- Associated Press - Friday, July 1, 2016

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Ian Kennedy gave up solid hits on good pitches.

Kennedy (6-7) struck out eight but allowed three runs in five innings and Kansas City Royals lost 4-3 to the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

“He threw fine. I thought he grinded through it,” Royals manager Ned Yost said of Kennedy.

Kennedy gave up a leadoff homer to Odubel Herrera and RBI hits to Cody Asche and Maikel Franco on pitches that hit their spots.

“I felt I wasn’t getting on top of the ball. It was a constant grind,” he said. “There were times I wished I missed some bats more.”

Kendrys Morales hit a two-run homer off reliever 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.

Morales has 13 hits in his last 20 at-bats.

“He’s swinging the bat really well right now,” Yost said. “He gave us an opportunity to try to tie the game.”

Jeremy 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.

“We just couldn’t get anything going against Hellickson,” Yost said. “He kept us off-balance with his change-up.”

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, Asche walked. Perez then picked Asche off first, but the Phillies challenged and the call was overturned. 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.

K ZONE

Kennedy has struck out 19 of the 48 batters he’s faced in the past two starts.

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.

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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