Stop if you’ve heard this before â€” Kyle Kendrick was serviceable for five+ innings, the Phils kept it close, Chase Utley delivered late, the Phillies won. OK, so it seems like a broken record, but the Phils won 6-2 behind timely hitting, good starting pitching and a lights-out relief effort.
The game was tied, 2-2, when Chase Utley struck a triple into right field in the eighth inning. The hit scored Shane Victorino. Ryan Howard then singled Utley home to put the Phils up by two. In the ninth, Jimmy Rollins poured on the insurance with a two-run homer.
Yet again, solid â€” but not great â€” pitching kept the Phils awake in this one. Kyle Kendrick echoed Jamie Moyer and pitched an effectively wild 5.1 innings, walking five but somehow keeping Braves’ hitters off the board. Only a two-run home run by all-universe Chipper Jones (.420, 15 HR) stained Kendrick’s ERA, despite many opportunities regardless. Sure Kendrick did his job, but it was the worst he could’ve been while remaining unsoiled.
The bullpen grabbed another win, with JC Romero getting the number, his fourth of the year. He and Ryan Madson did fantastic jobs holding the Braves, while Tom Gordon and Brad Lidge both struck out their three victors (move of the game: the entire infield converging to shake the cobwebs off Gordon). Lidge didn’t get the save â€” it may not have been a great move bringing him in with a four-run lead. Rudy Seanez was ready to come in, but Lidge got the call instead. No matter the call, Lidge was his usual grimy self, and denied the Braves any chance at a comeback.
Carlos Ruiz and Pat Burrell collected homers in the game. Ruiz had a nice game (1-for-3, 2 R), while Burrell seems to be heating up again (2-for-4, HR). But most of all, it was good to see Jimmy Rollins get back in the groove. Hopefully this translates into more good things from the shortstop.
The cycle continues for the Phils. They got a passable performance from their starter; the offense hit when necessary; the bullpen was fantastic. They’re still 3.5 games up, but gained a game on the Braves (5.5) and Mets (6.5). Times are good.
Associated Press photo