Kyle Kendrick struck out a career-high eight over seven strong innings to lead the surging Philadelphia Phillies to their fifth straight win, 3-1 over the Miami Marlins on Monday night.
Staked to a 3-0 lead, Kendrick (9-10) took a no-hitter into the sixth before Rob Brantly's leadoff single. The right-hander escaped a bases-loaded jam when he struck out Giancarlo Stanton on a changeup.
Often overlooked on a staff that includes Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee, Kendrick has been a huge reason why the Phillies (70-71) are making a late push to get into the NL wild-card race. He's won five of his last six starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his past six.
The Phillies have won 13 of 17 overall. They began the night six games behind St. Louis for the second NL wild-card spot and are trying to leapfrog a mix of teams that includes Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.
Domonic Brown hit a two-run homer off Wade LeBlanc (2-4), and a hustling Michael Martinez scored on a wild pitch in a three-run fifth.
Antonio Bastardo tossed a scoreless ninth for his first save this season. He got the call after Jonathan Papelbon earned a win and save in a doubleheader sweep against Colorado on Sunday.
Kendrick struck out five of the first seven batters he faced and had more than 40,000 fans buzzing early.
There was even the standard defensive gem that accompanies no-hitters.
Carlos Lee hit a chopper that eked over a leaping Kendrick's outstretched glove. Second baseman Chase Utley charged and made the throw to nip Lee.
Kendrick got a standing ovation in the sixth after Brantly's single. He walked two batters to load the bases before fanning Stanton to keep the shutout intact.
Donovan Solano made it 3-1 on a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Kendrick allowed two hits and walked three.
The Phillies were 57-67 on Aug. 22 but can hit the .500 mark with a win Tuesday for the first time since they were 28-28 on June 4. They could do some damage over the next 10 games. Monday kicked off a stretch of 10 straight against losing teams in the Marlins, Astros and Mets.
Philadelphia has some punch off the bench for the playoff push.
Darin Ruf was called up Monday after he led all minor leaguers with 38 home runs for Double-A Reading. He hit 20 homers in August. He earned the nickname ``Babe'' and manager Charlie Manuel said he was eager to see the rookie take some cuts.
Brown showed Ruf how to go deep in the majors in the fifth. After Ty Wigginton walked leading off the inning, Brown's second homer of the season landed just inside the right-field foul pole. Martinez doubled two batters later, advanced to third on a grounder and hustled home on a wild pitch.
LeBlanc gave up four hits and struck out five in five innings.