Friday, April 5, 2013

Bullpen implodes as Royals trounce Phillies in home opener

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
@Philabaseball

Giveaway rally towels became flags of surrender on Friday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

"This was a tough one," Ryan Howard said, following a 13-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals in the Phillies' home opener. "I know it's early, but it's tough. You don't ever want to lose your home opener like that."

A sellout crowd watched the Phillies' offense jump all over Royals' starter Wade Davis en route to a 4-0 lead, but the tables turned beginning in the fifth inning and when all was said and done the Royals scored 13 unanswered runs.

Even the most optimistic of Phillies' fans scattered for the exits before the final out was recorded, leaving a hearty few standing throughout the ballpark waving towels above their heads.

"Nobody likes to open the schedule like that," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I don't know what you're going to do about it, except come out again tomorrow and play as hard as we can to get better."

Things were going smoothly for Kyle Kendrick until the fifth when he surrendered a pair of runs, allowing the Royals to trim the Phillies' lead to 4-2. He ran into more trouble in the sixth and was eventually pulled with the bases loaded and two outs for left-handed reliever Jeremy Horst.

Three pitches later the Phillies were trailing 5-4 as Alex Gordon cracked a 1-1 fastball to right-center field to clear the bases.

Things just got worse from that point on as Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes combined to allow five more runs over the final three innings.

When the dust settled, the Royals finished the afternoon with 19 hits. 

Chris Getz finished 3-for-5 and drove in three via a bases-clearing triple to left field in the seventh that bounced past a diving Domonic Brown.

"That was a play where you just can't let the ball get behind you," Manuel said. "Once the ball gets by you, the game is about over."

Following Friday's contest, the Phillies have the highest earned run average in the majors at 7.68. 

"You can't it let get to you yet," Kendrick said. "We let one get away today, but it's still early. Obviously, we've got to play better. Flat-out, we've got to play better."

- Patrick Gordon is the Managing Editor of the Philadelphia Baseball Review. Follow him on Twitter @Philabaseball and contact him at pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com.

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