The last time he took the mound, Kyle Kendrick essentially pitched the Phillies out of the game.

This time around, the oft-maligned right-hander singlehandedly gave them a chance to win.

Yet, slugger Ryan Howard's hyped return did nothing to inject life into the Phillies' lethargic offense, which failed to deliver in a 5-0 loss to the Braves (44-39) at Citizens Bank Park Friday night.

The loss keeps the Phillies (37-48) 13 games back of the Nationals, who lost to the Rockies, 5-1, Friday. It also marks the most games under .500 the team has been all season at 11. The last time the Phillies were 11 games under was 2002.

Kendrick tossed a seven-inning, no-run gem while only allowing four hits. But it was all for naught.

Antonio Bastardo came in to relieve Kendrick in the eighth and, keeping with the Phillies' 2012 script, promptly walked in a run and gave up a towering grand-slam homer to Braves catcher Brian McCann.

"I lost my command," Bastardo said. "I have to do something about it. I think the problem is mechanics. It's mostly fastball command. I tried to get back to the strike zone, but you're throwing ball, ball and when you can't command first-pitch strikes, that's going to happen."

The Braves' lefties liked Bastardo. After McCann, a lefty, sent his home run hurtling into the grass beyond the center field wall, Bastardo exited to some of the fiercest boos heard this season.

Howard went 2-for-4 in his 2012 debut, showing flashes of his old swing, but he was noticeably hobbled on the basepaths.