The Phillies' final game before the All-Star break transpired in a familiar manner to those who watched the first 94 games of this lackluster season.
The bats mustered just five hits, Kyle Kendrick surrendered three first-inning runs and the Phillies lost to the first-place Nationals, 10-3, at Citizens Bank Park. Sunday afternoon's marked their second consecutive defeat on the heels of tying a season-high with five consecutive wins from Monday to Friday.
And thus the Phillies enter the break with a 42-53 record and mired in last place in the National League East. Their recent winning streak saved this from being their worst first half since the 1997 season, as their .442 winning percentage at the break just edges out their .425 mark of two seasons ago.
Sunday was the 41st time in 95 games the Phillies scored three runs or less. Just eight of those have resulted in victories. Cody Asche was the only Philadelphia player with multiple hits in the game. The team's 1-for-12 mark when hitting with runners in scoring position certainly didn't help matters.
Kyle Kendrick's first-inning woes continued, as Jayson Werth sent his former teammate's 0-1 breaking ball into the left-field seats for a three-run home run. The homer elevated Kendrick's first-inning ERA on the season to 11.37. In 19 starts, he's surrendered a Major-League worst 24 runs in the first innings while allowing a combined 38 runs in innings two through nine.
After Werth's longball, Kendrick (4-9) retired the next 14 batters he faced before Nationals starting pitcher Tanner Roark singled to right field with two outs in the fifth inning. An inning later, a Ryan Zimmerman sacrifice fly to right field scored Anthony Rendon and signaled the end of Kendrick's afternoon. In 5 2/3 innings of work, Kendrick was tagged with five earned runs on five hits. He struck out five and did not issue a walk.
Mario Hollands replaced Kendrick and struggled to get out of the inning. Ian Desmond smacked a two-run double to center field and Jose Lobaton, the Nationals' No. 8 hitter, singled him home to make it a 7-0 game.
After Howard's RBI groundout, Zimmerman increased the Nationals' lead back to seven with an eighth-inning, solo home run off Justin De Fratus. Washington added two more runs in the ninth off De Fratus.
Roark (8-6), the right-hander the Phillies lit up for seven runs back on May 3, tossed seven innings, surrendering just the one earned run on four hits to snap a personal two-game losing streak. The Nationals produced 12 hits, three coming from the bat of Rendon. Werth drove in four runs.
Asche doubled twice, including in the ninth inning to drive in a run.
The Phillies are back in action Friday in Atlanta for the start of a three-game series with the Braves.
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