The day after the Phillies were no-hit in a nine-inning game for the first time in 36 years, Ryne Sandberg employed an almost identical lineup to the one that went 0-for-27 against the Dodgers' Josh Beckett.
It was a show of confidence from the Philadelphia manager, and one that paid off.
Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Ben Revere combined to tally nine hits and drive in seven runs in yesterday's 9-0 victory against the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies' highest scoring output in 9 days featured 12 hits, a five-run seventh inning and four pitchers combining for the shutout.
"That's the thing about this game is you can have a bad day, but then you can go back the next day and you start fresh, 0-0," said Howard, who drove in a season-high five runs, two coming on his eighth home run. "I think everybody came in here with that mindset and took advantage of it."
Howard's first home run and first multi-RBI performance since May 8 coincided with his first multihit game since May 10. In the sixth inning, he launched a 1-1 changeup from Jhoulys Chacin (0-4) into the seats in right-centerfield. His first hit of the night, a fourth-inning single that plated Utley for the first of the second baseman's three runs, snapped a personal 0-for-17 skid.
Like Howard, Utley and Revere each tallied three hits for the Phillies (22-26). Both Utley, who upped his season batting average to .337, and Revere drove in a run. Utley's seventh-inning double marked his 21st of the season, tying him with Arizona's Paul Goldschmidt for the most in the major leagues. John Mayberry Jr. capped the scoring in the seventh with a pinch-hit, two-run homer.
"That's the potential that's possibly there any given game, the way I look at it," Sandberg said. "It starts at the top of the order, Ben getting on base and making things happen. Creating some stuff. Chase has been solid. It's good to see Howie connect on some balls and drive some runs in, but once again it seems like the potential is there. Hopefully it's the start of something with the new series here."
Howard said he didn't think the hitters took a different approach than they did in Sunday's 6-0 loss to the Dodgers.
"When a guy is on, he's on and it's tough at times," he said. "But we did get good pitches to hit and we didn't miss them.
"It's a crazy game, so you're bound to break out at some point and we were able to. We've just got to try to take that into and the next day and the next day and the next day after that."
While the bats broke out, Kyle Kendrick (1-5) enjoyed putting to rest a career-long 10-game losing streak, earning his first win in 17 starts dating to Aug. 11 of last year. His was the third-longest such streak among active starters and the longest by a Phillies pitcher since Matt Beech lost 11 consecutive decisions in 1996-97.
Kendrick admittedly didn't have his best stuff, but grinded through 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball. The veteran righthander surrendered six hits and issued a season-high four walks but several times worked his way out of trouble. In the sixth, after Troy Tulowitzki led off with a single and Carlos Gonzalez walked, Kendrick struck out Wilin Rosario, induced a Justin Morneau groundout and got Josh Rutledge to pop out to end the inning. An inning later, he walked toward the dugout to applause.
Although the longevity of his winless streak can be attributed to at times a lack of run support, Kendrick was coming off a poor, six-run performance against the Marlins. Five days later, he finally got in the win column.
"It was tough," Kendrick said of the winless streak. "It was a little grind sometimes. You pitch well and don't get that 'W.' Obviously that's what we're playing for, to win ballgames. just had to keep going out there and try to keep games close, pitch deep into games . . . You've just got to keep battling."
After 93 pitches, Kendrick put a miserable stretch behind him. And over 3 hours and 6 minutes, the Phillies moved forward from a Sunday they wish they could soon forget.
"Obviously, Josh had a great game ," Kendrick said. "But we've got some fresh ones here and you've got to turn the page and come out and do your job. The guys got over it pretty well and obviously we swung the bats well."
On Twitter: @jakemkaplan