06/20/07 12:10 PM ET
Phils' bats boost Kendrick to first win
Mesa records key out in eighth; Howard carries offense
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
Ditto for rookie Kyle Kendrick, who isn't trying to be Freddy Garcia, So far, he isn't. He's been better. With Garcia perhaps out for the season, his potential long-term replacement shut down one of the American League's better offenses.The righty logged six innings in each of his two starts since being promoted from Double-A Reading, something Garcia did only twice in his 11 outings. He also recorded his first Major League win, matching Garcia's 2007 total, and the Phillies have won both of his starts. "That's always nice to get my first one out of the way," Kendrick said. "Now, let's keep going. I'm just trying to keep our team in the game and pitch my game." His game is getting ground balls, something he also did against the White Sox in his debut. That represented a special challenge against a Cleveland squad who entered the game in a three-way tie for the league's home run lead. Ryan Garko added to that total of 83 with a solo shot in the second, and Kendrick surrendered two more runs in the fourth. After allowing a single to Mike Rouse with two outs in the fourth, Kendrick retired the next seven batters. The 22-year-old benefited from an early lead generated with three first-inning runs. Jimmy Rollins stole a page from Grady Sizemore's Monday playbook and bunted his way on -- on the game's first pitch. "Grady definitely inspired me," Rollins said, adding that he warned Wednesday's Cleveland starter, C.C. Sabathia, that he might try such a tactic again. "Whatever works." Pitcher Jason Stanford fielded Rollins' roller on the third-base side of the mound and short-hopped a throw to first. The play was ruled a single. Stanford then hit Utley and surrendered a single to Ryan Howard, scoring the first run. Pat Burrell, refocused after a two-day benching, delivered a two-run double, giving the Phillies an early three-run cushion. "That was huge," said Utley. "[Burrell] fought it off and drove it the opposite way, which is a good sign." Howard added a mammoth, second-deck home run in the third, and Philadelphia plated two insurance runs in the seventh with a bases-loaded two-run single by Utley off former teammate Aaron Fultz. The Phillies needed Howard again in the ninth. Clinging to a one-run lead, the big guy provided more breathing room with a two-run double, and pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs laced a double to score Howard. Utley and Howard delivered six of Philadelphia's runs, all coming in key spots in the game.
"I don't think people realize how much offense they provide for us," Manuel said. "They're big parts of our offense. We need them."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.