Kendrick has bigger problems—like holding his tenuous spot in Philadelphia’s rotation after another shaky outing.
“That was all my fault,” Kendrick said of the homer. “I didn’t think about it, I tried to be aggressive. You learn.”
Kendrick continues to struggle and could be dropped from the rotation. He’s allowed at least four runs in five of his last six starts—bloated numbers that stand out in a rotation anchored by Roy Halladay(notes), Roy Oswalt(notes) and Cole Hamels(notes).
Fielder’s three-run shot off Kendrick (9-8) made him the second Brewer in team history with four straight 30-plus home run seasons. He helped the Brewers end their six-game road trip on a high after dropping the first five in Cincinnati and Philadelphia. John Axford(notes) tossed two scoreless innings for his 20th save.
The Phillies missed a chance to move into a tie for first in the NL East with Atlanta’s loss to Florida. The Marlins are here for a day-night doubleheader on Monday and the Braves play Pittsburgh.
Manager Charlie Manuel said he’s only thinking about winning the division and wants his players focused on that fourth straight NL East title.
Kendrick continued to hinder their chances to move into first. He allowed seven hits and five runs in four innings, and ran into trouble from the second batter of the game.
With one out, he allowed a single and a double. Fielder then crushed a pitch down the middle of the plate into the second deck above a beer ad for No. 30. Only Jeremy Burnitz (1998-2001) ever hit at least 30 homers in four consecutive seasons for the Brewers.
Manuel was perturbed Fielder saw such a meaty pitch.
“Fielder likes to swing. If you walk him, it’s not the worst thing in the world,” Manuel said.
Manuel hasn’t yet consulted with pitching coach Rich Dubee about yanking Kendrick from the rotation. The Phillies are off every Thursday the rest of the month and could possibly go with a four-man rotation (Joe Blanton(notes) as the No. 4).
Kendrick’s explanations were as short as his start.
Was he trying to work around Fielder? “I should have, but I didn’t.”
Why do you struggle at home: “I don’t know. Balls are up.”
Fielder reached the milestone while playing in his 321st straight game.
“The main thing is I’m able to play every day If I’m able to do that, the numbers will come,” Fielder said. “The pitchers are outstanding this year so it’s getting tougher.”
Corey Hart(notes), who homered twice off Halladay on Saturday, doubled in the third for a 4-2 lead. Rickie Weeks’(notes) RBI single in the fifth gave Milwaukee seven hits off Kendrick and made it 5-2. Weeks and Ryan Braun had three hits.
Triple-A pitchers Nate Robertson(notes) and Vance Worley(notes) are with the team and will be activated in time for Monday’s doubleheader. Worley will pitch the first game and Oswalt the second. Perhaps a strong outing from Worley, a 6-foot-2 righthander, will be enough for Manuel to consider skipping Kendrick the next time around.
Wolf, a former Phillie with a “Wolf Pack” fan club in the upper deck, struck out five and allowed two runs in 6 2-3 innings to win for the first time since Aug. 18. Wolf (11-10) only ran into trouble in the second when Ruiz poked a double to left that cut the lead to 3-2.
“At least we’re going home on a positive note,” Brewers manager Ken Macha said.
NOTES: Phillies RHP Scott Mathieson(notes) was scoreless in 1-plus innings. He worked with minor league pitching consultant, and Hall of Fame closer, Bruce Sutter on the split-finger fastball the last few weeks in the minors. Mathieson said he planned to work with Sutter in the offseason and hopes it’s the pitch that will keep him in the majors. … Robertson is with his fourth organization this year. He received a big, extended hug from former Tigers teammate Placido Polanco(notes) before the game. … Wolf fanned his 1,500th career batter. … Werth threw out Hart at the plate in the ninth. … Phillies RHP Danys Baez(notes) (back spasms) will begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Leigh Valley on Monday.