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Kendrick pitches 'Pigs into May

Kendrick pitches 'Pigs into May
Cole Hamels' status for his start Monday in St. Louis will be determined the next two days after the Phillies left-hander tests the ankle he sprained Tuesday night.

Early indications are that Hamels expects to be fine for his start. If not, Kyle Kendrick made his pitch for the spot Thursday night.

Kendrick threw six shutout innings and former Phillies batterymate Carlos Ruiz keyed a three-run fourth inning with a two-run double to lead the IronPigs to a 4-2 win over Toledo before a 6,965 humans and 277 canines on Dog Day at the (Coca-Cola) Park.

"Obviously I heard about it but I'm going to do what I've got to do here and not worry about whether I'm going to get called up or anything," said the 24-year-old Kendrick (2-1), who is trying to work his way back to the majors where he won 21 games for the Phillies the previous two seasons.

"Things happen for a reason and I'm just going to do to my work here; whatever else happens, happens."

With Ruiz, who was 2-for-3 and played six innings on a rehab assignment, behind the plate, Kendrick scattered three hits and walked none in lowering his ERA to 2.77.

"Working with him again was nice," Kendrick said.

"I think it was a big help," IronPigs manager Dave Huppert said of Ruiz's presence. "Kendrick's very comfortable with Ruiz. Ruiz's very comfortable with Kendrick, and I think there was a big confidence factor."

Kendrick retired 12 consecutive Mud Hens at one point, a string broken by Brett Dlugach's infield single with one out in the sixth. Wilken Ramirez's single put runners on the corners, but Pablo Ozuna and Jason Donald teamed up to turn a bang-bang double play on Jeff Larish's roller to second.

Earlier third baseman J.J. Furmaniak turned a third-to-first double play in the first to help Kendrick out of a two-on, no-out jam.

Huppert said he thought it was the best of Kendrick's first five starts.

"I thought he had better arm strength, I thought he had a better sinker and his off-speed stuff was better," Huppert said.

"I wouldn't say it's my best outing but I had my best stuff since coming here," Kendrick said. "I think everything was there tonight."

The Phillies sent Kendrick, who jumped from Double-A to the majors in 2007, to Triple-A to work on his complimentary pitches and confidence after he lost his hold on the fifth starter spot late last season.

"For what they want me to do I'm on the right track, definitely," Kendrick said. "I'm throwing my change-up in an area right where I want to throw it -- I'm throwing strikes with it, it feels comfortable and I'm really excited about it," Kendrick said. "And I'm reading hitters now, which is helping me pitch inside more effectively."

"Confidence-wise, he's coming along good," pitching coach Rod Nichols said.

Ruiz's double, a bases-loaded sinking liner that fell in front of a lunging Ramirez in left, snapped a scoreless deadlock between Kendrick and Ruddy Lugo (2-1). Furmaniak followed with a line drive that seemingly handcuffed a leaping Larish at first, reaching on what was ruled an error when the ball kicked off the heel of Larish's glove into shallow right field as Ozuna scored.

Toledo (10-10), which has lost eight of 10, broke the shutout bid on Clete Thomas' two-out, two-strike single in the ninth off Cedrick Bowers.

The win sends the IronPigs into May with a 9-11 mark, the best monthly record in their brief franchise history. A year ago they were 3-24 in April.

"Compared to last year, it's a lot better feeling," Huppert said.

From the pig pen: Andy Tracy returned after missing three games with back spasms and had two hits, including a sharp liner to open fourth. "That's a veteran hitter back in the middle ... a big plus," Huppert said. ? After the game Huppert said Ruiz is to return for tonight's game "as of right now." ? The two double plays give the IronPigs a league-high 26, five more than any other team. ? Tyler Walker threw two more shutout innings, giving him 10 in a row since joining the team. ? Thursday marked only the third time in the last 16 games the bullpen gave up more than one run.


IronPigs 4

Mud Hens 2

Looking ahead: RHP Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 4.57 ERA) looks to rebound from a poor outing against rehabbing LHP Dontrelle Willis at 7:05 tonight.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 2, 2009

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