PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kyle Kendrick has helped turn the surging Phillies from September spoiler into a potential playoff contender.
Kendrick struck out a career-high eight over seven strong innings to lead Philadelphia to its fifth straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.
Staked to a 3-0 lead, Kendrick (9-10) took a no-hitter into the sixth before Rob Brantly's leadoff single. The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam when he struck out Giancarlo Stanton on a changeup.
Often overlooked on a staff that includes Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Kendrick has been a huge reason why the Phillies (70-71) are making a late push to get into the NL wild-card race. He's won five of his last six starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his past six.
"We definitely know where we're at," Kendrick said. "We've got to win every night. But we're in the hunt. That's fun. Hopefully we can make something happen."
The Phillies have won 13 of 17 overall. They began the night six games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot and are trying to leapfrog a mix of teams that includes Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Manager Charlie Manuel predicted the Phillies would have to win 14 or 15 games over the final 21 to make the playoffs.
"We might win all 21 of them," he said, smiling.
Forget ruining other teams' chances at a postseason berth. The Phillies, who have won the last five NL East titles, plan to take one for themselves.
Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc (2-4), and a hustling Michael Martinez scored on a wild pitch in a three-run fifth.
Antonio Bastardo tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save this season. He got the call after Jonathan Papelbon earned a win and save in a doubleheader sweep against Colorado on Sunday.
"I don't think anybody's looking at the standings," Brown said.
Kendrick struck out five of the first seven batters he faced and had more than 40,000 fans buzzing early.
There was even the standard defensive gem that accompanies no-hitters.
Carlos Lee hit a chopper that eked over a leaping Kendrick's outstretched glove. Second baseman Chase Utley charged and made the throw to nip Lee.