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Howard's homer for naught as Phils fall

Howard's homer for naught as Phils fall

PHILADELPHIA -- Charlie Manuel stepped to the podium at Citizens Bank Park late Friday night after the Phillies had played their third successive extra-innings game.

They had battled back to win the previous two games against the Mets at Citi Field. They had battled back again Friday with Ryan Howard hitting a game-tying home run in the ninth, but this time they fell short in 13 innings in a 5-2 loss to the Red Sox.

"I felt like [Joe] Blanton pitched pretty good in seven innings," Manuel said. "The only trouble is their guy was pretty good, too."

Blanton allowed five hits, two runs and two walks and struck out seven in seven innings. But Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester pitched even better. He dominated the Phillies. And the rest of the Boston bullpen followed suit, too.

After Lester allowed two hits, one run and two walks and struck out 11 in seven innings, Boston's bullpen allowed three hits, one run, three walks and struck out nine the rest of the way.

The Phillies set a franchise record with 20 strikeouts, although the nine-inning record remains Oct. 6, 1991, when Mets right-hander David Cone struck out 19.

"They've got good pitching," Phillies center fielder Shane Victorino said. "You've got to give them credit. You can't say what we did wrong. They're a good team. They're not first in their division for no reason, nor are we."

The Phillies had opportunities, albeit few and far between. They had runners on second and third with nobody out in the second inning, but scored just once. Howard hit his game-tying homer with one out in the ninth inning against right-hander Ramon Ramirez, who was filling in for closer Jonathan Papelbon -- who was unavailable, having pitched the previous two nights.

The Phils had runners on first and second with two outs in the 11th inning when pinch-hitter Greg Dobbs hit a towering fly ball down the right-field line.

Fair or foul?

Foul.

Manuel thought otherwise. He thought the ball could have cleared the foul pole and landed in foul territory, making it a three-run home run. He asked first-base umpire Jim Joyce to take a look at instant replay.

"Can you look at it?" Manuel said.

"I got a really good look at it," Joyce said.

Crew chief Derryl Cousins said later that while Manuel had the right to request a replay, they are not obligated to do it.

"I was positive the ball was foul," Joyce explained. "If I would have had any doubt at all, first of all, I would have went to the crew. And then we would have made a decision to look at it at that point. I was very confident the ball was foul. I'll be very honest with you. I thought about it after the call. But I was very confident that ball was foul. I even thought to myself, what am I going to see on the replay? It didn't hit anything."

Victorino, who stood on first base when Dobbs hit the ball down the line, said he and first-base coach Davey Lopes agreed with Joyce. The ball was foul, the at-bat continued and Dobbs struck out to end the inning.

Carlos Ruiz hit a leadoff single in the 12th but nothing happened. That's when the Red Sox offense finally woke up. Kyle Kendrick, who was making his 2009 debut out of the bullpen, had thrown a perfect 12th inning, but started to elevate his pitches in the 13th.

He retired Kevin Youkilis to start the inning, but allowed five of the next six batters to reach base as the Sox took the lead.

"Too much of the plate," Kendrick said. "Pitches were up in the zone. They strung together some hits."

Kendrick has been a starter all season in Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He has been a starter most of his career, although he said he pitched out of the bullpen a few years ago in the Arizona Fall League.

"I wanted to pitch tonight," he said. "I hope to get back in there as soon as possible and have better results."

The Phillies' offense does, too.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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