With the win, the Phils’ NL East lead continues to build and is now at 8 games over the 2nd place Atlanta Braves who again lost to last place Washington. The Mets dropped another one to the Florida Marlins and the 2 teams are now tied for 3rd place 15 1/2 games out.
Kendrick, who knows that he’s returning to the bullpen with the reactivation of Roy Oswalt from the DL, tossed what appears to be a career game vs the Rockies. His 7 strikeouts were a career high. He cruised throughout spreading out the 4 hits and only allowing 2 men to reach in the same inning in the first on a single and a walk. He didn’t allow a runner past 2nd base through his eight inning masterpiece as the Phillies won their fifth straight game.
AP’s game recap for Yahoo sports provides additional game highlights:
“It is what it is,” Kendrick said. “Everyone knows I can start. Oswalt coming back is going to make us better.”
Oswalt has been out since late June with a bad back and Kendrick has taken on the starting role in his absence. Tuesday’s win was just his third as a starter, and he did it with best performance since throwing a complete game against Pittsburgh on July 3, 2010.
“KK was very good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “This would rank up there with his best outing.”
Kendrick agreed—to a point.
“Results-wise, yeah,” he said. “My changeup wasn’t very good tonight but my cutter and fastball were pretty good.”
The Phillies, meanwhile, got off to a fast start against Aaron Cook, who pitched four innings before leaving with muscle spasms in his neck.
Philadelphia tacked on two more in the fourth. Howard led off with a drive to the facing of the second deck in right-center. One out later, Raul Ibanez and Placido Polanco hit consecutive singles and Brian Schneider had a sacrifice fly.
“It felt pretty good off the bat,” Howard said of his 432-foot homer. “It started middle in and it ran back over the plate.”
Cook (2-6) gave up five hits, struck out two and walked one.
“When you get the lead and add two more on that’s what really helps,” Manuel said. “Two runs in this yard doesn’t hold up a lot.”
Howard led off the eighth with a drive to left against Matt Lindstrom for his 23rd homer.
The Phils now stand at 70-39 in one of the best marks at August 2nd in their history. One would have to go back for comparison to 1976 when they were 69-33 on this date on the way to a 101-61 regular season and 1993 when they were 68-39 on August 2 on the way to a 97-65 regular season finish.
For all of Tuesday’s scores and recaps, click here.
The Phils hope for another series sweep in Wednesday’s final as ace Roy Halladay, gunning for his 14th win, is opposed by Jason Hammel for the Rockies. The Phils then depart for San Francisco and a 4 game series with the Giants beginning on Thursday.
For all of Wednesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.