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Archive for July, 2011

Ibanez, Ruiz Back Halladay as Phillies Nip Padres

Monday, July 25th, 2011

Carlos Ruiz    Roy Halladay    Raul Ibanez
The San Diego Padres scored early notching a first inning run on a single, stolen base and an RBI single off of Phillies’ ace Roy Halladay.  But the Phils charged back scoring 2 run on 3 hits in their first inning off of Tim Stauffer after Stauffer retired the first 2 hitters to open the game.  The Phils notched 3 more runs on 4 hits in the third inning to take a 5-1 lead as leftfielder  Raul Ibanez and catcher Carlos Ruiz were this game’s hitting stars driving in 2 runs apiece as the Phils took a 5-1 lead after three innings.    The Padres scored 2 more runs in the fourth, but Halladay went eight innings throwing 116 pitches while giving up 8 hits, striking out 8 while walking 1 to post his 12th win as the Phils’ latest winning streak hit 5 games.   Losing pitcher Stauffer burned through 102 pitches through 5 2/3 innings.    Reliever Antonio Bastardo shut the Pads down in order in the ninth to notch his 8th save as Ibanez and Ruiz backed Halladay and the Phillies nipped the Padres 5-3 in the 3rd of their 4 game series.

With the win, The Phils’ continued to extend their NL East lead, now at 6 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who again lost to Cincinnati.  The 3rd place Mets and the 4th place Washington Nationals continue in free-fall dropping to 14 1/2 and 15 1/2 games back respectively.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides the highlights and background on Sunday’s game:

Roy Halladay threw his first pitch with the sun blazing, the thermometer reading 94 degrees…

Last time out, the sapping rays contributed to Halladay’s shortest stint of the season.  This time, Halladay had enough to beat the heat—and San Diego.

Halladay bounced back from his abbreviated stint to strike out eight in eight innings and lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 5-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday.

Halladay (12-4) had trouble pitching in the heat and humidity in his last start at Chicago and left after four-plus innings. It was 94 degrees for the first pitch Sunday, and he labored through the first five innings. He allowed three runs and eight hits, and didn’t get the side in order until the sixth.

But he finished with a flourish, retiring the last 10 batters.

“A lot of people had questions after what happened in Chicago,” first baseman Ryan Howard said. “He went out and he showed everybody.”

Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz each had two RBIs to lead the Phillies to their fifth straight win.

Halladay… fought off his [previous] poor outing and a slow start to this one and continued to pound away at the Padres.

Manager Charlie Manuel could tell Halladay was determined to go deep into the game and prove what happened against the Cubs was nothing but a one-start aberration. He closed in on 100 pitches through five, then relied more on his curve and breezed through San Diego’s lineup over the final three.

“It was a little frustrating because we had a chance to get him out earlier in the game,” Padres third baseman  Chase Headley said. “He’s not a guy you’re not going to put up eight runs against, but we had a chance.”

Halladay gave up a pair of runs in the fourth that cut Philadelphia’s lead to 5-3. That’s the way it stayed the rest of the game because Halladay only got better the deeper he went. He fanned Kyle Phillips to end the fifth and didn’t allow another runner.

“He could smell the finish line,” Manuel said.

Antonio Bastardo worked a scoreless ninth for his eighth save and helped Philadelphia beat the Padres for a 10th straight time.

On the day senior adviser Pat Gillick went into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Philadelphia continued its push for a fifth straight NL East title.

Shane Victorino’s RBI single and Ibanez’s run-scoring double off Tim Stauffer (6-7) in the first made it 2-1. Ruiz added a two-RBI double in third for a 5-1 lead at the same time Gillick was giving his speech in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Stauffer allowed five runs and eight runs in 5 2-3 innings.

The Phillies nearly extended their lead in the seventh when Ibanez hit a shot to the 398-foot spot in center.  Chris Denorfia, in the game after Cameron Maybin left with a left hip flexor strain, sprinted with his back to home plate. He twisted his body at the last second and extended his arm over the short wall to rob Ibanez.

Phillies fans recognized Denorfia’s great catch with a nice ovation. Some fans even stood.

For all of Sunday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils hope for a series sweep of the Padres as lefthander Cliff Lee tries again for his 10th win dueling with Aaron Harang in Monday’s series final.   The defending NL champion San Francisco Giants are next in for a 3 game series with the Phils beginning on Tuesday in a possible tune-up for a 2011 NLCS rematch.

For all of Monday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Hamels, Utley, Martinez Star as Phillies Beat Padres Twice

Sunday, July 24th, 2011

Chase Utley    Cole Hamels    Michael Martinez
Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels tossed an eight inning 3 hit masterpiece on Friday outdueling San Diego’s Cory Luebke.   Hamels struck out 10 Padres in his 100 pitch outing while getting just enough offensive support and benefiting from an error and a balk for the 3 runs.  Those runs were all that Hamels, and closer Ryan Madson needed as the Phils got by the Padres by 3-1 in game one of their series.   In Saturday’s game 2, 2nd baseman Chase Utley was a perfect 3 for 3 with 2 homers and 4 RBIs while 3rd baseman and utlilityman Michael Martinez came up big with another homer, a 3 run shot as pinch hitter Ryan Howard and Utley solo homered amidst a 5 run seventh inning uprising pounding reliever Chad Qualls.   Utley’s other homer was a 3 run first inning shot.   With the Phils holding a 3-0 lead in the sixth, the Padres finally got to and pounded Kyle Kendrick who had, until the sixth, outpitched Mat Latos.  The Phils seventh inning explosion followed San Diego taking a short-lived 4-3 lead with a run off of pounded reliever Michael Stutes who ended up the winning pitcher while Qualls took the loss.    The Phils needed all 5 of those seventh inning runs as the struck for 2 eighth inning runs as reliever pounded reliever Antonio Bastardo who was reached for a rare time.  Madson recorded his 17th save, his 2nd in 2 games as the Phils beat the Padres again by an 8-6 score. 

With the 2 wins, The Phils’ extended their NL East lead to 5 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who were pounded by  Cincinnati.  The 3rd place Mets and the 4th place Washington Nationals are slowly dropping out of sight at 13 1/2 and 14 1/2 games out respectively.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides interesting notes on Friday’s game:

Hamels (12-5) allowed one run and three hits, striking out 10. The All-Star lefty bounced back from a rough outing last Saturday against the

Mets, retiring the last 10 batters he faced. He’s tied with Atlanta’s Jair Jurrjens for the most wins in the NL.

“He had good stuff, he moved the ball around good and when he missed, he was close,” manager Charlie Manuel said.

Ryan Madson finished for his 16th save in 17 tries. It was Madson’s first save since coming off the disabled list last week. Antonio Bastardo had filled in nicely.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second on an unearned run.  Shane Victorino led off with a hard bouncer that hopped off shortstop Jason Bartlett’s glove for an error. Victorino hustled to second on the play.  Carlos Ruiz followed with an RBI double to the gap in left-center.  Cameron Maybin nearly ran it down, but the ball hit off the tip of his glove.

Luebke balked in a run that gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the fourth. Victorino led off with a single, went to second when Ruiz walked and advanced to third on a flyout. After Victorino scored on the balk, John Mayberry Jr., hit a double down the left-field line to make it 3-0.

That was enough for Hamels. He has allowed three runs or less in 18 of his 21 starts. Hamels lowered his ERA to 2.62 and recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 18th time in his career.

“I’ve seen him [presumably Hamels] develop into a pitcher who can do a lot of things,” Padres manager Bud Black said. “His movement on his fastball and on his change and his command of his pitches have really improved. He’s showing that being an All-Star is warranted.”

Maybin led off the fifth with a single. He stole second, advanced to third on a groundout and scored on Alberto Gonzalez’s grounder to third to make it 3-1.

On Saturday, the Phils installed Utley as cleanup hitter with centerfielder Victorino batting 3rd and Mayberry Jr. playing 1st base and batting eighth with Howard sitting as manager Charlie Manuel set up an unusual lineup.   And so,  after shortstop Jimmy Rollins opened the game with a double, Martinez, batting 2nd grounding out a bunt.  Victorino walked and Rollins stole 3rd base.  Utley followed reaching Latos for a 3 run opposite-field blast to leftfield as the Phils took a first inning lead.

Meanwhile, Kendrick spread out 2 singles and 2 walks over five innings and cruised until the sixth.  But then opposing pitcher Latos singled to shallow centerfield to open the sixth, and 2 homers later Kendrick was out with his book closed, and Stutes was in with the game tied at 3.

The AP game recap for Yahoo sports provides detail on what happened next:

Maybin’s RBI single in the seventh off Stutes put the Padres up 4-3.

Howard then hit the first pitch from Qualls into the seats in left-center to tie it at 4. Pinch-hitter Ross Gload followed with a double down the right-field line. After Rollins walked, Martinez fouled off two bunt attempts. The runners moved up on a wild pitch, so Martinez got the green light to swing away.

He ripped a drive into the seats in right for his second career homer—his first was a three-run shot last Sunday at the New York Mets—to give the Phillies a 7-4 lead. Martinez, a Rule 5 pickup, has filled in nicely for injured All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco. He’s batting .294 (15 for 51) with 15 RBIs in his last 13 games.

“He’s hot right now, he’s getting big hits and getting the chance to play,” Manuel said. “Hope he continues hitting like that.”

Utley chased Qualls with a solo homer that made it 8-4. It was his 19th career multihomer game, and first this season.

“That’s key that Chase has been swinging the bat well,” Howard said.

Antonio Bastardo allowed a run in the eighth and left with the bases loaded and two outs. David Herndon(notes) came in and walked pinch-hitter Alberto Gonzalez to force in a run that got the Padres within 8-6. But he retired Maybin on a bouncer to the mound to end the inning.

Bastardo, who is 7 for 7 in save chances, entered with a 0.99 ERA and left at 1.46.

For all of Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s scores and recaps, click here, here and here.

On Sunday, staff ace Roy Halladay is opposed by Tim Stauffer while lefthander Cliff Lee tries again for his 10th win dueling with Aaron Harang in the series final.

For all of Sunday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Rollins, Worley Star as Phillies Pound Cubs

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

Jimmy Rollins   Vance Worley    Chase Utley

Young Phillies’ starter Vance Worley keeps looking like he belongs on the staff of aces, this time holding the Chicago Cubs hitless through 4 1/3 innings and to a run and 4 hits through eight innings.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins carried a big stick vs Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who lasted but three innings, and 2 relievers slamming 2 solo homers and a double with 3 RBIs.  He was joined by hot-hitting utilityman/3rd baseman Michael Martinez with 2 hits, an RBI and 2 runs scored, and 2nd baseman Chase Utley who belted 2 doubles and drove in 2 runs.  Worley even joined in helping his cause with a second inning double and a run scored.   Worley struck out 7 and walked 2 in a 111 pitch eight inning masterpiece with Ryan Madson quickly dispatching the Cubs in order in the ninth inning on  8 pitches as Rollins and Worley star as the Phillies pounded the Cubs by 9-1 in the final to take 2 of the 3 games.

With the win, The Phils’ widened their NL East lead to 4 1/2 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who were edged by  Colorado.  The Mets remained in 3rd place 12 games back after edging St. Louis.  The Washington Nationals slid back in 4th place 13 1/2 games behind after being edged by Houston in eleven innings.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides game highlights:

The rookie dominated over eight innings… on a scorching Wednesday at Wrigley Field.

“You never know who’s going to step up,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “This is a game of opportunity. When you get an opportunity, you have to take advantage of it. Some guys do and some guys don’t.”

The 23-year-old right-hander allowed one run and four hits while striking out seven and walking two, and he got all the support he needed.

Rollins hit solo shots batting left-handed off Ramon Ortiz in the sixth and from the right side against John Grabow in the eighth. It was the second time in his career that he went deep from both sides and his first multi-homer game this season. He has seven in his career.

Dempster (7-7) lasted just three innings, giving up six runs and seven hits. But what stood out to manager Mike Quade was one misadventure in the first inning.

Shortstop Starlin Castro waved off second baseman Darwin Barney on a pop fly by Michael Martinez with one out and lost the ball in the sun, allowing it to fall in for a single. That set the tone for a two-run inning and, really, a miserable afternoon for the Cubs.

Martinez had two hits, two steals and scored two runs for Philadelphia. Chase Utley added two RBI doubles and scored one. The Phillies broke this one open early.

With the game-time temperature at 97 degrees, they jumped on Dempster with two runs in the first, three in the second and another in the third.

That was plenty for Worley, who did not allow a hit until Geovany Soto singled with one out in the fifth.

”I started getting a little tired,” Worley said after throwing 111 pitches. “I think the heat was more tiring than the pitch count.

The Phillies got an RBI single by Ryan Howard and an RBI groundout by Shane Victorino in the first, after Castro lost Martinez’s pop fly and Utley walked.

Back-to-back two-out doubles in the second by Worley and Rollins along with a run-scoring single by Martinez and an RBI double by Utley made it 5-0.   Brian Schneider doubled in a run in the third. Utley added another RBI double against Ortiz in the fourth, making it 7-0.

The Cubs scored in the seventh on Soto’s fielder’s choice grounder with the bases loaded, but the game was well out of hand by then.

Then came Rollins, who put the frosting on the cake with solo shots in the sixth and eighth innings to cap the scoring for the Phils who improved their MLB best record to 61-36.

For all of Wednesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils have the day off on Thursday before returning home for a 10 game stand to finish out July.   They open a 4 game series with the San Diego Padres on Friday with lefthanders Cole Hamels, who seeks his 12th win, and Cory Luebke opposing each other.   On Saturday, Kyle Kendrick is opposed by Mat Latos.

For all of Thursday’s, Friday’s and Saturday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here, here and here.

Martinez Clutch Again, Leads Phillies Past Cubs

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

Michael Stutes    Michael Martinez    Antonio Bastardo

For a .228 BA hitter, Phillies’ 3rd baseman, aka utility man Michael Martinez keeps coming up clutch in important situations.   On Tuesday, Martinez broke up a 2-2 tie in the ninth with a 2 on, 2 out double off of Chicago Cubs’ lefthanded reliever Sean Marshall to make a winner out of reliever Michael Stutes who threw shutout seventh and eighth innings in relief of lefthander  Cliff Lee.   Lee gave up a first inning 2 run homer to Cubs’ shortstop Starlin Castro and former Tampa Bay Ray Matt Garza made the lead stand tossing a 3 hitter through seven innings in a duel with Lee.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins led off the eighth inning with a single chasing Garza.   Marshall came on and gave up a single to Martinez followed by a 2 run game-tying double to 2nd baseman Chase Utley.    Having already blown a save opportunity, Marshall went on to lose the game in the ninth on Martinez’s 2 run double.  The rookie utilityman was out at 3rd trying to stretch the double to a triple as the inning ended.    Lee settled down after the homer by Castro giving up 6 hits through his six inning stint while setting down the Cubs in order in the third and fourth innings.  The Cubs threatened but came up empty in the second and fifth innings as neither starter was part of the final decision.   After Stutes held off the Cubs in the seventh and eighth, reliever Antonio Bastardo went clean on the Cubs in the ninth striking out the side to earn his 7th save as Martinez came up clutch again leading the Phillies past the Cubs by 4-2 to deadlock the series at 1 game apiece.

With the win, The Phils’ NL East lead was back up to 3 1/2 games ahead of the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who were thumped by Colorado.  The Mets jumped back into 3rd place remaining 12 games back after beating St. Louis.  The Washington Nationals slid back into 4th place 12 1/2 games behind after being edged by Houston.

For Martinez, it was his 3rd clutch game in ten days, with the All Star break intervening, having gone 4 for 5 and scoring 2 runs on July 10th, and having slammed his 1st MLB homer and driving in 4 runs on July 17th before Tuesday’s heroics which gave the Phils their 60th win of the season.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides the game highlights:

The winning rally started when Marshall yielded a two-out single by pinch-hitter Ben Francisco.  Jimmy Rollins then hit a hard smash off third baseman Aramis Ramirez’s glove, putting runners on first and second, and Martinez drove them in with a bloop double down the right-field line.

Martinez got caught in a rundown off second, ending the inning, but the damage was done. The clutch hit made a winner of Michael Stutes (4-1), who pitched two scoreless innings, and Antonio Bastardo struck out the side for his seventh save in seven chances.

“Martinez hit it in a great place, an ideal place,” Manuel said. “He was fortunate. I was hoping it was (fair). When it hit, I knew it was fair because I saw it, but when he hit it, I was pulling for it.”

Marshall (5-4) gave up three runs and five hits in two innings, spoiling another outstanding start by Garza.

Marshall came in after Rollins led off the eighth with a single, and the game quickly unraveled for the Cubs. Martinez singled before Utley sent his tying hit into left-center.

With the infield in, Castro saved a run when he fielded Shane Victorino’s one-out chopper to shortstop and fired home to nail Utley trying to score from third. Marshall struck out Raul Ibanez, but the rally handed another no-decision to Garza.

“I think he can take pride in the fact that he put us in position to win,” manager Mike Quade said. “He’s pitched well. The last two outings have been really good.”

Lee, meanwhile, settled down after a shaky start. The 2008 AL Cy Young Award winner allowed eight hits, struck out six and walked none before being lifted for pinch-hitter Ross Gload with two on and two out in the seventh.

Gload flied to center to end that threat, but the Phillies came through in the final two innings.

“I had to battle out of some tough spots,” said Lee, who stranded two runners in the second and fifth. “That was pretty big to keep it at 2-0. We scored two in the eighth and two in the ninth that was a heck of a win, that was good.”

For all of Tuesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils hope to take another series on Wednesday as youngster Vance Worley goes for his 6th win opposed by Ryan Dempster for the Cubs in the series final.    The Phils have Thursday off before returning home for a 10 game stand to finish out July.

For all of Wednesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Heat Chases Halladay as Cubs Club Phillies

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

Roy Halladay
Chicago Cubs starter and former Phil Rodrigo Lopez pitched on Monday as if in classic role-reversal giving up five hits in seven innings, including Phillies’ shortstop Jimmy Rollin’s fourth inning solo shot — the Phils’ only run.  The intense Chicago heat chased ace Roy Halladay who tossed 69 pitches into the fifth inning giving up 3 runs, including 3rd baseman Aramis Ramirez’s first inning solo homer, on seven hits.   Halladay, who gave up 2 third inning runs, finally succumbed to the heat after giving up a fifth inning leadoff single to shortstop Starlin Castro.  Relievers Drew Carpenter and David Herndon were both pounded as the Cubs scored 2 more runs in the sixth inning and 1 more in the seventh, on 1st baseman Carlos Pena’s solo blast as the heat chased Halladay and the Cubs clubbed the Phillies by 6-1 in the opener of their 3 game series.

With the loss, The Phils’ NL East lead dropped to 2 1/2 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who again won their game.  The 3rd place Washington Nationals won their game and are now 11 1/2 games behind while the 4th place Mets dropped to 12 games back after losing to Florida, now 12 1/2 games down in last place in the NL East.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides game highlights:

Aramis Ramirez and Carlos Pena homered to back a dominant start by Rodrigo Lopez.

Halladay (11-4) doubled over and was visited by a trainer after Starlin Castro led off the fifth inning with a single. Drew Carpenter came in to replace him.

Halladay was drenched in sweat on a humid night in which the game-time temperature was 91. The heat clearly affected him.

“He got a little dizzy,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We were a little concerned about dehydration, brought him in here and got (the Cubs’) doctor and he was looking at him.”

Halladay gave up three runs and seven hits and took his first loss since May 15. He had his first outing since starting for the National League in last week’s All-Star game and pitching two perfect innings, and pitching coach Rich Dubee said the hectic schedule might have contributed to the problem.

This was Halladay’s shortest outing since he pitched three innings for Toronto against Florida on June 12, 2009, and it ended a string of 63 road starts in which he lasted at least six innings. It was the longest such streak since Walter Johnson went 82 straight road starts from 1911-15.
Ramirez gave the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first when he drove his 17th homer— and 12th in 23 games—to the basket in left-center field.

Chicago added two runs in the third when Lopez led off with a single and scored on Ramirez’s bases-loaded sacrifice fly to deep right. Pena then lined a single, making it 3-0, and it was during that inning when Manuel started noticing his pitcher wasn’t quite right.

“I could tell he was grasping for air,” he said.

Lopez gave up a leadoff homer to Jimmy Rollins in the fourth after retiring the first nine batters, but that was all the scoring he allowed.

He gave up five hits and left to loud cheers, tipping his cap as he headed to the dugout after John Mayberry Jr. singled with two outs in the seventh.

The Cubs got RBI doubles from Darwin Barney and Kosuke Fukudome in the sixth, and another run in the seventh when Pena drove his team-leading 20th homer out to center, making it 6-1.

Embattled closer Carlos Marmol worked the ninth after being shut down following two brutal outings against Florida on Thursday and Friday. He issued two-out walks to Carlos Ruiz and Domonic Brown before striking out Mayberry to end the game.

For all of Monday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils hope to even up the series as lefthander Cliff Lee again tries for his 10th win opposed by former Tampa Bay RayMatt Garza.

For all of Tuesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Martinez Slams 1st MLB Homer, Kendrick Pitches Phillies Past Mets

Monday, July 18th, 2011

Michael Martinez    Kyle Kendrick    Jimmy Rollins
Phillies’ sometimes starter, sometimes reliever Kyle Kendrick tossed 109 pitches over seven innings on Sunday while giving up 6 hits and a run to win his 5th game, despite walking 3 as the Phils offense again reached Mets’ starter Mike Pelfrey for 4 runs in five innings of work.   Substitute 3rd baseman Michael Martinez slammed a 1 out, 3 run homer, his first career shot, off of Pelfrey in the fifth to stake Kendrick to a 4-0 lead.   1st baseman Ryan Howard singled in a first inning run with 2 outs.   Martinez sacrificed in the Phils 5th run on a fly out to centerfield in the seventh.   Kendrick helped his cause with the stick with 2 singles and a sacrifice bunt.   With the score 5-1 in the eighth, the Phils gave reliever Pedro Beato fits scoring 3 runs on an error, 3 walks and just 1 hit — all with 2 outs in the inning.  The Phils needed all 3 of those runs as the Mets checked in with 3 eighth inning runs and another in the ninth off of 3 Phils relievers.   Reliever Antonio Bastardo racked up his 6th save despite giving up the Mets’ ninth inning run as Martinez slammed 1st MLB homer and Kendrick pitched the Phillies past the Mets by 8-5 to take 2 of the 3 game series.

The Phils’ NL East lead remained 3 1/2 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who also won their game.  The 3rd place Mets dropped to 12 games back and the 4th place Washington Nationals, who also lost, dropped to 12 /12 games back.

AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides the highlights of Monday’s series final:

Michael Martinez waited a long time for his moment in the big leagues. He never expected it would come on a home run.

The 28-year-old rookie hit a three-run shot for his first major league homer to back a steady outing by Kyle Kendrick and help lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their seventh straight series win… on Sunday.

“It was worth the wait,” Martinez said through a translator.

Martinez, a Rule 5 pick from Washington, added a sacrifice fly in the seventh for a career-high four RBIs.  He came in hitting .213 in 89 at-bats, getting most of his playing time because of his defensive abilities.

“He’s got good hands and a good arm,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s got a real chance to be a good utility player.”

Kendrick singled twice and scored on Martinez’s drive in the fifth inning off Mike Pelfrey (5-9).

Ryan Howard hit a run-scoring single in the first and Philadelphia took two of three from the NL East rival Mets for the fourth time this season.  Jimmy Rollins had a two-run single in a three-run eighth aided by Jason Bay’s error in left field and reliever Pedro Beato’s three walks.

Those eighth-inning runs provided a needed cushion when the Mets took advantage of four walks and a hit batter to score three in the bottom half— Kendrick left after the seventh.

“Fortunately we had enough (runs) to keep us good,” Howard said.

Kendrick (5-4) continued his dominance of division opponents, improving to 4-1 in 11 games—four starts—this season. A day after the makeshift Mets roughed up Cole Hamels in an 11-2 rout, Kendrick pitched like one of his more accomplished staffmates.

Until the seventh, when pinch-hitter Scott Hairston hit an RBI single, Kendrick shut down New York anytime he found himself in trouble.

Chase Utley walked with two outs in the first, stole second and scored on Howard’s hit to right field.

Kendrick and Rollins singled in the fifth ahead of Martinez. Playing for injured All-Star third baseman
Placido Polanco,
the switch-hitting Martinez, batting lefty, hit a drive that just cleared the angled wall in right field for a 4-0 lead.

Rollins went 3 for 5 for the game driving in 2 runs and scoring 1 run himself.

For all of Sunday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils now head to Wrigley Field to play 3 games with the woeful Chicago Cubs before coming home for a 10 game stand to finish out July.   Ace Roy Halladay is slated to start Monday’s opener opposed by former Phil Rodrigo Lopez for the Cubs.

For all of Monday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.