Phillies Fall Apart in Home Opener, Lose 13-4

Alex Gordon swings and connects in the 6th inning of the Phillies home opener on Friday.You couldn’t really dream up a better start to today’s home opener. There were home runs, extra base hits, good defense and a solid start from Kyle Kendrick. Then, the 5th inning happened. Kansas City erupted for 13 runs over the final five innings and coasted to a 13-4 victory at Citizens Bank Park.

Domonic Brown got the crowd going early with a towering home run to right field, as the Phillies took the early lead on Royals starter Wade Davis. Ryan Howard chipped in with two RBI’s and Erik Kratz homered as the¬†Phillies¬†opened up a 4-0 lead through 4 innings. The Phillies registered 9 hits through those first 4 innings, they were able to reach base just once over the final five innings, failing to get another hit.

Kyle Kendrick looked sharp through 4 innings, but got into trouble in each of the 5th and 6th innings, surrendering 5 runs as the Phillies lead vanished in a heartbeat. Kendrick struggled with men on base in those fateful two innings.

Eric Hosmer got the Royals on the board in the 5th with a crucial two out single with the bases loaded, driving in two. Kendrick loaded the bases again in the 6th, before being pulled in favor of Jeremy Horst with two outs, great move. Alex Gordon cleared the bases with a triple off Horst. The wheels fell off from there.

The Phillies bullpen allowed 8 earned runs over 3 and 1/3 innings on the strength of 11 hits. The unit that struggled to hold leads last year has failed to keep games close in the first 4 games this year. Early as it is, getting the pen straightened out is going to play a big role in this team being competitive.

Left-hander John Lannan makes his Phillies debut in the second game today, squaring off against Royals righty Luis Mendoza. The young Mendoza beat out veteran Bruce Chen for the 5th spot in the rotation in spring training. Lannan, coming off a decent spring, will be tasked with getting the Phillies back on track after yesterday’s deflating loss.

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Orlando Morales