PHILADELPHIA — Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown hit solo homers to back Kyle Kendrick and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Miami Marlins 7-2 Thursday night.
Kendrick (3-1) allowed two runs and seven hits in seven innings to earn his ninth straight win against the Marlins, dating to May 28, 2010.
Justin Ruggiano hit a solo shot for Miami. Alex Sanabia (2-4) gave up four runs — two earned — and six hits in five innings.
Kendrick followed up a three-hitter against the New York Mets with his fifth consecutive solid start. He’s outpitched Philadelphia’s three aces — Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee so far. While they have three Cy Young Awards, a World Series MVP Award and 14 All-Star appearances on their resumes, Kendrick has never won more than 11 games in a season.
But Kendrick has a 2.43 ERA this season and the Phillies are 4-2 in his starts. Hamels, Halladay and Lee are a combined 5-8 with a 4.85 ERA, and the Phillies are 5-13 in their starts.
Kendrick is quite a bargain, too. He’s making $4.5 million this year. Hamels, Halladay and Lee will earn a total of $64.5 million.
Howard gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth when he hit a towering, opposite-field drive that just cleared the left field wall. That temporarily gave him more homers (four) than walks (three). He then got an intentional pass in the fifth and drew another walk in the eighth, his first multiwalk game since Sept. 1 against Atlanta.
Brown lined a shot over the right field fence to tie it at 1 in the second. He had an RBI single in the eighth and finished 3 for 4, his fifth multihit game in the last eight. He’s 12 for 31 with two homers and seven RBIs in that span.
A pair of unearned runs in the fifth helped the Phillies take a 4-1 lead. Chase Utley drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Jimmy Rollins scored on a passed ball after reaching on a fielding error by second baseman Donovan Solano.
Juan Pierre walked to start the game and went to second on Solano’s single. Pierre swiped third base for his 600th career steal and scored when Placido Polanco grounded into a double play.
Ruggiano hit one out to straightaway center leading off the sixth, cutting the deficit to 4-2.
Nationals 3, Braves 1
ATLANTA — Dan Haren pitched eight sharp innings, Denard Span hit a two-run double and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves.
The Nationals, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to Atlanta on Wednesday, allowed their NL East rivals to get only three runners in scoring position over two nights.
Haren (3-3) won his second consecutive start, giving up four hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts.
Rafael Soriano earned his ninth save in 10 chances by pitching the ninth. He retired Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman on groundouts before Evan Gattis singled and Dan Uggla popped up.
Padres 4, Cubs 2
CHICAGO — Yonder Alonso’s two-out fly ball to right field dropped in front of Julio Borbon for an RBI single that led to a four-run eighth inning and boosted the San Diego Padres over the Chicago Cubs for a four-game series split.
Travis Wood (2-2) retired his first 14 batters before Kyle Blanks singled, and he led 2-0 when Jesus Guzman reached on an infield single leading off the eighth. Blanks walked, Jedd Gyorko flied out and Nick Hundley fouled out.
Alonso, pinch hitting for Joe Thatcher, lofted a ball to right on the windy afternoon. Second baseman Darwin Barney backpedaled and Borbon sprinted in. Borbon called for the ball, Barney peeled off, and the ball fell just in front of Borbon’s outstretched glove as Guzman scored.
Red Sox 3, Blue Jays 1
TORONTO — Ryan Dempster won his second straight start and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a season-high 10 walks to beat the Toronto Blue Jays.
Dempster (2-2) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. The right-hander, who walked three and struck out four, retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.
Winless in his first four starts this season, Dempster posted his first victory by beating Houston a week ago.
Andrew Miller got two outs in seventh and Junichi Tazawa got the third. Koji Uehara pitched the eighth and Joel Hanrahan finished for his fourth save in five chances.
Boston improved its major league-best road record to 9-3 and won its seventh series in nine tries this season.
The Red Sox have won eight of 10 and are 20-8 overall, their best start since opening 20-7 in 2002.
Brett Lawrie homered and Colby Rasmus had three hits but the last-place Blue Jays lost for the 12th time in 16 games. Toronto dropped to 4-12 against AL East opponents.
Lawrie connected leading off the bottom of the first, his third homer of the season and the third leadoff shot of his career.
Boston took the lead with a two-run second. Mike Napoli doubled and scored on Mike Carp’s single to right, and Stephen Drew drove in Will Middlebrooks with a sacrifice fly.
Blue Jays left-hander J.A. Happ allowed two runs and three hits in 3 2-3 innings, his shortest start of the season. Happ (2-2) matched a career high with seven walks and struck out two.
David Ross drew a leadoff walk from reliever Brad Lincoln in the sixth and moved to second on a wild pitch. Steve Delabar replaced Lincoln but allowed an RBI single to Jacoby Ellsbury.
Toronto loaded the bases in the seventh but Tazawa struck out Adam Lind to end the threat.
Cardinals 6, Brewers 5
MILWAUKEE — Jake Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers.
Westbrook (2-1), came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors — it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.
Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki’s double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning.
Westbrook left with a 6-1 lead for the relievers to protect, but the Brewers scored twice in the seventh, one in the eighth and one in the ninth.
White Sox 3, Rangers 1
ARLINGTON, Texas — Hector Santiago allowed two in five-plus innings filling in for Jake Peavy on Thursday night, Tyler Flowers hit a three-run homer and the Chicago White Sox beat Texas 3-1, handing the Rangers their first series loss of the season.
Flowers’ drive just inside the foul pole in left field was the third straight hit after Texas right-hander Justin Grimm (2-1) retired 10 in a row on the day he was named AL rookie of the month.
Adrian Beltre’s homer in the second was the only hit through five innings against Santiago (1-1), who had six strikeouts and two walks in 5 1-3 innings. The left-hander made his first start of the season and fifth of his career after Peavy was scratched because of back spasms.