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07/07/07 3:05 AM ET
Phillies let lead slip away in loss
Philadelphia's Alfonseca has second straight blown save
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
DENVER -- Antonio Alfonseca simply waved his finger and departed for the food area of the visitors' clubhouse, clearly unwilling to discuss how this one got away. Really, what could he say about the down-the-middle fastball he threw to Brad Hawpe, allowing the Rockies to go from a strike away from defeat to a 7-6 win in 11 innings on Friday night? "It looked like he got ahead 1-2, then threw a ball right down the middle," manager Charlie Manuel said of Alfonseca's second straight blown save. While the previous blown save came because of a wrong call by first-base umpire Lance Barksdale, this one was on Alfonseca. The righty entered with one out and none on in the bottom of the ninth, and he retired Garrett Atkins on a fly to left. Hawpe homered into the rocks and trees well over the center-field wall, a similar spot to where Matt Holliday took Michael Zagurski deep in the seventh. Yorvit Torrealba ended the frustrating defeat with an 11th-inning single off J.D. Durbin, handing the Phillies their first defeat in five games started by Kyle Kendrick. "We couldn't hold them," Manuel said. Leaky relievers Zagurski, Jose Mesa and Alfonseca coughed up a run each in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings, tying the score and erasing Kendrick's six-inning, three-run effort. The righty had heard stories about Coors Field, humidor or no humidor. Despite allowing 10 hits, Kendrick turned in a performance similar to his first five outings. He struck out two but got eight ground-ball outs. Three of the hits he allowed came in the sixth, when the NL's best hitting team plated two runs. "I got two quick outs, then a base hit, another base it, and before I knew it, they got two runs," Kendrick said. "I hung a few pitches, and they hit them. The ball carries here. You have to keep the ball down. I can't believe we lost that game. It stinks." The Phillies pounded the Rockies' best pitcher, Jeff Francis, for three first-inning runs, and they added a fourth run in the second inning. That had to be considered surprising, considering the lefty had been enjoying a highly productive stretch, entering Friday's outing with a 7-1 record and a 2.28 ERA in his past 11 outings. The Phils sent nine men to the plate in the first, and they pelted Francis for 12 hits over five innings. Kendrick was the only Phillies starter without a hit. After Colorado wore out New York starters Tom Glavine, Jason Vargas and Orlando Hernandez in outscoring the Mets, 34-12, in a three-game sweep this week, Kendrick put out some of that fire before Manuel turned to the 'pen. Playing matchups in the ninth, Manuel went to J.C. Romero to create a lefty-lefty situation with Todd Helton. Romero got Helton, and Manuel thought about sticking with him with lefty Hawpe scheduled to follow Atkins. He opted for Alfonseca, who blew his third save in nine chances. Manuel hinted that he might not play matchups more often. "I'll do what I have to do," he said.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.