Kendrick hopes to solve early issues in finale with Nats
(SportsNetwork.com) - If Kyle Kendrick can get out of the first inning of Sunday's finale of a three-game set with Washington, the Philadelphia right- hander stands a good chance of cruising into the All-Star break.
That is easier said than done for Kendrick, who has pitched to a 10.50 earned run average in the first inning this season. Five of the seven runs he allowed in Tuesday's 9-7 win over Milwaukee came in the opening frame, though plenty of offensive support allowed Kendrick to snap a three-start winless stretch (0-2).
Kendrick was taken deep three times in the game and was touched for 11 hits, but still improved to 4-8 with a 4.46 ERA on the year.
"Baseball is crazy, man," Kendrick told Philadelphia's official website. "It wasn't my best, that's for sure."
Kendrick wasn't really his best when he faced the Nationals for the first and only time previously this season. On June 5 in Washington, the 29-year-old took a loss for giving up four runs on six hits and five walks over seven innings. He dipped to 5-9 lifetime in this matchup with a 4.86 ERA.
Right-hander Tanner Roark will close out the set for the Nationals with his first start since July 4. His last turn in the rotation was skipped due to a rainout and he is 7-6 on the year with a 3.12 ERA.
Roark has lost his past two outings, both to the Chicago Cubs. In those games, the 27-year-old allowed eight runs and 19 hits over 13 innings.
Roark made his first career start versus the Phillies on May 3 and was drilled for seven runs over four innings of a loss. He served up a three-run homer to Ryan Howard in the first inning and Cody Asche connected on a solo shot off him in the second.
That Nats evened this series by taking last night's contest 5-3 in 10 innings. Ryan Zimmerman hit the go-ahead RBI single off Jake Diekman in the top of the bonus frame and Jayson Werth added an insurance run by scoring on a wild pitch.
Zimmerman said there was no pattern to the pitches Diekman threw to the batters in front of him.
"I didn't know what to expect," he said. "I haven't faced him that much either. He got (two strikes) and left a fastball out over the plate enough where I could put a good swing on it."
Werth homered and had three RBI for the Nationals, who ended a two-game skid to remain in a virtual tie with the Atlanta Braves atop the NL East.
Marlon Byrd drove in two runs for Philadelphia, which saw its five-game winning streak come to an end, and starter Cole Hamels surrendered three runs on four hits and three walks in seven innings of work.
"We've got an older team. We've won before, and we know how to win," Hamels said. "I think just with the way that we've been able to play baseball the past couple of days, it really shows that we have it within us. We just have to go out there and repeat it and do it on a regular basis, day in and day out each week."
Washington has won five of eight over Philadelphia this season coming in, including a three-game sweep at home from June 3-5.
07/13 08:39:32 ET