With a Texas franchise entering the park, the Phillies hosted their first ever Country Music Night; yet another themed evening intended to bring fans to the park who may not necessarily be interested in watching a last place ball team play a second to last place ball team.
On the mound for the Phillies tonight was Kyle Kendrick, a guy who knows how to bring out the best in people.
Heard in the pressbox: "Kyle (expletive) Kendrick? This is (expletive). Every (expletive) time I cover a game that (expletive) is pitching."— Ryan Lawrence (@ryanlawrence21) August 5, 2014
Ryan Howard heroically ended the Phillies 22-inning scoreless drought in the second with an unprecedented home run off lefthander Dallas Keuchel. It brought an abrupt conclusion to the Phillies' attempt to beat their previous 2014 scoreless inning street, which lasted for four days and 23 innings.
Kyle got through the first six innings, leading to speculation on just which inning would be his sudden and furious undoing. The Astros' own one-run producing machine roared to life in the seventh, when none other than Jonathan Singleton lived up to his name and singled in a run after Kendrick walked Chris Carter and gave up a single to Jason Castro to start the inning.
With runners on the corners, Bob McClure and his mustache came out to the mound for an intense bristling. He talked Kyle into giving up a fly ball to Matt Dominguez, which Marlon Byrd caught, and then sprinted in from the outfield to return the ball, a practice the other outfielders must be trying to ingrain in Ben Revere. It kept the base runners from moving, and the subsequent double play from Jake Marisnick smothered the threat.
Ken Giles took over in the eighth, and the youngling aced what might have been the heart of the Astros order; it's impossible to tell. In the bottom of the inning, Howard neutralized his earlier heroics with a double play ball that ended a rally started when Revere singled and Chase Utley walked.
Jonathan Papelbon descended on the scene, and promptly walked and struck out everybody. Somehow, no runs crossed the plate, and the stage was set for the Phillies walkoff win.
80 pitches later, the combination of Giles, Papelbon, and Jake Diekman had allowed no runs, and then Antonio Bastardo took over and struck out Carter, Castro, and Singleton. Kyle Kendrick offered him a congratulatory hand-slap and Bastardo struck him out too. He'd struck out Ryne Sandberg and two of the trainers before they managed to put him in containment until it was time to go back out for the 12th.
Then he struck out Matt Dominguez and Jake Marisnick, then overheated and gave up a walk and a wild pitch before righting himself and striking out Gregorio Petit.
It was f***** up.
In case you didn't guess, the Phillies weren't scoring either, going up and down offensively like good little soldiers, dedicated to losing the war. The Phillies eight-man bullpen continued holding back the highly non-threatening Astros, with Justin De Fratus in the 13th and Mario Hollands in the 14th.
Eventually, they ran out of baseball players.
That was Jake Buchanan's first at-bat since 2012 in Corpus Christi.— Tyler Stafford (@JeffBlogwell) August 6, 2014
Hector Neris came in to pitch then, who is apparently a player for the Phillies whose position is pitcher. Even he threw a scoreless inning, which was, as all others before it, matched in its scorelessness by the Phillies offense.
Meanwhile, Antonio Bastardo was in the clubhouse, striking out a folding chair.
But wait! In the bottom of the 15th, Grady Sizemore singled and Chase Utley was intentionally walked. With two runners on, that's Ryan Howard coming to the plate!
And look at that! He singled and the game is over! The curse is broken! We can go to sleep! A THOUSAND BLESSINGS UPON YOU, RYAN HOWARD! YOU WILL LIVE ON IN IMMEASURABLE WONDER FROM THIS NIGHT!
The Phillies had nine hits in a 15-inning game. Jimmy Rollins, Marlon Byrd, and Carlos Ruiz went a combined 0-for-18.