season.