PHILADELPHIA -- The final score only tells part of the misery. This one hurt on many levels. In losing 12-0 to Colorado -- their second home shutout of the season -- the Phillies slipped further behind in the National League East race. A Padres loss kept them 2 1/2 games back on the Wild Card front, in a three-way tie for second with the Rockies and Dodgers.
Philadelphia lost its best starting pitcher, Kyle Kendrick, in the fourth after he took a line drive off the right knee, though the rookie right-hander said he expects to make his next start. The real issue for the Phillies was how they were unable to seize the momentum from a first-inning triple play and let a game quickly turn ugly. Two pitches in, the Rockies had runners on first and second after Cory Sullivan's routine fly ball dropped between Aaron Rowand and Pat Burrell for a hit and Troy Tulowitzki's bunt turned into an infield single. Matt Holliday then smoked a low liner that Greg Dobbs snared for the first out, then fired to second to double off Sullivan. Chase Utley completed the play by tagging Tulowitzki, who was running from first. Celebrating briefly, Philadelphia loaded the bases in the bottom of the inning off Denny Bautista and his 19.06 ERA. Ryan Howard struck out. Rowand popped out. Dobbs flied out. Chance squandered and momentum lost. "You don't want to let him off the hook and we did," Dobbs said. "I did. I didn't get the big hit that we needed there to drive some runs in and keep the momentum our way. Who knows if that would have kept it going, but that's all hindsight at this point." Bautista, Mark Redman, Juan Morillo and Josh Newman held the Phillies to four singles, and didn't allow a runner to second base after Jayson Werth in the second inning. Colorado got a myriad of hits off Kendrick, with the last one removing him from the game. Before that, Holliday redeemed himself for the triple play by getting to Kendrick with his fourth homer of the series. It turned a two-out, no-one-on spot into a 3-0 lead. "Those two out, nobody on rallies have killed us this year," Chris Coste said. "We've done it a few times, and had it done against us where there's two outs and nobody on, then and all of a sudden there are three runs on the board." Kendrick became the latest injury casualty for the Phillies in the fourth, when Garrett Atkins lined a ball off his right knee. As the ball bounced in the air toward third base, Kendrick took one step toward first, then crumpled in pain. He remained on the ground for several minutes then was helped off the field by head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan and pitching coach Rich Dubee. X-rays were negative. "I was looking to see where the ball was to make a play, then I just felt the pain," Kendrick said. "That was it. The good thing is it's just a deep bruise." "It was hard to tell which ball was hit harder, Holliday's [home run] earlier or Atkins [comebacker]," Coste said. "If it hit him on the bone, he was done for the year. That was my fear when he was rolling around, and if it was a major thing, who knows how it could affect the rest of his career?" While Kendrick appeared fine after the game, the four runs he surrendered on seven hits didn't help the Phillies cause, and the Phillies were shut out at home for just the second time this season. With 17 games to play, the NL East has become less realistic, leaving the Phillies focusing on the Wild Card. "We're almost forced to feel that way," Coste said. "It's not like we're giving up on the division. It's facts. We unfortunately put ourselves in this hole where if we're going to get in, that's the way we're going to have to do it." But? "Playoffs are playoffs," he said. "If we win the Wild Card and the Mets win the division, and we go to the World Series and they don't, who cares who won the division? Sometimes, you feel stupid thinking that way, but we put ourselves in this situation." If the Phillies can't get the pitching they desperately need, the Wild Card won't be a possibility either. "You've got to step up," manager Charlie Manuel said. "There's no sense in even sugar-coating. It's show-me time. It's like, 'Let's go.' If we have it, let's see it. That's how I look at it. We've got 17 games left. Everything has to fall right, we've got to pitch good enough to get there."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.