From The Ballpark: Revere, Kratz Lift Phillies to Win Over Cardinals
PHILADELPHIA—It took just seven pitches.
Staring a possible seventh loss in nine games and fifth series loss in six this year for the Phillies, Ben Revere and Erik Kratz punched their timecards for eighth-inning at-bats.
Revere screamed an RBI single. Kratz put one in Citizens Bank Park Section 144.
Four runs, for a 7-3 Phillies win over the St. Louis Cardinals, in just seven pitches.
“We were there the whole time,” said Revere. “That’s why you play all nine.”
Sure they were there a lot. But they'd before come away with woefully little.
Revere himself had grounded out three times in three plate appearances prior, one of them an inning-ending, double play with the bags full in the sixth his last time up.
Chase Utley spaced on a Ryan Howard sac fly with one out in the first. He must’ve thought it’d been two, because he rounded third and strode home without even a look.
Only two runs scored that inning. Could’ve been three. Or four. Or more.
When asked if he thought Utley lost track of outs, manager Charlie Manuel said: “I think he did. I mean, you might not never see that again. But I think that’s what happened.”
And after Laynce Nix belted a pinch-hit double to score Kratz in the seventh, Rollins, Mayberry and Utley all went down in order to strand him. Nix is 5 for 10 with two home runs, that double and five RBI coming off the bench cold this year.
So while Michael Young did well to belt one off Cardinals reliever Mitchell Boggs for a leadoff infield single, and Domonic Brown put the 36-year-old Young on third with a single, it’s not like equally noble performances hadn’t been squandered innings before.
Yet, the Phillies conjured clutch hitting and power -- not exactly abundant commodities for them thus far -- and did it when they needed it most.
And the two players doing it hadn’t made keeping a clear head easy on themselves.
“I was really ticked,” he said when asked about his GIDP the at-bat prior. “I thought that sucker was up the middle. … I just came into the clubhouse and was trying to calm.
“Did a little woo-sah. Little meditation. Then I said to myself, I gotta redeem myself.”
So too did Kratz, who’d this year been 2 for 17 with five strikeouts with RISP, .192/.189/.288 total and was six days from a roster decision between he and Humberto Quintero to be Carlos Ruiz’s backup when Ruiz’s 25-game suspension ends.
Of course, Kratz only wanted to talk team afterward.
“I think an aggressive approach for the whole team is what will give us success,” he said. “Whether that means home runs or singles or doubles, that means we’ve gotta score runs as a team.”
Starter Kyle Kendrick did his part, surrendering only two runs on eight hits over six innings, for his third-straight quality start. He was at his best when danger was nearest.
Twice he had men on second and third with two outs, in the second and sixth. Once he had men on first and second with none, in the fourth.
And in the fifth, after sidestepping trouble his second time, he tossed an eight-pitch, 1-2-3 frame, his second of the night – same as he did his last time out, when he needed only 12 pitches to retire straight batters after working through danger a second time.
“I think if his pitch counts had been lower earlier, he could have gone seven innings, maybe even eight,” Manuel said.
With his first 32 pitches tonight, Kendrick logged only two outs.
With his next 31, he got seven.
Still, not everyone was so sharp.
Utley gaffed again later, this time on a medium-difficulty throw to first in the seventh, to let the go-ahead runner reach and scramble to second. He got to third on a bunt.
Enter Chad Durbin, for Antonio Bastardo.
Durbin’s first batter, Allen Craig, scorched an RBI single to score Utley’s runner.
Yadier Molina walked. Bases loaded. Matt Adams struck out.
But Durbin would get David Freese to line straight to Howard’s glove to end the frame and curb the damage. It was Durbin’s first stranded runner of nine inherited this year.
Even then, after all the positives from the rotation and bullpen and lineup considered, the Phillies were still tied, crossing their fingers on their relief staff and timely hitting.
Then came Revere and Kratz, and there those problems went.
“It’s just putting our game together,” said Manuel. “I’ve seen us do some good things. If we put them together we can be a consistent team.”
Until then, it's nice to get brilliance in bunches, kind of like Revere and Kratz did tonight.