Halladay returns to Phils in time to see Kendrick's latest win

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Halladay returns to Phils in time to see Kendrick's latest win

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SAN FRANCISCO – Wednesday will be a busy day in the Phillies’ corner of the world.

They will go for their first sweep in San Francisco since 1984.

But before they take the field, they will come to grips with the reality facing Roy Halladay.

How hurt is he?

Does he need surgery?

Will he pitch again this season?

Will he pitch again at all?

Phillies officials and Halladay will issue an update on the pitcher’s condition in the wake of Tuesday’s examination in Los Angeles. Halladay made it from Los Angeles to San Francisco in time to see the end of the Phillies’ 6-2 win over the Giants on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay), but was not available for comment and team officials were closed-mouthed on his condition.

“He stopped in to chat with [GM] Ruben [Amaro] and I,” manager Charlie Manuel said about 15 minutes after the final pitch of the game.

“We’ll give an update [Wednesday] when we get all the information,” Amaro said.

The general tone around the Phillies is that Halladay will be out for a while.

“We’ve got to step up,” Kyle Kendrick said. “To lose a guy like that who has been so good for so long. Everyone has to step up, especially the starters, and give us a chance to win every game.”

The Phillies will recall Tyler Cloyd to fill Halladay’s spot on Friday.

Kendrick backed up his words about stepping up on Tuesday night. The 28-year-old right-hander delivered another strong start in improving to 4-1 on the season. He scattered six hits over seven innings, allowed just two runs, did not walk a batter and struck out six in out-pitching two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum.

It was the second straight night the Phils got a zero-walk effort from their starting pitcher. Cliff Lee allowed two runs and did not walk a batter in eight innings in Monday night’s win.

In both wins, the Phils got timely hitting. Michael Young has delivered run-scoring doubles with two outs in both games.

In Tuesday night’s win, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both homered and drove in two runs.

“We’ve played two solid games,” Manuel said. “We’ve been moving runners and scoring the runs we’re supposed to score. Everything has been really good.”

The two wins against the Giants were preceded by two losses to lowly Miami. The Phils had a combined five hits in those games.

“We’re having better at-bats, working more counts, swinging at our pitches in the zone and we’re getting hits to show for it,” Utley said.

Utley’s seventh homer of the season was a bomb to right-center on a first-pitch slider to open the fifth against Lincecum.

“I was looking for something in the zone and I squared it up good,” Utley said. “This is a big yard. I wasn’t sure where it would go.”

It went halfway to Oakland.

“His power is there,” Manuel said. “I always thought if he could get his core strong and get back to playing regular he’d have a good chance to getting it back.”

For the second night in a row, the Phils built a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Pitchers love working with a lead.

“It’s always nice to get early runs,” Kendrick said.

Utley became the latest to mention Kendrick’s poise. It showed in the fourth inning when Young kicked a potential double-play ball at third, putting runners at first and second with no outs in a 3-2 game. Kendrick stayed cool, got two strikeouts and a groundout to end the threat.

“He stayed composed,” Utley said. “He’s getting out of big jams and making big pitches when he needs to.”

Kendrick is 11-4 with a 2.44 ERA in his last 17 starts dating to mid-August.

He has arrived as a dependable big-league starter and with the possibility that Halladay could be out for some time, his timing couldn’t be better.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Phils go for a three-game sweep of the Giants.

They’ll also come to grips with Halladay’s situation.

It’ll be a big day by the bay.

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

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The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).