PHILADELPHIA — Just when it seemed Kyle Kendrick had found a home in the bullpen, he is back in the Phillies’ rotation.
The results weren’t the same.
Justin Upton hit his 100th career homer, Ian Kennedy threw six effective innings, and the streaking Arizona Diamondbacks beat Philadelphia 4-2 on Friday night.
Jason Kubel also went deep for the defending National League West champion Diamondbacks, who have won four in a row and six of seven.
Kendrick (4-9) started in place of Joe Blanton, who was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers 2½ hours before the game. Blanton was the third player dealt this week by the cost-cutting Phillies. On Tuesday they sent center fielder Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and right fielder Hunter Pence to the Giants.
“It’s tough to see him go,” Kendrick said of Blanton. “I wish him the best of luck.”
Kendrick gave up three runs — two earned — and five hits in four innings. The righty began the season as a reliever, moved into the rotation when a couple of starters got injured and struggled. He went back to the bullpen and hadn’t allowed a run since the first inning of his last start on June 28.
“I got in a groove, but it’s good to be starting again,” Kendrick said. “I have to go out there and pitch good.”
The five-time defending NL East champions have been stuck in last place and made the recent trades to trim payroll. Victorino and Blanton are eligible for free agency after the season, and neither figured into Philadelphia’s budget.
“Obviously, it’s difficult,” Kendrick said. “But we have two months left. We want to try to win some games.”
Kennedy (10-8) allowed seven hits and two runs.
Takashi Saito and David Hernandez each worked a scoreless inning before J.J. Putz finished for his 20th save.
Shortly after Upton connected off Kendrick, his older brother also hit his 100th homer over in the American League. Tampa Bay’s B.J. Upton went deep in the fourth inning against Baltimore.
Upton crushed one way out to left in the second to give the Diamondbacks a 1-0 lead and end Kendrick’s career-best, 22-inning scoreless streak.
Upton preserved a 3-2 lead in the sixth by throwing out the tying run at the plate.
Kubel hit his 23rd homer of the season off Josh Lindblom in the ninth.
A sacrifice fly by Paul Goldschmidt made it 2-0 in the fourth. Chris Johnson’s two-out RBI single gave Arizona a 3-0 lead.
Utley drove a 3-2 pitch out to right to get the Phillies within 3-1 in the bottom half.
Kennedy had control issues in the fifth. He loaded the bases by hitting one batter and walking two. Nate Schierholtz hit a sacrifice fly to cut it to 3-2.
The Phillies appeared to tie it in the sixth on Kevin Frandsen’s two-out single to right, but Upton threw out John Mayberry Jr. trying to score to end the inning. Replays showed Mayberry slid across the plate before Miguel Montero’s tag, and manager Charlie Manuel argued briefly with umpire Jim Wolf.
“He was safe,” Manuel said. “I saw it real good. I think he knew he missed it. That’s why I didn’t argue with him a long time.”
This was the first time the Phillies played a home game in August with a double-digit deficit in the standings since Aug. 20, 2006.
There were plenty of empty seats at Citizens Bank Park, but enough tickets were sold to make it 271 consecutive sellouts, counting postseason games.
The loudest cheers were for a fan sitting behind the plate after he caught a foul ball while spilling most of his beer but hanging onto the cup.
Notes: Utley hit his sixth homer in his 97th at-bat. Last year, he had just 11 homers in 398 at-bats. ... Phillies All-Star C Carlos Ruiz (foot) was out of the lineup. ... Roy Halladay (4-6, 4.33) faces Joe Saunders (5-7, 3.62) tonight. Halladay is winless in three starts since returning from the disabled list, but the Phillies are 2-1 in those three games.