VIDEO: Manuel on Brown and Kendrick. PHOTO: Howard and Brown celebrate Howard's 4th inning home run. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)Ryan Howard and Dom Brown each homered, and Kyle Kendrick pitched seven strong innings as the Phillies defeated Miami 7-2 to open a four-game series Thursday night.
The Phillies looked eager to put the two-game sweep in Clevelend behind them, but Miami jumped ahead 1-0 after former teammate Juan Pierre scored on a double-play grounder by former teammate Placido Polanco.
Brown knotted the game at 1 an inning later, when he hammered out an offering from Marlins' starter Alex Sanabia.
Howard put the Phillies in front for good in the 4th with a solo shot that just barely cleared the flower bed in left field. It was just his third home run to true left field in the past two seasons.
While power started the offense, the little things led to a pair of runs in the 5th. Erik Kratz led off with a walk after a 13-pitch at-bat, and then was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kendrick. Jimmy Rollins then smacked a hard grounder at Marlins' second baseman Donovan Solano who had it go off his chest, putting runners on the corners with one out.
Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice fly just in front of the warning track in right field that Kratz was able to just lumber home ahead of the throw to make it 3-1. After Utley singled to put runners at the corner again, catcher Rob Brantly couldn't handle a high offering by Sanabia, with the passed ball allowing Rollins to score.
The Marlins pushed back to within two in the top of the 6th when Justin Ruggiano sent the first Kendrick pitch of the inning over the 401 sign in deep center field, but that would be the last damage the Marlins would do against the Phillies righty.
Insurance for the Phillies came in the form of a 3-run 8th inning off of Tom Koehler. Koehler opened with walks to Howard and Nix, and they both ended up scoring on an RBI single by Brown and a Koehler wild pitch. Erik Kratz later picked up his 8th RBI of the season with a single to left field to plate Brown.
Kendrick backed up his 3-hit shutout of the Mets on Friday with 7 innings of 2-run baseball, giving up 7 hits while striking out 5 to improve to 3-1 on the season. Mike Adams pitched a perfect 8th with two strikeouts, and Jonathan Papelbon finished off the 9th in a non-save situation in his first action since Sunday in New York.
Sanabia dropped to 2-4 after giving up 6 hits and 4 runs (2 earned) in 5 innings.
The Phillies improved to 38-20 since 2010 against Miami, including 19-9 in South Philadelphia.
Jonathan Pettibone (1-0, 4.35) faces Ricky Nolasco (2-2, 3.82) in game two of the series Friday night at 7:05.
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