After two difficult nights against the free-swinging Cleveland Indians, the Phillies had a welcome return home, facing an offensively challenged Miami Marlins team.
On the heels of two losses by a combined 20-2 score at Cleveland, the Phillies defeated the Marlins, 7-2, in the first game of a four-game series Thursday before 36,978 at Citizens Bank Park.
The Marlins entered the action having scored the fewest runs in the majors, 79 in 28 games.
"In Cleveland they got after us, got the lead, and beat us," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I didn't have to say anything about those two losses. They knew how we played."
The Phillies are 3-1 against the Marlins and have allowed six runs in the four games.
Despite facing a Marlins offense that had former Phillie Greg Dobbs hitting cleanup, this was another impressive start by righthander Kyle Kendrick. Other than losing the home opener, 13-4, to Kansas City in his first start of the season, Kendrick has been the Phillies' most effective starter.
Since allowing five earned runs in that first start, Kendrick has surrendered just six more in 35 innings. He is 3-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He allowed seven hits and two earned runs in seven innings against the Marlins.
Kendrick, who extended his winning streak against the Marlins to nine games, didn't have a smooth beginning but kept battling.
"I didn't have a good feel for my change-up early, and my sinker was up," he said. "So I had to get in a good rhythm and start to get the ball down, and my change-up felt better as the game went on and so did my cutter."
Manuel said that Kendrick was up in the zone early.
"They did hit balls hard at him, but he made pitches when he had to and threw a lot of ground balls," the manager said.
Former Phillie Juan Pierre, who entered the game hitting just .222, got the Marlins off to a 1-0 lead with legs.
Pierre walked to open the game; advanced to second on a Donovan Solano single; and then stole third, his 600th career stolen base. He scored when former Phillie Placido Polanco hit into a double play.
Compounding the Marlins' woes was the fact that they were playing without power-hitting Giancarlo Stanton, who was placed on the disabled list after suffering a strained right hamstring Monday.
Stanton had also missed the three games the Marlins hosted against the Phillies earlier this year with a shoulder injury. Phillies pitchers likely weren't complaining.
Domonic Brown tied the score in the second with a solo home run to right, his fourth of the season. Brown is hitting .387 over his last eight games.
"I feel good out there and feel confident and strong," Brown said.
The Phillies took a 2-1 lead on Ryan Howard's opposite-field home run to left on a 3-2 pitch. It was the fourth home run for Howard and third in the last eight games.
The Phillies had a brief scare when Kendrick got hit on the right leg with a line drive by Solano to open the fifth. He had the presence of mind to retrieve the ball and throw Solano out. After being briefly examined, he stayed in the game.
In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies scored two more runs, the first on a Chase Utley sacrifice fly. Jimmy Rollins, who reached base on an error, eventually scored on a passed ball.
The Phillies tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth.
Miami's Justin Ruggiano made it 4-2 by hitting the first pitch of the sixth inning for a solo home run to center.