Kendrick picked up his first win of the season and the first shutout of his career. He improved to 1-4 and lowered his overall ERA to 4.10.
Having Kendrick as the sixth starter the last two seasons has been like having one of the best sixth men in basketball. Sometimes, you insert him into the rotation and he's even better than the other starters.
That was clearly the case on this toasty evening.
"I've never had [a shutout] and that's a good offense over there, so that's a good feeling," Kendrick said. "I wanted to go out there and finish it and give the bullpen a little rest and sit down and watch Roy [Halladay] tomorrow."
Kendrick has made six starts filling in for Cliff Lee and Worley, and five of the six have been outstanding. Since surrendering seven runs on 11 hits April 23 in a loss at Arizona, he has surrendered just six earned runs and 27 hits in 33 innings for a 1.64 earned-run average.
In 21 starts over the last two seasons, he has a 3.18 ERA. Those numbers would make him more than a sixth starter in most places, and he would love to be more than that here.
Manager Charlie Manuel, after calling Saturday night's performance the best of Kendrick's career, did not discount the righthander's remaining in the rotation.
"Right now, he stays in the rotation," Manuel said. "There's no sense in me sending a message that just as soon as Worley comes back he's coming out of the rotation. I ain't sending him that kind of message. Right now, he's in our rotation."
On his way out to stretch Friday night, Kendrick said he loved pitching at Busch Stadium, and he was clearly comfortable even in the searing heat that has engulfed the city since the Phillies arrived Thursday. He said it is the heat that helps make him comfortable.
"This is one of my best parks to pitch in," Kendrick said. "Atlanta and here. It's warm and I like the humidity. I like pitching here."
The Cardinals had only one at-bat the entire night with runners in scoring position, and after Tyler Greene doubled with two outsin the sixth, Kendrick calmly retired the dangerous Matt Holliday by inducing a grounder to shortstop Jimmy Rollins.
He finished the evening by getting World Series MVP David Freese to look at a called third strike for his fourth strikeout of the night. He threw a total of 94 pitches, 70 of which were strikes.
"I knew watching [the first two] games they were being aggressive and swinging early and [catcher] Brian Schneider and I had a good game plan," Kendrick said. "We mixed it up - a lot of first-pitch change-ups, sinkers down that they rolled over. I knew they were going to be aggressive, so we tried to force some early contact and get some quick outs."
On paper, this matchup looked as if it favored the Cardinals, who sent lefthander Jaime Garcia to the mound. In six career games against the Phillies, Garcia was 2-1 with a 1.20 ERA. The Phillies' .178 batting average was the lowest of any team that has faced the cunning lefty.
The Phillies, however, have collectively had a good approach at the plate throughout this series, and it continued against Garcia. Their reward was one run in the fourth and three more in the sixth.
After ending an 0-for-12 streak with a two-run, game-winning home run in the 10th inning Friday night, Hunter Pence stayed hot with two hits and a walk. His leadoff fourth-inning single led to the Phillies' first run when Shane Victorino delivered a one-out double into left-center field.
Two innings later, John Mayberry stepped to the plate with one out and in the midst of another frustrating streak of futility. He had been hitless in his previous 13 at-bats and his batting average had dropped 29 points, from .257 to .228.
Like Pence the night before, Mayberry delivered. He took a first-pitch curveball for a strike, but when Garcia tried to throw a breaking ball by him again, Mayberry hit it down the third-base line and past a diving Freese for a two-run double.
"That was big," Mayberry said. "To be able to come through in a big spot is always pretty gratifying."
Freddy Galvis got another run home with a slow roller to the left side, and on this night a four-run lead was as good as a 40-run lead for Kendrick.
The Phillies were lucky to have him.
Contact Bob Brookover at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @brookob.