In case you’d forgotten, home runs are fun. The Phillies hit two of them tonight, one from Ryan Howard, the other from catcher Brian Schneider in the Phillies 8-4 win.
Both bombs were of the three-run variety, the first time that’s happened since June 29. Howard hit provided his first extra-base hit since July 27.
Schneider gave the Phillies fans something to cheer about early on, rather than dull, hitless baseball, which they’ve become accustomed too lately. His early launch led the way for an early hook for Dodgers starter Carlos Monasterios. The reliever-turned-starter lasted just two innings and 40 pitches before Joe Torre pulled him.
Carlos Ruiz then stepped in as a pinch-hitter for Schneider in the 7th inning, and delivered in a familiar spot.
With Jonathan Broxton inserted for the righty-righty matchup, Ruiz conjured up memories of earlier this month when he helped cap an improbable comeback. On August 12 at CBP, Ruiz doubled home the game-tying and game-winning runs as the Phils rallied from a 9-2 deficit with four in the eighth and four in the ninth for a 10-9 victory.
Tonight, the spot was far less dramatic, but Ruiz’s two-run double solidified the Phillies ownership of the former Dodgers closer.
Starter Kyle Kendrick was his usual self, giving up four runs on seven hits over five-plus innings. He did not strike out a batter. KK started off shaky by walking in the first run of the game as the Dodgers loaded the bases within the first five batters. On that James Loney free pass, Scott Podsenik scored, but the damage was minimized as Kendrick induced a double-play by Casey Blake.
For the next three innings, Kendrick settled into a groove by retiring nine of the next 10 before Rod Barajas (yes, that #*%$@%! guy) singled to begin the fifth. The former Phillies catcher would score on a Jamey Carroll ground out in the inning, one that Jimmy Rollins may have had a play on at the plate. Barajas is now hitting a ridiculous .500 (19-for-38) against the Phillies since he left in 2007.
James Loney struck again for LA in the sixth with a two-run home run to make a 6-4 game – the homer also chased Kendrick to the dugout, ending his evening.
After Kendrick was bounced, the Phils bullpen took charge by retiring the final 11 batters of the game. Durbin, Romero, and Madson all built a Bridge to Lidge, who finished off L.A. with a clean ninth.
Finally, a worthwhile offensive showing. Howard finished 1-for-4 with the home run and walk, but two of those outs were well hit balls. Chase Utley had been mired in a wicked slump since returning from a thumb injury, but he too put together a solid two-hit evening. Placido Polanco also had two hits after struggling through a 2-for-21 prior to tonight.
It was a solid, morale-boosting victory that runs the Phillies west coast-trip record to 4-1.