Major Leagues: Phillies hammer Marlins

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Kyle Kendrick isn’t just the bargain of the Philadelphia Phillies’ star-studded staff, he’s become the ace.


Ryan Howard and Domonic Brown hit solo homers to back Kendrick and the 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.


“He did a good job,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “They hit some balls hard, but he made pitches when he had to.”


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.


“I’ve always kind of expected this,” Kendrick said. “It hasn’t always been there. Hopefully now I can be consistent every time out. I feel comfortable and confident I can do that.”


Kendrick is making $4.5 million this year. Hamels, Halladay and Lee will earn a total of $64.5 million.


He’s not just a one-year wonder, either.


Kendrick is 10-5 since returning to the rotation last August.


“In the last two years, he’s had a harder workout routine,” Manuel said. “He’s stronger in the core, his sinker is better velocity-wise and he’s improved his command.”


Justin Ruggiano hit a solo shot for Miami. Alex Sanabia (2-4) gave up four runs — two earned — and six hits in five innings.


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.


Washington 3, Atlanta 1: Dan Haren pitched eight sharp innings, Denard Span hit a two-run double and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1.


San Diego 4, Chicago Cubs 2: Yadier 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 4-2 Thursday for a four-game series split.


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