Once again, the Phillies jumped out to a 4-0 lead over Kansas City. Once again, their pitchers failed to hold it and the offense failed to keep piling on runs in a 9-8 rubber-match defeat.
Looking to rebound from a poor opening day start, Hamels came out and mowed down six of the first seven hitters he faced. The Royals got on the board in the third, when eight-hole hitter Chris Getz led off with a bunt single, moved to second following a walk to Alex Gordon and scored on an Alcides Escobar double. Gordon crossed home next on Billy Butler’s RBI groundout.
Still, the Phillies held a 4-2 lead until the fifth, when Hamels’ start went from mediocre to disastrous. Getz led off with a long double. After James Shields struck out, Gordon reached on an infield single and Escobar drew a walk.
That brought up Butler, who deposited a fastball over a leaping Domonic Brown in left field. Originally ruled a triple, replay showed the ball crossed the fence into the flowerbed before bouncing back onto the field. The Royals led at that point, 6-4.
After retiring the side in the fifth, Hamels stayed in to pitch the sixth but again couldn’t get it going. Finally, after allowing three hits (though one was negated on a double play), Chad Durbin entered the ballgame. Durbin promptly walked Escobar on five pitches to load the bases. Butler’s ensuing single knocked in another two runs for the Royals. Butler tied a franchise record with seven RBIs on the afternoon.
The Phillies made it interesting once again in the ninth. Jimmy Rollins’ first homer of the year cut a five-run deficit to two, and after Chase Utley flew out, Ryan Howard delivered a two-out single to bring the tying run to the plate. Michael Young followed with another single, and pinch-hitter Laynce Nix knocked in Howard next. Young and Nix moved to third and second on a wild pitch, but finally – in a nine-pitch at-bat – Erik Kratz eventually bit on a Kelvin Herrera changeup to end the game.
Between their two four-run outbursts, the Phillies tallied five hits but failed to score a run as they went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position. (A Michael Young single in the third inning only advanced Utley from second to third.) On the day overall, the Phils drew just one walk and struck out 14 times, with punch-outs four coming courtesy of Kratz.
Monday at the Bank, Roy Halladay will take the hill against the Mets, who will trot out Matt Harvey. Doc is 9-2 with a 2.86 ERA in 12 career starts against the Mets.