SAN DIEGO – Following a cross-country flight, Charlie Manuel was ill on Monday afternoon at Petco Park. He didn’t feel much better Monday evening, when he watched his team suffer what was arguably its most sick-inducing loss of the season.
But a night after Cliff Lee took a shutout into the ninth inning only to see Jonathan Papelbon blow his fourth save in eight days, Manuel and Co. received a healthy shot of adrenaline in an attempt to reboot a free-falling season.
A month removed from the start of his home run binge, Domonic Brown launched a three-run home run to erase an early deficit and guide the Phillies to a 6-2 victory on Tuesday night.
“That’s the great thing about having a lot of veteran leadership in the clubhouse – they keep us nice and upbeat,” Brown said of the Phils rebounding from the previous night’s crushing loss. “I know I’m one of the guys that wants to start thinking, but I watch Jimmy (Rollins) and (Ryan) Howard and (Chase) Utley and those guys and just go out and worry about the next game. That’s really all you can do.”
After Kyle Kendrick allowed two runs in the bottom of the second, Brown ripped a two-out, three-run home run off of Padres starter Jason Marquis in the next half inning. The home run was Brown’s 20th of the season.
Brown is the first Phillies player to reach 20 home runs before July since both Raul Ibanez (22) and Ryan Howard (20) did so in 2009.
After hitting 11 home runs in 57 at-bats of a 15-game stretch from May 25 to June 8, Brown hit his first home run in 15 days and 57 at-bats on Tuesday. Brown hit .192 (10-for-52) with a .252 OBP, .509 OPS and 15 strikeouts in his 14 games in between home runs.
“How long?” Brown interrupted a reporter who was letting him know it had been some time since his last home run. “I’m just out there playing, having fun. It’d been a while.”
The return of his power stroke was a welcome sight for Manuel and Co. The Phillies (37-41) entered the night having lost four of their last five games and in danger of falling six games below .500 for the first time in 2013.
Brown finished the night 1-for-4 with four RBIs and a walk.
Two innings after his home run, Brown came to bat with the based loaded in the fifth and Marquis walked him on five pitches. Marquis walked the final final two batters he faced and five in the game to add to his major league leading total of 53 walks this season.
The Phils took advantage by scoring three more runs in the fifth inning to up their lead to 6-2.
“We did a good job of waiting on him,” Manuel said. “We chased some change-ups in the first few innings. He struck some guys out. We beared down on him. We did a good job of being selective and making him throw the ball over the plate. That's what got to him.”
Kendrick took the offensive support and ran with it en route to his seventh victory of the season. After giving up back-to-back hits in the second and watching both base runners coming around to score, Kendrick blanked to the Padres for the next six innings.
When Kendrick took the mound in the eighth, it marked the third time in his last five starts that he pitched into the eighth inning. After pitching a perfect eighth, Kendrick lowered his season ERA to 3.56.
Kendrick held San Diego to two runs on seven hits while striking out six without walking a batter. Kendrick has allowed two runs or fewer in 11 of 16 starts this season.
“He’s done a good job for us,” Manuel said. “A real good job.”
A night after the bullpen blew another game, Manuel on Antonio Bastardo to finish Kendrick’s work in the ninth. Bastardo, one of only two relievers who have been in the injury-ravaged pen all season, flirted with trouble.
But after giving up a one-out double to put runners on second and third with one out, Bastardo struck out the final two batters he faced. Bastardo hasn’t allowed a run in five straight appearances and in seven of his last eight games.
Bastardo will likely be leaned on for more work in the coming months as set-up man Mike Adams found out Tuesday that he has three tears in his ailing right shoulder that could require surgery.
“We’re going to need more than Bastardo,” Manuel said. “We’re going to need some pieces.”