Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/26/12

By Rob Rains, The Sports Xchange

ST. LOUIS -- Kyle Kendrick came into Saturday night's start for the Philadelphia Phillies with an 0-4 record, a 5.23 ERA and the knowledge that he was facing the best offensive team in the National League.

That's not a combination which would have prompted many to predict he would pitch the first shutout of his major-league career.

The 27-year-old right-hander, making the 104th start of his career, blanked the Cardinals 4-0 on seven hits, striking out four and walking none in the second complete game of his career. He threw only 94 pitches, 70 for strikes.

The Cardinals never threatened against Kendrick, having only one runner reach second base -- when Tyler Greene doubled with two outs in the sixth -- and failed to put two runners on base in any inning.

Kendrick's only previous complete game was a 10-hit, 12-4 win at Pittsburgh on July 3, 2010. His only previous shutout in his professional career came in 2006, when he was pitching for Class A Clearwater. Saturday night marked his sixth career start against the Cardinals and his first since July 19, 2010, when he allowed seven runs in five innings.

It was the fourth time this season the Cardinals, who lead the NL in batting average, runs and home runs, have been shut out.

The win was the Phillies' third in a row against the Cardinals and fourth overall consecutive win, setting them up for a possible sweep of the four-game series on Sunday.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the fourth, the Phillies gave Kendrick a little more breathing room with a three-run sixth. They loaded the bases against starter Jaime Garcia on a double by Placido Polanco and a pair of walks before John Mayberry lined a double past third baseman David Freese to drive in two runs. Freddy Galvis' grounder drove home the final run of the inning.

The four runs by the Phillies matched the total they had scored in six previous games, including four starts, against Garcia in his career in a total of 30 innings.

The Phillies' Jimmy Rollins almost led off the game with a home run, but left fielder Matt Holliday reached over the wall to make the catch. Given the reprieve, Garcia allowed only two hits before Hunter Pence led off the fourth with a single. Pence came around to score the first run of the game on a one-out double by Shane Victorino.

Kendrick threw a first-pitch strike to each of the 13 batters he faced as he limited the Cardinals to only three singles through the first five innings.

NOTES: The game time temperature for Saturday night's game, which started at 6:15 p.m., was 94 degrees... The Cardinals optioned RHP Fernando Salas to Triple-A Memphis on Saturday and called up RHP Chuckie Fick. Salas was 0-3 with a 6.52 ERA in 18 games. He had surrendered 11 runs and 23 hits in just 15 2/3 innings of work. This is Fick's first call up to the major leagues. He was 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA and two saves in 21 games at Memphis... With Fick's call up, four of the current seven pitchers in the Cardinals bullpen were on the Memphis roster at the start of the season... The Phillies gave catcher Carlos Ruiz the night off Saturday. He has played in 43 of the team's first 47 games... The only Phillies to play in every game so far this season are Victorino and Galvis... Shortstop Rafael Furcal and catcher Yadier Molina did not start for the Cardinals. It was only the second game Furcal has missed out of the team's 47 games. The only player to appear in every game is Holliday... Roy Halladay (4-4) will start the finale of the four-game series for the Phillies on Sunday and will be opposed by Adam Wainwright (3-5) for the Cardinals, coming off a four-hit shutout in his last game.

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