“KYLE KENDRICK posted a 1.50 ERA last night.
He allowed one earned run in 6 1/3 innings and left the game to a loud ovation.
Again, a 1.50 ERA. Lower than Roy Halladay’s, lower than Cole Hamels’, and lower than Roy Oswalt’s.
Yet the Phillies didn’t eke out a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks until the 11th inning. And when they did – in dramatic fashion, on a game-winning single by Wilson Valdez that scored Cody Ransom from second with one out – it was only after escaping a one-out, bases-loaded jam that prevented Arizona from scoring the go-ahead run in the ninth.
That isn’t to suggest that fans should book their October evenings or that Ruben Amaro Jr. should bring his receipt back to Ed Wade. That isn’t even to suggest that the death-defying victory was anything other than low-scoring game against a tough lefty in which the Phillies‘ bullpen allowed an inherited runner to score at an inopportune time.
The Phillies (56-46) won their eighth straight game. They cut their deficit behind the Braves to 2 1/2 games. They are one win away from reaching a season-high-tying 11 games over .500, and they will get an opportunity to get that win tonight with their new top-of-the-rotation righthander on the mound.
They were amped up afterward, and understandably so. Loud rap music pounded through the clubhouse as equipment staff packed for the train to Washington. Valdez enjoyed some much-deserved attention after not only knocking in the winning run, but saving a pair of runs with a pair of inning-ending doubleplays in the seventh and the ninth.
More than anything, the finale of their three-game sweep of the Diamondbacks was a reminder:
No matter how many Cy Young Award finalists the Phillies add, it is unlikely that their starting pitchers will toss nine scoreless innings each time they take the mound. And last night, that was almost what they needed to win in regulation.
Jimmy Rollins didn’t play for the third straight game with a bruised foot (Manuel expects him back today or tomorrow), and top prospect Domonic Brown flied out as a pinch-hitter in the seventh.
Instead, Kendrick starred in his second outing since a brief demotion to Triple A last week. Back then, it appeared as if he had lost his spot in the rotation to lefthander J.A. Happ. But the next night, veteran lefty Jamie Moyer went down, and Kendrick returned for a stay that likely turned permanent yesterday when Moyer said he is out for the season and Happ was traded to the Astros as part of the package for Oswalt.”