Phillies 9, Cubs 2
Kyle Kendrick got less than a day to prepare for his first start in a couple weeks, and he thought that was plenty of time.
Such is life for the long man on Philadelphia's pitching staff.
Kendrick threw six sparkling innings, Carlos Ruiz hit a tiebreaking solo homer and the Phillies used Hector Luna's first career grand slam to pull away for a 9-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday night.
''Felt good tonight. Carlos called a good game,'' Kendrick said. ''I had a good game plan with these guys and it was nice to just be a part of a win.''
Kendrick allowed an earned run and three hits in his first start in 12 days as Philadelphia won its fourth consecutive game to return to .500 for the first time since it beat Atlanta 4-0 on May 3. He also singled and scored the tying run in the fifth.
Kendrick was subbing for Vance Worley, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday with right elbow inflammation. He found out about the start on Tuesday, but said he has found out he was starting as little as a half-hour before a game.
''He did a good job, did a super job,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Hunter Pence opened the eighth with a long fly ball off Shawn Camp (2-2) that left fielder Alfonso Soriano caught on the warning track, delighting the Wrigley Field crowd of 38,678. But Ruiz followed with a bit longer drive that reached the bleachers in left for his seventh homer, one more than he had all of last year.
Luna then capped Philadelphia's six-run ninth inning with a drive off Michael Bowden in his first at-bat with the Phillies, who just promoted the backup infielder on Friday.
''The fact of the matter is we have guys pitching in roles they probably shouldn't be pitching in,'' Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. ''It's tough. They've never had to do this before and they're thrown into this mix all of a sudden. It's not the easiest thing to do.''
Soriano connected for the second straight day for Chicago, which has dropped four of six. Matt Garza allowed two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings.
''Just have to get better at finishing guys off,'' Garza said. ''I left a lot of two strike counts and let them get back into counts.''
The Cubs grabbed the lead in the fourth, taking advantage of an embarrassing error by Juan Pierre. With one out and none on, Bryan LaHair ended a 14-pitch at-bat with a routine fly ball to left that Pierre dropped. LaHair hustled over to second and Soriano followed with a drive into the first row in left field, making it 2-1.
Soriano was still looking for his first homer before he connected in the ninth inning of Tuesday's 7-6 loss at St. Louis, ending a drought of 119 at-bats.
Soriano's shot was the only mistake by Kendrick, who allowed three hits, struck out four and walked none. The right-hander had pitched just one inning since his previous start at Washington on May 4.
''I just wanted to go as deep as I can, give us a chance to win the game,'' he said.
Philadelphia (19-19), which has won five consecutive NL East titles, is off to a slow start due in part to several key injuries. Sluggers Ryan Howard and Chase Utley have yet to play this season, Jim Thome is out with back problems and left-hander Cliff Lee was just activated from the DL last week. Third baseman Placido Polanco left Wednesday's victory with a bruised left knee and is day to day.
Kendrick helped himself in the fifth, dropping a leadoff single into right field. Wearing a red jacket to combat the unseasonably cool conditions, he advanced to third on Pierre's one-out double and scored on Shane Victorino's infield hit, tying it at 2.
NOTES: Phillies 1B John Mayberry, Jr. made a diving stop to rob LaHair of a hit in the sixth. ... Reliever Joe Savery was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to take Worley's spot on the roster. Savery has no record and a 4.50 ERA in eight games with the Phillies this season. ... The Cubs placed reliever Lendy Castillo on the 15-day disabled list with a left groin strain and recalled LHP Scott Maine from Triple-A Iowa. Castillo's DL stint is retroactive to May 12. ... INF Blake DeWitt, who was cut by the Cubs on May 6, cleared waivers and was outrighted to Iowa. ... Philadelphia traded OF Rich Thompson to Tampa Bay for minor league OF Kyle Hudson. ... Phillies RHP Roy Halladay (3-3) is scheduled to start the finale of the two-game series on Thursday night. Halladay is 0-3 with a 5.29 ERA in three career starts at Wrigley Field. He will be opposed by RHP Chris Volstad (0-5), who is still searching for his first win with the Cubs.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap