The Phillies have started the second half with three awful starts in five games by the stating rotation. Throw in a late home run by Aramis Ramirez in a close game in Chicago and you’ve got 1-4 to start the second half for the Phils when they were looking for a whole lot more.

Last night the Phils gave Kendrick an early 3-0 lead and things looked good through the first out of the fifth inning. After the first out in the fifth, though, the next eight St Louis batters went walk, double, home run, ground out, home run, home run, ground out, home run. Things didn’t look so good anymore.

In the five games since the All-Star break the Phillies have pitched to a 7.46 ERA and a 1.61 ratio. Opponents are hitting .317 against them and they’ve allowed more than two home runs per game (11 in five games).

The Phillies are 48-44 on the season after losing to the St Louis Cardinals 8-4 last night. They have lost four of five and are in third place in the NL East. They trail the first place Braves by six games and the second place Mets by a half game.

Kendrick got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing seven runs on seven hits and three walks. Six of the hits went for extra-bases, three doubles and three home runs. He struck out two.

He had a 3-0 lead when he started the bottom of the first. Felipe Lopez led off with a single and moved to third when Jon Jay followed with a ground-rule double. Albert Pujols hit a ground ball to short for the first out. Lopez scored to cut the lead to 3-1 with Jay holding second. Colby Rasmus was next and hit the ball hard, but Valdez made the play at second for the second out as Jay went to third. Kendrick struck Allen Craig out swinging to end the inning.

Kendrick walked Skip Schumaker on four pitches to start the second. Schumaker stole second before Kendrick walked Yadier Molina on five pitches. It brought the pitcher Blake Hawksworth to the plate and he bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Nine-hitter Brendan Ryan followed and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins went to first for the second out with Schumaker scoring to cut the lead to 3-2. Lopez grounded to second to leave Molina stranded.

Eight balls in nine pitches to start the inning isn’t the way to go. Kendrick got off easy.

Pujols doubled with one out in the third and moved to third when Rasmus followed with a fly ball to center. Kendrick got Craig on a fly ball to left for the third out.

Kendrick threw a 1-2-3 fourth with the Phillies up 4-2.

Ryan flew to center for the first out in the fifth before Lopez walked. Jay doubled to center and Lopez scored to make it 4-3. Pujols pounded a 1-0 pitch out to left and the Cards were on top 5-4. Kendrick got Rasmus on a ground ball to first before Craig and Schumaker hit back-to-back home runs. 7-4. Molina grounded to short to finally end the inning.

Just the three home runs in the frame for St Louis. First career homer for Craig.

Durbin started the sixth with the Phils still down three. Switch-hitter Randy Winn hit for the pitcher Hawksworth and hit a 2-0 pitch out to right to put the Cards up 8-4. Jay walked with two outs, but Durbin got Pujols on a ground ball to third for to leave him stranded.

Romero got three ground balls in a 1-2-3 seventh.

Madson threw a 1-2-3 eighth to drop his ERA on the year to 6.08.

The Phillies didn’t even have to pitch the ninth, what with having already lost and all.

Nice to see the bullpen pitch a little better. Durbin did give up the solo shot to Winn, but it was the only hit or walk the relievers surrendered over three innings.

Romero was pitching for the second day in a row. Durbin threw 23 pitches in the game. Romero and Madson both threw 12.

The Phillies lineup against righty Blake Hawksworth went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Victorino (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Valdez at second with Utley on the DL. Ibanez and his .399 slugging percentage for the season hit third.

Polanco reached on an infield single on a ball deflected by Pujols with one out in the first. He moved to second on a single by Ibanez. It brought Howard to the plate with two men on and he doubled into right. Polanco scored to put the Phils up 1-0 with Ibanez moving to third. Werth popped out to first for the second out, but Victorino picked him up with a single into center that scored both runners and made it 3-0. Ruiz singled to right before Valdez flew to left for the third out.

No RBI for Werth with one out and men on second and third.

The lead was cut to 3-1 when Kendrick walked to start the second. Rollins was next and hit a ball to second with Kendrick forced at second for the second out. Polanco hit into a double-play.

Werth reached on an infield single on a ball hit out in front of the plate with two outs in the third and the lead at 3-2. He was picked off of first to end the frame.

Ruiz doubled with one out in the fourth. Valdez lined to short for the second out before Kendrick walked again. Rollins singled into center and Ruiz scored, putting the Phillies up 4-2. Polanco popped to second to leave both runners stranded.

Ibanez started the fifth with a single, but Howard hit into a double-play behind him. Werth walked before Victorino grounded to second for the third out.

The Cardinals were winning 7-4 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Hawksworth got Ruiz and Valdez to start the inning and Dobbs hit for Kendrick. Dobbs singled softly to left, but Rollins grounded to second to turn the Phillies away.

Howard and Werth singled back-to-back in the seventh with two outs and the Phils down 8-4. It put men on first and third for Victorino, but Victorino fouled out to the catcher to leave both men stranded.

Righty Jason Motte got the first two in the eighth before Gload hit for Romero. Gload singled, but Rollins grounded to second to end the frame.

Two hits in two at-bats for the two lefties on the Phillies bench.

Ibanez walked with one out in the ninth and Howard hit into a double-play behind him.

Rollins was 1-for-5 in the game. He’s 2-for-his-last-20 with two singles.

Polanco was 1-for-5. 4-for-14 with four singles since his return.

Ibanez 2-for-4 in the game. 6-for-his-last-13.

Howard was 2-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He’s 8-for-20 with a double and two home runs since the break.

Werth 2-for-3 with a walk. 4-for-17 with a double and six walks since the break.

Victorino was 1-for-4 with two RBI. 7-for-23 with a double and a homer over the last five games. He’s walked once in his last 74 at-bats. On-basing .271 in July.

Ruiz 2-for-4 with a double. 4-for-16 since the break.

Valdez was 0-for-4. 3-for-16 since the break. Among the 265 NL players with 175 plate appearances for the season, his .268 on-base percentage is 258th.

Jamie Moyer (9-9, 4.88) faces righty Chris Carpenter (10-3, 3.16) tonight. Moyer has a 1.09 ratio to go with his 4.88 ERA. He’s walked just 20 in 110 2/3 innings and opponents are hitting just .238 against him. Things would be better if he hadn’t given up 20 home runs on the year. He’s been hit hard in each of his last two starts, allowing 13 runs in 8 1/3 innings in the outings combined. Carpenter has been great again this year, but had two weak outings in a row before holding the Dodgers to a run over eight innings his last time out.