PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kyle Kendrick has found his rhythm — and maybe a secure spot in the Phillies rotation.
Kendrick pitched effectively for 6 2-3 innings and Jimmy Rollins drove in a pair of runs to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-2 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
Kendrick (7-9), one of seven pitchers used by Philadelphia, allowed four hits and struck out three to help the Phillies win for the fifth time in the last seven games. It was the third straight win for Kendrick, who has been bounced between the bullpen and starting rotation throughout his Phillies career.
“He pitched real good, changed speeds and had control of the game,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “That goes to show you when you get focused and apply yourself, good things can happen.
“He’s always had to fight to survive. He’s proved he can pitch.”
Asked about remaining in the rotation into next season, Kendrick said, “That’s not my call. I just try go out there and give us a chance to win.”
One key to the right-hander’s success of late has been working quickly on the mound.
“When he gets in a good rhythm, he moves the tempo and is in control of the game,” Manuel said. “He can command the ball about where he wants to. He’s relaxed more and his confidence is big.”
Tyler Moore homered for Washington, which lost its second straight.
Moore snapped Kendrick’s 21 2/3 innings scoreless streak with a two-out, two-run homer in the seventh. Kendrick retired the first two batters in the frame before walking Kurt Suzuki. Moore, pinch-hitting for Edwin Jackson, launched an 0-1 sinker into the seats in left to pull Washington within 3-2.
“After I took a strike I was looking for something to hit,” Moore said. “I was trying to be aggressive. I know he’s a good pitcher. I put the barrel of the bat on the ball and it went out. Fortunately I got a pitch I could handle.”
Jackson (11-8) gave up three runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts and two walks in six innings to fall to 0-4 with a 5.32 ERA in four career starts against Philadelphia.
“Jackson was all over the place but he had pretty good stuff and kept us in the game,” Washington manager Davey Johnson said.
Jonathan Papelbon earned his 28th save in 31 chances with a scoreless ninth to preserve the win for Kendrick.
“My confidence has always been there,” Kendrick said. “I’m just trusting my stuff, knowing how I am and trusting it.”
Said Johnson, “He moves the ball around very well and doesn’t give in to anybody.”
Rollins gave the Phillies a 3-0 lead in the fourth when he lined an opposite-field, two-out single to left off Jackson to score John Mayberry Jr. and Laynce Nix, who barely beat the tag of Suzuki with an elusive head-first slide at the
Chase Utley’s RBI single in the first had given Philadelphia a 1-0 lead. The Phillies were positioned to add on to the lead, with runners on first and third and no outs, but Ryan Howard struck out and Domonic Brown grounded into an inning-ending double play.
The Phillies used four pitchers in a scoreless eighth inning. Antonio Bastardo started the frame with a strikeout of Bryce Harper and was followed by Josh Lindblom, who walked Ryan Zimmerman. Raul Valdes then relieved Lindblom and surrendered a single to Roger Bernadina before striking out Adam LaRoche. With two outs and runners on first and second, B.J. Rosenberg followed Valdes and struck out Jayson Werth to end the frame.
“We had the right guys up at the right time, but just couldn’t get it done,” Johnson said.
The Phillies padded their lead in the bottom of the inning. Utley walked, stole second and scored on Howard’s single to right that put Philadelphia up 4-2.
Michael Morse left the game in the first inning with a contusion on his right hand after being hit by a Kendrick pitch. X-rays were negative, but Johnson said Morse probably would miss “a few days.”
Ian Desmond was a late scratch due to a right hamstring injury suffered in Wednesday’s game against Atlanta. Desmond, who was replaced at shortstop by Danny Espinosa, was available to pinch-hit. Johnson said he is day-to-day.