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Phillies Rally to Edge Florida, Halt Losing Streak

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     Kyle Kendrick      Ryan Howard     Jose Contreras

It took 31 innings but, down 2-0 on Friday, the Phillies finally dented homeplate scoring single runs in the fourth, fifth and seventh innings off of Florida starter Chris Volstad.  Meanwhile, Kyle Kendrick coasted through the 1st two innings and retired the first 2 hitters he faced in the third before giving up 2 singles and letting the 2 runs score on his own errant throw to 1st base on a comebacker by shortstop Hanley Ramirez.  After a seventh inning double-steal of 2nd and 3rd base, 2nd baseman Chase Utley drove in centerfielder Shane Victorino with the go-ahead run as the Phillies rallied to edge Florida by a 3-2 score, halting their losing streak at 5 games and their scoreless string at 31 innings.

With the win, the Phils remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Atlanta in the NL East as the Braves beat Pittsburgh.  The Mets, with their loss to Milwaukee, dropped into a 3rd place tie with Washington who beat San Diego.  Florida dropped to 4 games off of the pace and 1 game under .500 ball.

Once again, the Phillies were way short of what they are capable of in the offense department, but Kendrick held them in the game and the bullpen did a great job holding the lead once the Phils rallied.  Reliever Jose Contreras survived two 1 out singles and struck out 2 while earning his 3rd save in 3 opportunities. AP sports writer Tim Reynolds recaps the game for Yahoo:

Thanks to their leadoff hitter, and a goof by Kendrick, the Marlins opened the scoring with two runs in the third.

With two outs, [Chris] Coghlan fouled off seven straight offerings in what became a 12-pitch at-bat, eventually hitting a sharp single to left. After another single, Kendrick nearly escaped when Hanley Ramirez hit a comebacker and started a slow jog to first.

But Kendrick rushed the throw, the ball sailing out of Howard’s reach, and Coghlan and [Gabi] Sanchez scored for a 2-0 lead.

“Kind of slipped on the way out and just babied it or whatever,” Kendrick said. “Just a bad throw. Totally my fault. We came back, though.”

Ryan Howard hadn’t had that much fun sprinting 270 feet in a long time.

Howard came around from first base to score Philadelphia’s first run in 31 innings on a triple by Raul Ibanez.

“Sometimes all it takes is just one, and just one big moment to kind of get things going,” Howard said. “I think you could kind of say it was an exhale when we got that run across.”

Howard led off the fourth with a single off Chris Volstad (3-6), and Ibanez — hitting fifth for the first time all season, thanks to Jayson Werth getting the night off—connected on a hard line drive to center field. The ball skipped past Cameron Maybin, rolling toward the wall and turning into a triple that gave Howard plenty of time to score from first base.

It was the break the Phillies had been waiting, oh, about a week for.

The Phillies used heady baserunning to set up both the tying and go-ahead runs—Utley decided on his own to swipe second in the fifth inning, which allowed him to score on Howard’s single, while Victorino led a double steal and scored what was the game-winner on Utley’s grounder in the seventh.

Volstad gave up seven hits and three runs in 6 1-3 innings.

Kendrick recorded his 3rd win of the season going six full innings giving up the 2 runs on 5 hits while walking none and striking out 1.

To view the scores of all of Friday’s MLB games, click here.

On Saturday, Roy Halladay hopes to regain his groove after 2 straight losses.  The Doc is opposed by Josh Johnson who has given up but 7 runs in his past 35 innings over his last 6 starts, winning 4 of them.  

In Sunday’s series final, ancient veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer is opposed by Anibal Sanchez for the Marlins.

To view all of Saturday’s and Sunday’s games, click here and here.

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