Hot bats help Phils take doubleheader opener


Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Posted: 3:47 p.m.Updated: 5:15 p.m.
By Jim


Kyle Kendrick helped his teamand maybe himselfon Wednesday afternoon.

Kendrick pitched well in leading the Phillies to an 8-1 win in the first game of a day-night doubleheader against the Florida Marlins. And while holding the Marlins to just a run was important, it was equally critical Kendrick pitched deeply into the game because the Phils have a nightcap to play Wednesday night.

The righthander gave his team seven strong innings.

Absolutely tremendous, manager Charlie Manuel said after the game. He pitched a heck of a game and weve got a fresh bullpen for tonight.

With Roy Halladay scheduled to pitch the second game, the Phils might not need much bullpen support. But they do have another game against the Marlins on Thursday afternoon, followed by a cross-country flight and a three-game weekend series at Seattle beginning on Friday night. So there was definitely value in Kendricks economical 88-pitch effort.

I wanted to get as deep as I could to help the bullpen, Kendrick said.

The day did not start well for Kendrick, who walked the first batter of the game and gave up a solo homer in the first inning. But Kendrick settled down and allowed only four singles the rest of the way. He was able to breathe more easily once his mates scored six runs against rookie Elih Villanueva in the third inning to open a seven-run lead. Those runs came on the strength of just two hitsa three-run triple by Wilson Valdez and a three-run homer by Jimmy Rollins. Villanueva hit a batter and walked three others in the inning. The Marlins sent him back to the minors after the game.

Its nice to pitch with a big lead, Kendrick said. Youre able to relax and make pitches.

Kendrick opened the season in the bullpen, but his preference has always been to work as a starter. He is now 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in five starts.

With Joe Blanton out with an elbow injury, the Phils have used Kendrick and Vance Worley in the fifth starters spot. Worley, who has put together three strong starts at Triple A, could return Saturday to fill a need in the rotation. If he gets the call and pitches well at Seattle, team officials could make him the fifth starter and slide Kendrick back into a long relief role. Or, Kendrick could remain as the fifth starter for the foreseeable future. Team officials have not revealed their plans.

Kendrick is hoping he continues to get the chance to start. He made 83 starts for the club from 2007 to 2010 and reached double-digit wins in three of those seasons.

I love starting, Kendrick said. Its what I want to do. Id be lying if I said I didnt want to. But its their decision. If they need me in the bullpen Ill do that. Ill do whatever they need me to do. Im just excited to be part of this team and this group of guys.

Kendrick had not pitched more than five innings all season, so getting seven from him was a bonus for the Phils. So, too, was earning a win while starters such as Placido Polanco and Raul Ibanez got some rest. Valdez started at third in place of Polanco and had three hits, including the bases-loaded triple that blew the game open.

The win improved the Phillies to a season-best 16 games over .500. The Marlins, meanwhile, are in a freefall, having lost 13 of 14 to go from two games back in the division to 9 back in just 11 days.

Theyre struggling, Manuel said. We need to try to push them back a little more.E-mail Jim Salisbury at

Related: Hamels back on the field, shows no signs of injuryWorley could return to Phillies on Saturday

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