Marlins locked up behind solid LeBlanc in Philly

Marlins locked up behind solid LeBlanc in Philly

Marlins locked up behind solid LeBlanc in Philly
PHILADELPHIA -- The Marlins have not been able to figure out Kyle Kendrick.

Fresh off a series win against the first-place Nationals and a week in which they averaged five runs per game, Miami managed only one run on two hits off Kendrick in a 3-1 loss to the Phillies in Monday's series opener.

The Marlins (63-79), who finished with three hits, have not beaten Kendrick since Sept. 9, 2008. The right-hander owns an eight-game winning streak against them, including a 3-0 record and 1.40 ERA in three starts this season.

"Changeup, sinker, strikes," Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen said when asked what Kendrick has done to stymie his club. "The only thing I see is his changeup's working very good. His sinkers were down, and he threw a lot of strikes."

Kendrick carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before catcher Rob Brantly singled to center field. Miami's lone run came in the seventh, when Carlos Lee roped a leadoff double and scored on a Donovan Solano sacrifice fly. Solano, the club's rookie second baseman, has now driven in a run in six consecutive games.

The Marlins' best chance to put a crooked number on the scoreboard was in the sixth, when they loaded the bases with two outs for the hot-hitting Giancarlo Stanton. After throwing him three straight sinkers, Kendrick fooled Stanton with a changeup for a strikeout that ended the threat. Stanton went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts and snapped his streak of six straight road games with a home run, a franchise record.

"Tonight, it was an out pitch," Kendrick said of the changeup. "You've got to keep it out of the middle of the plate with him. I wanted to just bury it, and he went after it."

Miami third baseman Greg Dobbs, a teammate of Kendrick's in Philadelphia from 2007-10, said Kendrick has developed better command of his changeup. Dobbs didn't have success against his former club on Monday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

"I think he's learned how to throw it to where it looks like a strike, and then it's not or it's a borderline to where you feel you can't take it because the umpire may call it a strike," he said.

Added Dobbs, "I think you're just seeing the development of a very talented pitcher."

The Marlins also pitched a good game, though it was overshadowed by Kendrick's performance.

Wade LeBlanc (2-4), making his second start since returning to the rotation, hurled four scoreless innings before making a costly mistake in the fifth. Facing Domonic Brown, the left-hander got behind in the count, 3-1. He then left an 87-mph fastball belt-high, and Brown pulled it deep into the right-field seats. The two-run home run gave the Phillies (70-71) a 2-0 lead. They added another when Michael Martinez hustled home on a wild pitch from LeBlanc.

Though LeBlanc lasted only five innings, he has now allowed three runs or fewer in six of his seven starts this season. Dan Jennings, Ryan Webb and Mike Dunn each threw a scoreless inning of relief.

"We pitched well," Guillen said. "I thought LeBlanc pitched a [heck] of a ballgame. He just got one bad pitch to the kid, the home run. After that, he pitched a pretty good game. He did a good job."

Though Brown's swing made the difference on the scoreboard, the Marlins' quiet bats were the story of the loss. Justin Ruggiano, Jose Reyes and Stanton combined to go 0-for-11 with eight strikeouts and one walk. Reyes' strikeout to end the first inning was his first since Aug. 31, a span of 44 plate appearances.

"It's baseball," Dobbs said. "You're not going to bang out 20 hits and nine runs every game. Coming in here to Philly, they have a very good staff. We know that. The whole league knows that."

After an off night at the plate, the Marlins hope to return to the form they showed in Washington. They have a tough test ahead of them, as they face Cy Young Award winners Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in the next two games.

"We didn't swing the bat today like we did last weekend," Guillen said. "Hopefully tomorrow we'll swing the bat better."

Jake Kaplan is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.