ATLANTA (AP/CBS) — Ryan Howard homered, Kyle Kendrick won consecutive starts for the first time in 11 months and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves 5-2 on Tuesday night, their second straight win over the Braves.
The Phillies, winners of two straight and six of eight, got a solid start from Kendrick (3-6), who had gone 2-11 in his previous 20 starts since last Aug. 11.
Kendrick allowed six hits and two runs with one walk and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Not since he beat Washington last July 11 and won at the New York Mets last July 19 had Kendrick won two straight starts. The right-hander was coming off a 7-3 victory last week against San Diego.
Atlanta has lost seven of 11 and 13 of 21.
Ervin Santana (5-4) continued to struggle, giving up eight hits and four runs — three earned — with three walks in six innings. Santana, who struck out five, is 1-4 with a 6.17 ERA in his last seven starts.
The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first when Rollins led off with a double and Howard hit his 13th homer. In 71 career games at Turner Field, Howard is hitting .277 with 20 homers and 69 RBIs.
Philadelphia, which had its leadoff hitter reach safely in eight innings, went up 4-0 in the fourth. Dominic Brown led off with a walk, advanced to third on Reid Brignac’s double and scored on a passed ball by Gerald Laird. Brignac, who moved to third on the passed ball, scored on Cesar Hernandez’s RBI single.
Atlanta made it 4-1 in the fourth on Jason Heyward’s RBI single.
The Braves cut the lead to 4-2 in the seventh when Chris Johnson led off with a double, moved to third Andrelton Simmons’ single and scored on Laird’s double-play groundout.
Simmons, named last year’s top defender in the NL, had a rare two-error inning in the ninth that helped Marlon Byrd reach second on an infield single and score from third on Brown’s fielder’s choice grounder for a 5-2 lead.
Closer Jonathan Papelbon recovered from a blown save Monday to record his 16th save in 18 chances. Papelbon retired pinch-hitter Ryan Doumit on a lineout, Tommy La Stella on a groundout and Johnson on a lineout.
The Phillies are now 31-38, just five games back in the National League East. The Nationals, 36-33, are now in first place.
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