KK = Kendrick Kollapse

Charlie Manuel was literally stuck between a rock and a hard place.

With only two relievers, Kyle Kendrick and Danys Baez, left in the bull pen, Manuel went with Kendrick in the top of the 12th. Kendrick blew up, allowing three runs on one hit, a handful of walks and errors and some small ball to surrender to the Brewers, 6-3.

It was the fifth straight series the Phillies opened up with a loss. They have yet to be beaten.

Joe Blanton got the job done, pitching his first quality start of the season. He lasted seven innings, throwing 98 pitches while surrendering two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out four.

Blanton looked really good, his mechanics problem obviously fixed. Two of his strike outs came way of Prince Fielder, who I projected to murder Blanton tonight. Fielder had a rough day, striking out three times.

Ryan Braun beat up the Phils, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs, including the winning run in the top of the 12th. He ripped a deep sacrifice fly to Shane Victorino, who caught it with his back to the wall in center field.

Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy also added a three-hit game and short stop Yuniesky Betancourt had two RBIs.

The Phillies had a serious chance to win the game in the bottom of the ninth. Trailing 3-2, Milwaukee brought in their closer John Axford to finish the job.

But Axford didn’t do too well, especially as his ERA and WHIP suggested. He gave up a lead-off walk to Carlos Ruiz. Wilson Valdez then followed with a sacrifice bunt to move Chooch to second.

Pete Orr then came up and ripped an RBI single into left field that scored Chooch from second. It was the Phillies’ 12th pinch hit of the season, a league best.

Victorino then walked and Placido Polanco was walked to bring up Jimmy Rollins. But Rollins popped up to short to end the threat.

The top of the 12th was one bad nightmare after another for Kendrick, who allowed only one earned run in the poor outing. Kendrick walked Rickie Weeks on four pitches and a throwing error on Carlos Gomez’s sacrifice bunt gave the Brewers runners on the corners with no outs. Braun then hit his sacrifice fly to give Milwaukee the lead.

After hitting Fielder and walking Casey McGehee, Betancourt hit a sacrifice fly to left field. Two batters later, Lucroy hit an RBI single before Betancourt was gunned at the plate.

The Phillies may have also lost reliever J.C. Romero. He seemed to roll his ankle during a play in the ninth. Many beat guys are suspecting Romero lands on the 15-day DL and Mike Zagurski gets called up.

WP: Kintzler (1-0). LP: Kendrick (0-1).

Boxscore.

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