PHILADELPHIA -- Initially, it looked like the same old story, with Kyle Kendrick once again having the first inning blues, but the Phillies right-hander, who has had a miserable season before entering free agency, showed some true fight.
There couldn't have been many believers at Citizens Bank Park when Kendrick allowed three runs before his teammates got to face one of the best pitchers in baseball.
Yet Kendrick showed some grit while St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Adam Wainwright scuffled uncharacteristically through six laborious innings. The Cardinals ace couldn't hold the lead while Kendrick regrouped during the Phillies 5-4 win on Friday.
Before the game, Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg was asked about Kendrick's best traits.
"He's been durable," Sandberg said.
Yes, durable enough to make his 26th start, many of them not very memorable. After allowing a leadoff solo home run by Matt Adams in the third that boosted the lead to 4-1, Kendrick gave his best Wainwright impression (prior to Friday night).
Kendrick wouldn't allow another run the rest of the way and was lifted after getting the first out in the seventh so lefty Jake Diekman could face two lefthanders.
The bullpen closed matters with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief that included one inning from Ken Giles and then Jonathan Papelbon earning his 31st save.
Kendrick allowed eight hits and four earned runs in 6 1/3 innings, not the greatest of lines. Yet when taken into context that he was lucky to get out of a three-run first, one in which the first four batters reached base, then Kendrick showed some late-season resiliency in this game.
It was only the second time in the last nine starts that he had lasted past the sixth inning.
The Cardinals took a 2-0 lead on Matt Holliday's two-run double to center. They would later get a sacrifice fly in the inning by Jon Jay.
Kendrick entered the game with a 9.00 ERA and with three more earned runs, it is now 9.69.
The Phillies made it 3-1 in the bottom of the inning on Ryan Howard's RBI groundout.
Trailing by 4-1, the Phillies took advantage of the rare occurrence of Wainwright scuffling big time.
With four third-inning runs, the Phillies took a 5-4 lead. They got an RBI groundout from Chase Utley, a run-scoring single from Howard and tied the score on Marlon Byrd's sacrifice fly.
The Cardinals fortunes went further south when with two outs, Domonic Brown was caught in a rundown following a single by Carlos Ruiz. The Cardinals uncharacteristically threw the ball away, allowing Howard to score.
The Cardinals remaining scare came in the eighth when Holliday sent a fly to deep right against Giles that Byrd made a leaping catch at the wall.
Kendrick (6-11) had given his team a chance to win and on this night the Phillies did just that.
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