Baseball / Sports

Phillies offense wakes up in 9-7 victory over Brewers

MILWAUKEE -- Four nights earlier, in their second stop on their current, three-city road trip, the Phillies gave up a four-spot in the first inning and never recovered.

An offense that has scored three runs or fewer in 46 of their games this season went into flight instead of fight mode. They scored just two runs that night, and only two in each of the next two, too.

It was enough to bring the architect of the team, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., into a foul mood when the road trip locale changed to Milwaukee's Miller Park. Amaro said roster changes would be coming soon to remedy his underperforming, poor offense.

After eking out a win on Monday, perhaps some of the Phillies got word of Amaro's remarks earlier that day. On Tuesday, they broke out the lumber to save starter Kyle Kendrick from a dreadful night in Wisconsin.

Kendrick allowed five runs in the first inning -- four coming on a Lyle Overbay grand slam -- but the Phils stormed back with five of their own in the next half inning and rolled to a 9-7 victory on Tuesday night.

After losing nine of 10, the Phillies have won two in a row. Tuesday night marked the first time they scored more than five runs in a game since June 24, two weeks ago.

Chase Utley and Ben Revere each had two-run hits in the second inning to lead the early comeback while Domonic Brown kept the offense churning with a home run in the third and a two-run single in the fifth.

Utley, who entered the series hitting .220 with four extra-base hits in 37 games since May 29, is 4-for-7 with a home run and five RBI in the last two nights. Brown, one of the hitters Amaro could consider replacing in the near future, went 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBI on Tuesday; he is 8-for-23 (.348) in his last seven games.

In a season that has seen nearly nightly episodes of the Phillies starting pitcher getting shortchanged by his offense, the script reversed on Tuesday. Kendrick had his worst start of an up-and-down, seasick first half of the season.

Kendrick allowed a career-high tying 7 runs on a season-high 11 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

The five runs Kendrick allowed in the first brought his season total to 21 in the first innings of his 21 starts. He has a 10.50 ERA in the first inning this season, and a 3.34 ERA the rest of the time.

Instead of crawling into a hole like they did on Friday night in Pittsburgh when they were down four after the first, the Phils offense wasted little time erasing the deficit Kendrick created.

The top of the second inning began harmlessly with a pair of infield singles and a walk. But it quickly morphed into an inning that saw the Phillies send 10 batters to the plate; Revere's two-run, ground-rule double and Utley's two-run base hit highlighted the five-run inning that gave the team a 6-5 lead.

Kendrick settled down a bit, but kept Milwaukee in the game when Mark Reynolds ripped a two-run, pinch hit home run in the sixth. It was the third home run Kendrick allowed Tuesday; Kendrick has allowed 14 home runs in 18 starts this season, but had given up just one in his last five entering the night.

But the offense had already provided Kendrick with some leeway before the sixth. After hitting his sixth home run of the season in the third, Brown followed a Ryan Howard walk and a double by Cody Asche with a two-run single in the fifth.

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