It seemed like old times during the early stages of the Phillies home opener against the Royals.
Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard lined consecutive singles in the first to take an early lead.
Kyle Kendrick received significant support, just like he did during the franchise’s glory days a half decade ago.
But the Phillies and all of their modern problems resurfaced as Kansas City came back to thump manager Charlie Manuel’s squad, 13-4.
Domonic Brown and Erik Kratz homered. Kendrick was cruising with a 4-0 lead going into the fifth inning. He had given up just two hits midway through the game but it all changed dramatically. Kendrick left with two outs in the sixth with a 4-2 lead. But the middle relief killed the Phillies.
Jeremy Horst gave up a bases-loaded triple after Kendrick left the game. Horst, Chad Durbin and Raul Valdes were each torched. The trio allowed 11 hits and eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. The Royals had 17 hits in the last five innings. In each of those frames Kansas City put up crooked numbers.
“We’ve got to finish teams off,” Ryan Howard said. “We can’t let off the gas. I don’t want to say we let off the gas. Those guys just came back swinging. Sometimes that happens in baseball. We just got beat today.”
The Royals had 17 hits in their first three games of the season against the White Sox. They finished with 19 against the Phillies.
The Phillies offense was out of commission after scoring four early runs.
They had opportunities to score more against the Royals struggling starter Wade Davis. They left nine men on base. They left an incredible 47 men on base in Atlanta.
The Phillies appeared to make the necessary offseason addition by signing eighth-inning specialist Mike Adams. But the shutdown bullpen piece has yet to be used this season.
The aforementioned Brown is swinging a hot bat but his fielding became an issue. While trying to keep the game close, Brown dove for a ball in left in the seventh. Not only did he fail to make the catch but the ball rolled by him.
“I thought I had a good chance at it,” Brown said. “I’d do it over again. They were already up by two runs. The bases are loaded. I’m trying to catch that. It’s a do or die play right there. I’m trying to make a play for my pitcher.”
It’s all moot since the Phillies’ relievers were throwing batting practice to the plucky Royals. The Phillies looked as feeble and defenseless as a team can be during the last half of the game.
“The last five innings were ugly,” Manuel said. “It got out of hand. It got to be open season. All we can do is come back tomorrow and try to win a game. We’ve got to improve.”