PHILADELPHIA -- The Philadelphia Phillies' best starting pitcher to date has been -- wait for it -- Kyle Kendrick.
Kendrick pitched seven strong innings, and Domonic Brown went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs Thursday night as the Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 7-2.
Ryan Howard also homered for the Phillies, who have won four of their past six games.
Kendrick, who shut out the New York Mets in his previous start, allowed two runs on seven hits. He struck out five and walked two. Kendrick (3-1) lowered his ERA to 2.43, best in a rotation that includes Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay.
"I've always kind of expected this out of me," he said. "I know it hasn't been (happening) in the past. I want it. The fans want it. I expect this out of me. Hopefully now I can be consistent every time out and give us a chance to win the game."
He is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA over his past five starts, and he's won nine straight against Miami, the majors' second-longest active streak against one team to Halladay's 10-gamer against the Baltimore Orioles. Kendrick is 11-2 lifetime against the Marlins, the most victories he has against any club.
"He's really consistent," catcher Erik Kratz said. "His ability to throw all his pitches in any situation is what gives him a lot of success."
However, Kratz said Kendrick struggled with his curveball and changeup early in Thursday's game. The right-hander was able to spot his fastball effectively, enabling him to limit the Marlins to a single run after they put two men on with no one out in the first, and to shut them down after they loaded the bases with two outs in the third, and put a runner at third with one out in the fifth.
"He pitched well," Marlins manager Mike Redmond said. "We came out aggressively, swinging the bats. We had opportunities to add on some runs. We could have put more pressure on him if we capitalized."
Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon each worked a perfect inning in relief for Philadelphia.
Brown and Howard hit solo homers in the second and fourth, respectively. It was the fourth homer of the season for each.
Brown also had an RBI single in the Phillies' two-run eighth.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," the right fielder said. "I was doing that the last road trip. I'm just trying to keep getting stronger, offensively and defensively."
Justin Ruggiano hit his fourth homer of the season for the Marlins, who dropped their second straight to fall to 8-21. They began the night tied with Houston for the majors' worst record.
Miami's Alex Sanabia (2-4) went five innings and gave up four runs (two earned) and six hits. He struck out four and walked two.
The Marlins took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Juan Pierre drew a leadoff walk, and after a single by Donovan Solano, he stole third, the 600th steal of his career. Pierre scored when Placido Polanco bounced into a double play.
Brown tied it with a one-out homer off Sanabia in the second, a tracer into the right field seats.
Howard gave the Phils a 2-1 lead by launching an opposite-field homer to left in the bottom of the fourth. That shot came on a slider, the ninth pitch of his at-bat against Sanabia.
Philadelphia added two unearned runs in the fifth on Chase Utley's sacrifice fly and a passed ball.
NOTES: Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel did not completely dismiss the comments Wednesday of LHP Cliff Lee, who after a 6-0 loss in Cleveland said the Phillies need to play with "a little more pride." Manuel said Lee was speaking in the heat of the moment, and that the Phils' offensive woes might make the team look lethargic. But he added, "What he meant was, we need to get after it more and do better." ... Philadelphia's John Mayberry Jr., who went 0-for-3 with a walk, made his fourth start in center field in place of slumping Ben Revere. "I think Mayberry gets a better look at the ball in center field than left or right," Manuel said of the 6-foot-6 Mayberry. "Once he gets going, he's got a long stride." ... The Marlins activated SS Adeiny Hechavarria from the disabled list, and they also purchased the contract of OF Matt Diaz from Triple-A New Orleans. To make room on the roster, LHP Brad Hand was optioned to New Orleans, and INF Nick Green was designated for assignment.