- Associated Press - Friday, July 1, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Odubel Herrera put the finishing touches on his All-Star bid.

Herrera hit a leadoff homer and drove in two runs, Jeremy Hellickson threw six sharp innings and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3 Friday night for their fourth straight win.

Herrera is batting .306 with nine homers and an .835 OPS. He’s a strong candidate to represent the Phillies at the Midsummer Classic in San Diego.

“If that happens, great,” Herrera said through an interpreter. “If it doesn’t, I just want to help my team win.”

Asked if he feels he deserves to go, Herrera answered himself: “For sure.”

Hellickson (6-6) allowed one run and five hits in six innings, striking out six. He was 0-9 in his previous 15 starts against AL opponents.

“The biggest key was just quality strike one,” Hellickson said. “They’re aggressive, but they don’t strike out a lot, so just making that first pitch down and just trying to keep them off-balance as much as I could.”

Royals starter Ian Kennedy (6-7) gave up three runs in five innings.

Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer off David Hernandez in the eighth before the right-hander settled down to retire the next three batters. Jeanmar Gomez finished for his 22nd save in 24 tries.

“He’s swinging the bat really well right now,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Morales, who is 13 for his last 20. “He gave us an opportunity to try to tie the game.”

Back home after sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Phillies snapped a seven-game home losing streak.

A video review helped Philadelphia take a 2-1 lead in the third.

Herrera walked with one out, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Salvador Perez. After Peter Bourjos struck out looking, Cody Asche walked. Perez then picked Asche off first, but the Phillies challenged and the call was overturned. Maikel Franco followed with an RBI single.

Asche ripped an RBI double to right in the fifth to put the Phillies ahead 3-1. Herrera’s RBI single in the sixth made it 4-1.

Herrera gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead on his ninth homer and first leading off.

Alcides Escobar hit a double and scored on Cheslor Cuthbert’s single to tie it at 1 in the second.

STANDINGS

The defending World Series champion Royals fell seven games behind Cleveland in the AL Central. The Phillies finished the first half 36-45. They were 24-17 at one point.

STREAKING

Escobar has a 12-game hitting streak. The shortstop has started all 79 games this season. … Phillies OF Peter Bourjos extended his hitting streak to 10 with an infield single. … Phillies 1B Tommy Joseph struck out as a pinch-hitter and is hitless in his last 14 at-bats with six strikeouts.

K ZONE

Kennedy has struck out 19 of the last 48 batters he’s faced in the past two starts. He fanned eight Phillies.

“I felt I wasn’t getting on top of the ball,” he said. “It was a constant grind.”

UP NEXT

LHP Danny Duffy (3-1, 3.24 ERA) goes for the Royals while RHP Aaron Nola (5-7, 4.45) pitches for the Phillies. Duffy threw a career-best eight innings in his last start. Nola has failed to pitch four innings in four straight starts.

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