SAN FRANCISCO – Shortly after the Phillies stumbled to an embarrassing 6-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Saturday afternoon, Kyle Kendrick informed a team official that he would not be sharing any insights about the game with the fellas who cover the team.
No big deal. Nobody needed to speak with Kendrick to know that he was mad as hell either at Ryan Howard and Chase Utley or at manager Ryne Sandberg –- maybe all of the above -- for coming out of the game after a sixth-inning defensive meltdown. Kendrick’s body language and angry dash from the mound and down the dugout steps was a damning quote in itself.
In that inning, the Giants parlayed a misplayed infield pop up and an ensuing error by Utley into a game-tying four-run rally as Kendrick's 5-1 lead disappeared like this city's famous morning fog.
“It was a big momentum swing,” Sandberg said.
The Giants scored the go-ahead run on a triple by Joe Panik and a base hit by Gregor Blanco in the bottom of the eighth. Again, the Phillies’ defense was lacking as shortstop Jimmy Rollins never saw Blanco’s ground ball. Had he seen it, he might have been able to make a play on the ball.
Kendrick allowed a first-inning home run to Hunter Pence then strung together four scoreless innings. With the help of Howard’s three RBIs, he took a 5-1 lead into the sixth inning. The lead might have been bigger if the Phils didn’t leave the bases loaded in the top of the sixth. For the game, they left 11 men, but that’s the 2014 Phillies.
Everything fell apart in the bottom of the sixth inning. Kendrick allowed a leadoff single to Buster Posey. Pablo Sandoval then skied a pop up to the right side of the infield. First baseman Howard had a bead on it. At the last split-second, he pulled off the ball and it dropped in behind him. Utley scurried for the ball and had a play on Posey at second, but he rushed it and his flip to second was errant.
Instead of one out and a man on first, the Giants had men on first and second and no outs for Michael Morse, who continued his assault on Phillies’ pitching with a booming RBI double.
Morse’s double brought Sandberg from the dugout to get Kendrick. It is customary, not to mention respectful, for the pitcher to wait for the manager and hand him the ball, but Kendrick, clearly ticked off and looking like Carl Lewis coming out of the starting blocks, started walking off the mound before Sandberg got there. The pitcher executed a handoff with the ball and stormed off the field, down the dugout steps and up into the clubhouse.
“I think he was upset with the momentum swing and coming out right there,” Sandberg said.
Kendrick’s actions might have angered some managers, but Sandberg, who seldom shows anger, said he was not bothered by what Kendrick did.
“He was on the dirt, he was on the mound before going,” Sandberg said. “He was upset.”
After Kendrick left, relievers Mario Hollands and Justin De Fratus couldn’t prevent the Giants from tying the game.
But the rally all went back to the dropped pop up.
“It was a combination of communication and the sun and the wind combined,” Sandberg said.
Howard said the sun and wind were not problems.
“It was a miscommunication,” he said. “I was under it. I saw it. I felt Chase behind me. I heard him say something. He said, ‘You got it.’ All I heard was, ‘Got it.’ No sun. No wind. Simple miscommunication. That’s all. Those guys took advantage of it and it started a rally.”
“It’s unfortunate,” Utley said.
He added that he rushed his flip to second as he tried to get Posey.
Utley saw Kendrick leave the mound in haste. He was not sure whom the pitcher was upset with.
“It’s a question you’ll have to ask him,” Utley said. “Kendrick is a competitor. He wants to be out there all the time. I don’t blame him for being frustrated coming out of the game. I expect that.”
The Giants put together a quick rally in the eighth to score the go-ahead run. Panik tripled off Antonio Bastardo and Blanco stroked a ground ball base hit to left. Rollins broke to his left. The ball went to his right.
“I never saw it,” Rollins said. “If the ball was hit at me, it would have hit me in the face.
“There was a reflection off the padding in front of the seats. If I see it, I make a diving or backhand play, but I never saw it. I heard it. That’s all I can tell you. Until I saw the replay, I had no idea where the ball was.”