In the weirdest of ways the Phillies won tonight's series opener against the Cardinals by a score of 5-4.
The game certainly started like I expected it to with Kyle Kendrick, the human equivalent of the fail horn, pitching for the Phillies. Just three batters into the game, the Cardinals had a 2-0 lead. By the end of the first inning, Kendrick had given up three runs on four hits and a walk. Just typical Kyle Kendrick, vomiting up runs in the first inning like he drank an ipecac smoothie.
Kyle Kendrick moves back ahead of Edwin Jackson in the first inning ER/ERA department. Now 28 ER/9.69 ERA in first inning this season.— Christopher Kamka (@ckamka) August 23, 2014
That is ultra super terrible. Jar Jar Binks, were he to pitch a full season with his weird four-fingered hands, would have a lower first inning ERA than Kyle Kendrick. And everyone would like Jar Jar Binks better than Kyle Kendrick, which should tell you all you need to know about how much people loathe Kendrick. It was Star Wars night at Citizens Bank Park, and the Phillies missed a huuuuge chance to make Kendrick's picture look like Jar Jar Binks. I think they did a pretty good job of making him look like an enormous dorkball, though.
Probably got stomped by an AT-AT pic.twitter.com/1JDFGONYVG— Paul Boyé (@paul_boye) August 23, 2014
Kendrick gave up a towering solo homer to Matt Adams to lead off the third inning, and then that was the end of Kyle Kendrick giving up runs for today. After giving up back-to-back singles in the fourth inning, he retired the final seven Cardinals he faced.
The Phillies, for their part, took advantage of an Adam Wainwright who didn't seem quite like himself. They scored a run early, on a single, a walk, and two sacrifices in the first inning. The third inning, though, is where Wainwright came apart/got majorly screwed. Kendrick and Ben Revere led off the bottom of the third with back-to-back singles. Jimmy Rollins walked (for the second straight at-bat) to load the bases, and then Chase Utley hit into a groundout that scored a run, bringing the score to 4-2. Ryan Howard followed with single and another run scored, 4-3. This was all against Adam Wainwright. After Howard's single, Marlon Byrd hit a sacrifice fly and the game was tied. Domonic Brown then walked. Again, I just want to reiterate that this was all against Adam Wainwright. So with Howard at second and Brown on first, Carlos Ruiz came to the plate.
Now this is where it gets weird.
Chooch singled up the middle and Ryan Howard started trucking toward third and Brown starts heading to second. Howard is running hard and makes the turn at third, then starts to run to home plate because third base coach Pete "I'm somehow worse at this job than Ryne Sandberg was last year" Mackanin was waving him home. But then Mackanin changes his mind and Howard, who is halfway home at this point, has to put on the breaks and head back to third. Brown, who was halfway to third base, had to head back. But by then, the baseball had been thrown to Matt Adams near second base, so Brown was caught. Or so you'd think. Still with me? Good. With Matt Adams and the baseball between him and second base, Dom decided to keep running to third, even though Howard was nearly to third base himself. And here is where everyone got bailed out of that unbelievably embarrassing situation. Matt Adams, despite being within tagging distance of Domonic Brown, decided to throw the ball to third instead. The throw was just a bit wide of the bag for third baseman Matt Carpenter, and the ball went past his glove and into foul ground. Howard, who had made it to third base (again, even though Dom Brown was running there) took off for home. He made it there without a throw from Carpenter and the Phillies had the lead.
After that animal crackers play (which you can watch here in case that novel-length description above didn't help you figure out what happened), everything calmed right down. Kendrick went 6 1/2 innings, and he actually outlasted Wainwright by a third of an inning. Neither pitcher gave up another run, and their respective bullpens didn't either. In fact, the Phillies bullpen didn't give up a single hit once they took over. Jake Diekman finished off the seventh inning, Ken Giles took care of the eighth inning, and Jonathan Papelbon closed out the game in the ninth inning to notch his 31st save. The three of them have been lights out lately, even though to me Giles and Diekman are a bright, beautiful beacon of exciting young talent on the Phillies.
Ken Giles has a 1.19 ERA now, by the way. I'm going to start a fan club. What should we call ourselves?