PHILADELPHIA — Pinch-hitter Kevin 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.
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.
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.
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.