Kyle Kendrick is no longer flying under the radar; he's now a blip on opposing maps. Kendrick gets the nod for the Philadelphia Phillies Sunday in the finale of a four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
With Roy Halladay scheduled for shoulder surgery in a few days and Cole Hamels 1-5 on the season, it's been up to Cliff Lee and Kendrick to carry the rotation. Kendrick and Lee lead the Phillies in wins (4), while Kendrick is tops in earned run average (2.45).
The Phillies have won each of Kendrick's last four starts.
Kendrick is 3-0 with a 1.86 ERA in his last four appearances and previously took the mound in Tuesday's 6-2 win at San Francisco, where he held the defending champions to two runs and six hits in seven innings. He did not walk a batter for the first time this season and struck out six.
"Kyle's pitched great," Phils second baseman Chase Utley said. "It seems like every game, he definitely gives us a chance to win. He's staying composed, he's getting out of big jams, he's making good pitches definitely when he needs to."
The right-hander is 4-1 in seven starts and 2-0 in three road assignments. However, Kendrick is winless (0-2) in seven career games, six of which have been starts, with a 6.06 ERA against the Diamondbacks. Philadelphia hopes Sunday will be the day Kendrick gets his first win in the series.
Philadelphia was able to end a three-game slide with Saturday's 3-1 win behind Lee, who hurled seven scoreless innings to improve to 4-2. Antonio Bastardo got the first out in the eighth inning, then closer Jonathan Papelbon covered the rest of the game to pick up his sixth save.
Lee's performance impressed D'backs manager Kirk Gibson.
"(Lee) pitched great, that's not the last game he's going to throw that way, he's thrown a lot like that before," Gibson said. "He had total command of the strike zone, threw the ball wherever he wanted to, in or out, up or down. It was just a great job by him."
Jimmy Rollins had two hits and two RBI and Ben Revere added two hits and scored twice for the Phillies, who won for just the third time in eight tries and are 3-3 on a seven-game road trip.
After Sunday's game in the desert, the Phillies, who pulled within five games of Atlanta for the NL East lead, will return home for five straight versus Cleveland and Cincinnati. The Indians recently swept a two-game set against the Phillies, outscoring them by a 20-2 margin.
The Diamondbacks lost their grip on the NL West and now sit a game off the lead behind the San Francisco Giants. In Saturday's loss to the Phils, Trevor Cahill was dealt the tough-luck loss and allowed only one run and three hits in five innings.
Cahill said afterward he lost control of his dangerous sinker.
"I couldn't get it over, I couldn't get it anywhere close," Cahill told the club's website. "I think it was a mechanical thing. My finish and my follow- through was different every single time. I think that contributes a lot to it."
Gibson noted it was a "struggle all night" for his starter.
Cody Ross had a sacrifice fly and Gerardo Parra went 3-for-4 for Arizona, which had won five straight and six of seven games. The D'backs will host the Atlanta Braves for three games after this four-gamer.
It's been a rough first season in the desert for D'backs starter Brandon McCarthy, who draws the start Sunday in hopes of tasting victory for the first time in 2013. McCarthy is 0-3 in seven starts with a 6.75 earned run average and he has not posted a decision in back-to-back trips to the hill.
McCarthy, a right-hander, has given up 17 runs in the past four starts and was reached for three more and eight hits over 6 1/3 innings of a 5-3 win at Dodger Stadium on Tuesday. In four starts this season, McCarthy is 0-2 with a lofty 7.61 ERA and has never faced the Phillies.
The Phillies went 4-2 versus the Diamondbacks last season.