For the first time in two games Ryan Howard was in the Phillies starting lineup Saturday night against the Pirates. Kyle Kendrick took the mound against the cross state rivals opposing Matt Morris who, like Kendrick, has struggled this season. Both starters were looking to try to turn their seasons in a positive direction.
Things looked to be starting off well for Morris, getting Jason Werth and Gregg Dobbs in order. Chase Utley came to the plate and hit a line drive single to right, bringing Ryan Howard to the plate.
Howard had taken the last two games off to try to clear his head in hopes of getting out of his early slump in which his is hitting below .200. Howard did appear as a pinch hitter in both games.
After fouling off three consecutive pitches by Morris, Howard hit a bomb of a home run right over the center field wall for his fifth of the season making the score 2-0. Pat Burrell singled on a line drive to Jason Bay, and Geoff Jenkins knocked him in on what was scored a error on Xavier Nady when Jenkins hit a ball over Nady's head that bounced out of his glove. Chris Coste was up next and after three pitches was hit by Morris to give the Phils 1st and 2nd with two outs. Eric Bruntlett singled on a ground ball to center field bringing in Jenkins and moving Coste to 2nd, and in what seemed to be a never ending nightmare for Matt Morris, Kyle Kendrick reached base when SS Brian Bixler booted a ball into center field brining in Coste. Finally, after allowing six runs to score, Jason Werth flied out to end the inning.
It didn't take long for the Phils to tack on another run, when in the top of the 2nd inning, Chase Utley singled, Ryan Howard walked, and two batters later Eric Bruntlett singled to left to bring home Utley.
The Pirates finally made some noise in the third after Kendrick hit Brian Bixler with a pitch. Two batters later, Nate Mclouth hit a line drive center field to bring home Bixler, and Freddy Sanchez doubled to right bringing home Mclouth.
The Pirates pen appeared to have been keeping the Phils offense in check until the sixth inning. Brian Bixler recorded his second error of the game of a hit by Eric Bruntlett and after back-to-back doubles by Jason Werth and Pedro Feliz, the Phils tacked on two more runs to their lead.
The Pirates got one back in the seventh as Doug Mientkiewicz singled to center, Ronny Paulino attempted to move over Mientkiewicz and hit a slow dribbler that was fielded by Kendrick, but because of the rushed play, was thrown away. Mientkiewicz advanced to third on the error and was brought home on a ground out by Bixler.
Kendrick pitched into the eighth inning, but after giving up a leadoff home run to Nate Mclouth and allowing a single to Freddy Sanchez, Kendrick was pulled for Rudy Seanez who managed to get out of the inning without allowing any more runs. Ryan Madson came in for the Phils in the ninth and was able to close it out for an 8-4 win for the Phils
The Phils send ace Brett Myers to the mound on Sunday hoping to get their first three game sweep of the season.