The Phillies (26-27) broke out the power bats on Wednesday, slugging four solo homers in their 4-3 victory over Boston (32-22) at Citizen’s Bank Park. With the win, the Phillies are guaranteed at least a split in their four-game, home-and-home series against the A.L. East leading Red Sox.
Four runs seems to be the success marker for the Phils this season. When they score four runs or more in a game, they are an incredible 18-5, as opposed to just 8-20 when scoring three runs or less.
Kyle Kendrick did not have his best stuff, but was strong throughout six innings as he earned his fifth win of the year. He allowed just two runs on four hits in his six innings of work, and was backed by a rare power display from the offense.
Brown continues surge, now among league leaders
Left fielder Domonic Brown took home his first ever National League Player of the Week award last week, so what does he do to start this week? How about four home runs in three games, including two solo bombs to right field today. His first home run gave the Phillies the 2-1 lead in the fourth inning, and his second, which came in the eighth, proved to be a crucial bit of insurance for the team come the ninth.
Brown now has five home runs in his last five games, giving him 13 on the season to go along with 32 runs batted in. He has eight homers in the month of May, and all of the sudden he sits in a tie for second place in the National League in round-trippers (with Carlos Gonzalez), and is just one longball behind Justin Upton for first place. Tonight was Brown’s second career two homer game, with the other coming in June of 2011.
Solo shots aplenty for Phils
In addition to Brown’s two solo home runs in the game, Ryan Howard and Erik Kratz also went yard in the win. Both of their home runs were of the solo variety as well. Howard took a ball just over the flowerbed in left in the second inning for his seventh of the year, and Kratz homered right after Brown did in the fourth. It was the second time Brown and Kratz had gone back-to-back since Saturday, when they did it against Washington.
Of the Phillies’ 25 home runs in May, 23 have been solo.
Kendrick provides another quality start
Kendrick may not have dazzled tonight, but he was certainly solid against a tough A.L. team, and pitched in stark contrast to his previous two outings. The 28-year-old worked through six innings and gave up just two runs on four hits while walking three and striking out three. He threw exactly 100 pitches in the game, 66 for strikes.
The right-hander faced trouble in only a few innings tonight. He did allow Jacoby Ellsbury to score right off the bat in the first after a leadoff triple, but kept the Red Sox out of the run column until he gave up a solo homer to Daniel Nava in the sixth. His only other threatening inning was the third, but he was able to strand runners on the corners to end the frame unscathed. Kendrick did walk three men tonight, and has walked 11 in his last 17 innings, but today it did not come back to haunt him.
Kendrick now has eight quality starts this season, to go along with a 3.27 ERA. His first start of the year and his last two before today were the only ones in which he did not go six innings and allow three or fewer runs.
Howard continues to struggle, Papelbon continues to soar
Despite clubbing his seventh home run of the season, Howard continued what has been a truly dismal stretch. He ended the night 1-for-4 with the home run and three strikeouts, including a three-pitch strikeout with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh. He left a team-high five men on base.
Howard has now struck out in 12 of his last 19 at bats, giving him a total of 60 this year. That is good enough (or bad enough really) for third most in the National League.
The home run broke a 16 game, 61 at bat homerless drought for the Big Piece, who is in grave danger of having his worst home run total through the end of May in his career (he had eight in 2010, seven this year.)
Howard might be pretty cold, but Jonathan Papelbon is as hot as any pitcher on the team, and continued to get the job done in the ninth inning on Wednesday. For the second straight day he saved the ballgame for the Phillies against his former club, making him 11 for 11 in save opportunities this season. He did allow a run in the ninth on a bloop RBI double to left, but worked his way out of the two on, two-out jam to preserve the second straight win for the Phillies over the Red Sox.
The Phillies will look to sweep their brief, two-game set with Boston, and take three of four from the Sox on Thursday night at Citizen’s Bank Park. They will send Jonathan Pettibone to the hill, who is looking to continue his great start to his major league career. Pettibone will enter Thursday’s game with a 3-0 record and 3.21 ERA. He will be opposed by the southpaw Franklin Morales, who is making his first start of the season for Boston. The Phillies catch another break with Boston’s pitching, as Morales was moved into the rotation in place of Jon Lester, whose start was moved back to Friday against the Yankees.