Kendrick leads surging Phillies past Marlins 3-1

DAN GELSTSON (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Kyle Kendrick has helped turn the surging Phillies from September spoiler into a potential playoff contender.

Kendrick struck out a career-high eight over seven strong innings to lead Philadelphia to its fifth straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.

Staked to a 3-0 lead, Kendrick (9-10) took a no-hitter into the sixth before Rob Brantly's leadoff single. The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam when he struck out Giancarlo Stanton on a changeup.

Often overlooked on a staff that includes Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Kendrick has been a huge reason why the Phillies (70-71) are making a late push to get into the NL wild-card race. He's won five of his last six starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his past six.

''We definitely know where we're at,'' Kendrick said. ''We've got to win every night. But we're in the hunt. That's fun. Hopefully we can make something happen.''

The Phillies have won 13 of 17 overall. They began the night six games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot and are trying to leapfrog a mix of teams that includes Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

Manager Charlie Manuel predicted the Phillies would have to win 14 or 15 games over the final 21 to make the playoffs.

''We might win all 21 of them,'' he said, smiling.

Forget ruining other teams' chances at a postseason berth. The Phillies, who have won the last five NL East titles, plan to take one for themselves.

Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc (2-4), and a hustling Michael Martinez scored on a wild pitch in a three-run fifth.

Antonio Bastardo tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save this season. He got the call after Jonathan Papelbon earned a win and save in a doubleheader sweep against Colorado on Sunday.

''I don't think anybody's looking at the standings,'' Brown said.

Kendrick struck out five of the first seven batters he faced and had more than 40,000 fans buzzing early.

There was even the standard defensive gem that accompanies no-hitters.

Carlos Lee hit a chopper that eked over a leaping Kendrick's outstretched glove. Second baseman Chase Utley charged and made the throw to nip Lee.

Kendrick got a standing ovation in the sixth after Brantly's single. He walked two batters to load the bases before fanning Stanton to keep the shutout intact and send the crowd into a frenzy.

''I see more life, more get-up and go,'' Manuel said.

Donovan Solano made it 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Kendrick allowed two hits and walked three.

The Phillies were 57-67 on Aug. 22 but can hit the .500 mark with a win Tuesday for the first time since they were 28-28 on June 4. They could do some damage over the next 10 games, too. Monday kicked off a stretch of 10 straight against losing teams in the Marlins, Astros and Mets.

Philadelphia has some punch off the bench for the playoff push.

Darin Ruf was called up Monday after he led all minor leaguers with 38 home runs for Double-A Reading. He hit 20 homers in August and earned the nickname ''Babe.'' Manuel said he was eager to see the rookie take some cuts.

Brown showed Ruf how to go deep in the majors in the fifth. After Ty Wigginton walked leading off the inning, Brown's second homer of the season landed just inside the right-field foul pole. Martinez doubled two batters later, advanced to third on a grounder and hustled home on a wild pitch.

''The first mistake was in not being aggressive,'' LeBlanc said. ''I left the pitch belt high in the middle of the plate.''

LeBlanc gave up four hits and struck out five in five innings.

''We had opportunities with the right people at the plate, but we didn't swing the ball well,'' Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said.

NOTES: Stanton had homered in six straight road games. ... Miami CF Justin Ruggiano struck out four times. ... Phillies RHP Tyler Cloyd will start Thursday on short rest against Houston. ... The Phillies send Roy Halladay (9-7, 3.87 ERA) to the mound Tuesday against Miami rookie Nathan Eovaldi (4-11, 4.44).

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