Billy Butler, Kansas City's lone All Star from 2012, swung a bat in the on-deck circle. Butler was neutralized without the advantage of the designated hitter in a National League park. Charlie Manuel saw him standing there in the sixth inning, and he did not want the Royals' best hitter beating him.
The Phillies infielders converged on Kyle Kendrick at the mound.
"I felt strong," Kendrick said. "I would have liked to face Butler there. It's not my decision, but I respect it."
For the third time in four games, a Phillies starter failed to complete six innings. In the 13-4 loss to Kansas City, the bullpen was responsible for eight runs. The Phillies still led when Kendrick surrendered the ball.
"When I came out, still no runs had scored yet," Kendrick said.
The righty was frustrated to not earn the chance at escaping his own trouble. Jeremy Horst allowed a bases-clearing triple. Kendrick put those runners there by permitting a single to Mike Moustakas and double to Chris Getz.
The Phillies believe they posses a strong bullpen trio in Jonathan Papelbon, Mike Adams and Antonio Bastardo. But, as they have quickly discovered, a bridge between the starter and big relief arms is required.
"I thought he was very good through four innings," Manuel said of Kendrick. "Then all of a sudden, I took him out and the game definitely got away from us."
The Royals barely threatened in the first four innings but worked deep counts against Kendrick. They dinged him for two runs in the second before ripping the game open. It was the first time in 238 games Kansas City scored at least 13 runs.
Phillies starters not named Cliff Lee have posted a 9.64 ERA in 14 innings. John Lannan pitches Saturday to complete the first turn through the rotation.
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