PHILADELPHIA — Kyle Kendrick would like to believe he is a better pitcher than he was the last time he faced the Boston Red Sox. In fact, the Philadelphia Phillies right-hander would like to believe he is a better pitcher than he showed in his previous two starts this month.
Kendrick pitched six strong innings to beat Boston 4-3 Wednesday night. It was his first victory against the Red Sox — he was 0-3 with a 10.80 ERA in four prior outings vs. Boston — and his first victory over an American League opponent since he beat the New York Yankees on June 17, 2010.
Kendrick (5-3) allowed four hits and two runs while snapping a two-game losing streak. He struck out three and walked three.
Domonic Brown hit two of the Phillies’ four solo home runs. Ryan Howard and Erik Kratz also went deep for Philadelphia, with Kratz going back-to-back with Brown in the fourth inning.
“The last time I faced them, I don’t even think I had a changeup,” said Kendrick, who last pitched against Boston in 2010. “I just started to throw the cutter. I’m a lot different pitcher than I was then.”
Kendrick also said he spent a lot of time since his last start working out some mechanical kinks.
“It was a lot better,” he said. “The weather was perfect for me. I was able most of the game to get ahead and throw strikes. I got in a little groove there. It was great.”
Boston manager John Farrell said of Kendrick, “He used three pitches for strikes. He stayed out of the middle of the plate for the most part. He kept them in the ballgame.”
Antonio Bastardo and Mike Adams each pitched a scoreless inning in relief for Philadelphia. Ex-Red Sox reliever Jonathan Papelbon worked out of a jam in the ninth to record his 11th save in as many opportunities this season, his second in as many nights against his former team.
“We gave ourselves opportunities to score more than three tonight,” Farrell said. “To their credit, they made some pitches with men on base.”
Brown hit his second homer of the game off reliever Koji Uehara leading off the eighth, making it 4-2. Brown, who raised his team-leading total to 13, now has homered in three straight games. It was also the second multi-homer game of his career.
“I got some good pitches to hit, and I happened to hit them hard,” Brown said. “It’s good having some success. I’m trying to keep it going.”
Boston’s Jacoby Ellsbury drove in a run with a two-out bloop double off Papelbon in the ninth, but with runners at second and third, the Philadelphia closer retired Daniel Nava on a bouncer to first to end it.
Howard homered in the second off Boston starter John Lackey (3-5). It was the first earned run Lackey allowed in 15 innings.
Lackey, who worked six innings and gave up three runs on six hits, surrendered the fourth-inning blasts by Brown and Kratz as well. Lackey struck out five and walked three.
The Red Sox jumped ahead in the top of the first. Phillies center fielder Ben Revere misjudged Ellsbury’s liner, which went for a leadoff triple, and Dustin Pedroia brought home Ellsbury one out later with a sacrifice fly.
Howard’s long ball in the second ended a 61-at-bat homerless string, the third-longest of his career. It was his seventh of the season.
Then Brown and Kratz hit consecutive bombs in the fourth, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. Kratz’s homer was his sixth of the season.
NOTES: The Phillies placed 3B Michael Young on the bereavement/family medical emergency list before the game and recalled 2B Cesar Hernandez from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. … The Red Sox recalled OF Jackie Bradley from Triple-A Pawtucket before the game. He fills the roster spot previously occupied by RHP Alex Wilson, who was optioned to Pawtucket after Tuesday’s game. … Phillies GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said the hope is that 2B Chase Utley (strained oblique) and C Carlos Ruiz (strained hamstring) will be able to return from the disabled list sometime in mid-June. Ruiz hasn’t played since May 19, while Utley has been out since May 20. … Ex-Phillies OF Shane Victorino, currently on Boston’s disabled list due to a hamstring pull, was accorded a video tribute and a standing ovation in the middle of the fourth.