The final series of the first half began tonight in Philadelphia with the Atlanta Braves paying a visit. Kyle Kendrick and Tim Hudson would square off in what would turn into quite the pitcher's duel. With Ryan Howard back in the lineup, the Phillies were looking better than they have all season, and the Braves should certainly feel intimidated.
Much like Chase Utley, Ryan Howard came up with a big hit in his first at bat of the season. Howard whacked a double in the gap in right-center in front of a sellout crowd which provided Howard with a warm standing ovation.
That double would prove to be the only hit for the Phillies through the first five innings. Tim Hudson looked a little shaky on the mound with what looked like back discomfort, but he cruised through the Phils' lineup. He gave up more than one hit in just the sixth inning, a single to Rollins and Victorino which would not lead to a run scored.
Kyle Kendrick was also cruising right through the Braves' lineup and tossed seven scoreless innings tonight. He allowed just four hits and walked one while striking out five. This was a much improved outing from Kendrick who struggled after throwing his complete game shutout in St. Louis on May 26.
Antonio Bastardo came in for the eighth inning shortly after Manuel decided to pull Kendrick. Antonio simply could not locate his pitches and quickly loaded the bases on a hit and two walks. With two outs, Bastardo walked Freddie Freeman which brought home a run. If it wasn't already a bad decision to take Kendrick out, it was an even worse decision to leave Bastardo in.
Brian McCann has a grandslam up his sleeve this season, and it came against Roy Halladay. He would add another to his repertoire in the eighth inning, a moonshot to the ivy in center field. With one pitch it became 5-0 Braves. Out went Bastardo, in came Michael Schwimer who retired the side.
The Phillies would not come back and former Phillie Chad Durbin came in for the ninth to retire the Phillies. Braves take this first game, and Joe Blanton will start tomorrow's game at 7:15.