Kyle Kendrick tossed five solid innings in his first outing in three weeks as the Philadelphia Phillies inched closer to their fifth consecutive National League East title with a 3-1 triumph over the Florida Marlins in the first game of a doubleheader on Thursday.
Hunter Pence and Raul Ibanez had RBI doubles in the first inning and Chase Utley had a pinch-hit single in his first game since suffering a concussion for Philadelphia, which reduced its magic number to three for winning the division title.
The doubleheader, which is the second of the season pitting these two division rivals, was scheduled after Hurricane Irene made her presence felt in late August.
Pitching for the first time since Aug. 24, Kendrick (8-6) defeated the Marlins for the third time this season and improved to 7-2 in his career against the NL East club. Kendrick, who did not yield a hit over the first four innings, allowed one run on two hits and struck out six.
Three relievers bridged the gap to Ryan Madson, who stranded runners on second and third base in the ninth inning for his 31st save of the season.
Logan Morrison, who earlier in the day filed a grievance against Florida, belted a solo homer in the fifth inning.
Morrison is reportedly upset that the Marlins demoted him in August, and claims the move was made without just cause. The team contended the demotion was performance-related after Morrison struggled in the weeks leading up to the roster move.
Anibal Sanchez (8-8) fell to 3-8 in his career versus the Phillies after yielding two runs on four hits in six innings.