The Phillies look to sweep the Marlins and move a season-high eight games over .500 as they wrap up their three-game series with Florida on Thursday.
After winning Tuesday’s series opener 11-1, Philadelphia (60-53) defeated the Marlins 6-4 on Wednesday, and are seven games over .500 for the first time since July 30.
The Phillies have scored 25 runs during their three-game winning streak, and have won 13 of 18 since July 20. They have not been eight games above the break-even mark since finishing last season 85-77, 12 games out of first.
With Tuesday’s win, Philadelphia remained four games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets, but moved one game behind San Diego in the wild-card race.
The Phillies have been playing their best baseball at Citizens Bank Park, where they have won a season-high five straight, and 10 of 12. They have also dominated Florida at home, winning 17 of their last 23 over the Marlins.
The Marlins (52-62), meanwhile, have dropped nine of their last 10 away from Dolphin Stadium and are trying to avoid being swept in Philadelphia for the first time since Sept. 22-24.
Phillies center fielder Aaron Rowand homered in his second straight game on Wednesday, and is 8-for-18 (.444) with three home runs in five home games against the Marlins this season.
Ryan Howard has four homers and eight RBIs in his last seven games at Citizens Bank Park, and is batting .343 (24-for-70) with 10 homers and 19 RBIs in 21 career home games against Florida. The reigning NL MVP is 3-for-4 with two home runs lifetime against Thursday’s starter Sergio Mitre (5-5, 3.67 ERA).
Philadelphia counters with rookie Kyle Kendrick (5-2, 3.88), who looks to remain perfect at Citizens Bank Park.
Kendrick was a tough-luck loser on Friday, giving up two runs and eight hits while tossing a career-high 106 pitches in seven innings of a 2-1 defeat at Milwaukee.
“He was impressive and he kept his poise,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
The 22-year-old right-hander has yielded just three runs in 14 innings over his last two starts, and has allowed two runs or less in four of his 10 starts.
Kendrick is 4-0 with a 3.29 ERA in six games at Citizens Bank Park, with Philadelphia winning each of those games. He has posted a 2.39 ERA in his last four home starts.
This will be Kendrick’s first career start against Florida.
Mitre has gone 1-1 with a 9.19 ERA and six walks in 15 2-3 innings in his last three starts after going 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA and two walks in 20 2-3 innings in his previous three.
On Saturday, the right-hander allowed five runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-5, 12-inning win over Houston.
In his only start against the Phillies this season, Mitre allowed five runs — one earned—and six hits in five innings of an 8-2 loss on April 6. He has lost both of his career starts against Philadelphia, allowing nine runs in 11 innings.
Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera hit his 28th home run in Wednesday’s loss, and has five homers in his last 10 games.