After spending his first six major league seasons getting roughed up by Philadelphia while pitching for the NL East rival Washington Nationals , Lannan makes his Phillies debut against the visiting Kansas City Royals .
Lannan went 42-52 with a 4.01 ERA in 134 starts for Washington, but he was 4-1 with a 4.13 ERA in six appearances in 2012 while spending most of his time at Triple-A Syracuse. The Nationals failed to tender him a contract, and the Phillies signed the left-hander to a one-year, $2.5 million deal Dec. 19.
"It's a great opportunity," Lannan said. "I feel like the Phillies have a great shot of winning the NL East and going to the World Series."
Lannan is surely happy about not having to face Philadelphia anymore. He went 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA in 19 matchups, posting a 2-5 record and 6.49 ERA in eight outings at Citizens Bank Park, where he made his big league debut July 26, 2007.
"I think it's more me not executing," Lannan said. "That's what it comes down to, and it's against really good Philly lineups. So I think it comes down to me executing pitches. It doesn't really matter where you're pitching. This park is smaller. You've just got to execute your pitches."
Lannan has never pitched against Kansas City, but outfielder Jeff Francoeur is 13 for 25 with a homer and four doubles when facing him.
Lannan will be looking to help the Phillies (1-3) get on track after they blew a 4-0 lead and lost 13-4 to the Royals (2-2) in Friday's series opener.
"It's a tough one," first baseman Ryan Howard said. "You don't want to lose your (home) opener like this."
Alex Gordon and Chris Getz each hit bases-loaded triples, and Eric Hosmer finished 4 for 5 with three RBIs as Kansas City pounded out 19 hits - two more than it totaled in dropping two of three to the White Sox earlier this week.
"We knew we didn't swing the bats great in Chicago," Gordon said. "We just kind of moved on. We never lost confidence in our offense. We came in here confident."
Luis Mendoza (8-10, 4.23) will get the ball for Kansas City after setting career highs in victories, appearances (30) and starts (25) last season.
Mendoza then was named the MVP of the Caribbean League playoffs after throwing 13 1-3 scoreless innings for Mexico.
"I did it with that reason, to come to spring ready to compete, and every start I was on the mound to show them that I could get people out and that I can be consistent in what I'm doing," Mendoza told the Royals' official website.
"I'm pitching with great confidence, and that's the main thing. I think I can take that to the big league level and get people out."
Mendoza tossed one scoreless inning of relief in his only appearance against Philadelphia on June 28, 2008, while with Texas. Phillies center fielder Ben Revere is 4 for 13 with a triple against the right-hander.
|Kansas City Royals|
|March 31, 2013||Danny Duffy||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|February 12, 2013||Felipe Paulino||60-Day DL||Recovery from right elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Delmon Young||15-Day DL||Recovery from right ankle surgery|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Kevin Frandsen rounded first after his big hit, looked up to see all the runners circling the bases and prepared himself for a celebration.
Frandsen hit a bases-clearing, three-run double with two outs in the ninth off closer Greg Holland to lift the Phillies to a 4-3 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night in front of the smallest crowd in Philadelphia in four years.
The Phillies had just two hits and trailed 3-1 to start the inning. Holland (0-1) walked Chase Utley , Ryan Howard and Michael Young to load the bases. He then struck out Domonic Brown swinging and fanned John Mayberry Jr. looking.
But Frandsen ripped a first-pitch fastball to right-center to knock in all three runners. Young slid in safely well ahead of the throw and the dugout emptied as players mobbed Frandsen.
"When you see Ryan Howard run at you full speed, that's weird and you get scared," said Frandsen, who pinch hit for Humberto Quintero . "It's a surreal moment, one that you hope to repeat."
Frandsen dodged the 6-foot-4, 250-plus pound Howard, by the way.
Royals starter Luis Mendoza threw six stellar innings, and the Royals' bullpen went into the ninth with seven hitless innings in the series.
Antonio Bastardo (1-0) pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the win. John Lannan was sharp in his Phillies debut. He allowed three runs and five hits, striking out five in seven innings.
"New team, new season. I had some butterflies," Lannan said. "I did my best to control it. I'm trying every game to keep the team in the game."
Mendoza allowed one run and two hits, striking out seven.
The Phillies are 2-3 and were looking more like the team that went 81-81 last year after winning five straight NL East titles from 2007-11.
Then came the ninth-inning rally. There weren't many fans left to witness it, however.
A crowd of 39,475 at Citizens Bank Park was the first under 40,000 since April 29, 2009, when 36,351 came out for a game against Washington. The Phillies led the majors in attendance each of the last two seasons.
"You don't want to start 0-2 at home, especially in front of these fans with the energy they bring," Frandsen said.
Lannan was cruising along with a no-hitter until the fifth. He hit Lorenzo Cain with a pitch to start the inning and Jeff Francoeur followed with a double down the left field line. Miguel Tejada drove in a run with a groundout to second base and Elliot Johnson singled in a run for a 2-0 lead.
Making just their third-ever trip to Philadelphia, the Royals will try to win the rare interleague series Sunday afternoon. They last played here in 2004.
The Phillies beat Kansas City to win the 1980 World Series and claim the franchise's first of two championships. They clinched the title with a victory in Game 6 at old Veterans Stadium.
Lannan retired the first nine batters he faced before Alex Gordon reached on second baseman Utley's fielding error in the fourth. Lannan spent his first six seasons with Washington. He was signed as a free agent by the Phillies not for his performance against them. Lannan was 3-13 with a 5.53 ERA against the Phillies. He entered the game 39-39 with a 3.80 ERA against the rest of the majors.
The Phillies cut it to 2-1 when Ben Revere lined an RBI single off third baseman Tejada's glove with two outs in the bottom half.
Francoeur led off the seventh with a double to right-center and Tejada followed with a double down the right-field line to make it 3-1.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We walked four guys and they scored."
NOTES: Billy Butler started at first base instead of Eric Hosmer , who was 4 for 5 with three RBIs on Friday. Yost planned to start Butler, the team's DH, against Lannan instead of the left-handed hitting Hosmer. ... Francoeur is 15 for 28 off Lannan with six doubles. ... Phillies SS Jimmy Rollins received his fourth NL Gold Glove Award before the game. ... RHP James Shields (0-1) faces LHP Cole Hamels (0-1) in the series finale. Shields is going for his first win with the Royals.
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