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HOU@PHI: Kendrick limits Astros to one run over seven

Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick has been struggling for the better part of three months, and he is running out of time to correct his struggles.

The 29-year-old is a free agent at the end of the season, and he doesn't have many more chances to impress potential suitors.

Since May 10, Kendrick is 5-8 with a 5.32 ERA, and going into his Saturday start against the Giants, he's been even worse. In his last seven outings, Kendrick has gone more than six innings only one time and has a 6.98 ERA.

It looked like Kendrick might be starting to turn his season around when he pitched a gem against the Astros on Aug. 5, going seven innings and giving up only one run. But in his most recent start -- a 7-6 Phillies win against the Mets on Aug. 10 -- Kendrick had one of his worst starts of the year.

The right-hander gave up six runs (five earned) in five innings while allowing 10 hits. His game score (23) was the second lowest of any of his starts this season.

The Phillies might be in luck, though.

Kendrick's opponent, Tim Hudson, has been going through a relative rough patch, and the Giants have lost seven out of his last 10 starts.

Hudson struggled mightily in late June and early July, putting up a 6.07 ERA from June 18-July 10. Although his performance has been better lately, he hasn't returned to the early-season form that kept his ERA below 2.00 into the middle of June, going 0-2 in his last three outings with an ERA of 4.00.

Giants: Panik making strides, impressing
Despite Friday's opposing pitcher being lefty ace Cole Hamels, left-handed-hitting second baseman Joe Panik was in the Giants' starting lineup.

Manager Bruce Bochy said before the game that he wants to keep other players fresh by rotating them in and out of the lineup, but Panik's consistency at the plate and in the field have shown marked improvements over everyone else who has manned the position for the Giants.

In 11 August games, Panik, a rookie, has hit .350 (14-for-40) with two RBIs. He has hit safely in eight of those 11 games.

Phillies: Mayberry in "holding pattern"
Outfielder John Mayberry Jr. is moving a little closer to his return to the Phillies' roster.

The 30-year-old Mayberry has been on the 15-disabled list since July 21 due to inflammation in his left wrist. Although he is eligible to return, manager Ryne Sandberg said Mayberry "keeps getting slowed up a bit" after he works out.

"Kind of a holding pattern," Sandberg said. "It's a tolerance thing. But at some point he'll get two or three or four games [in the Minor Leagues] whenever he feels like he gets to that point."

Mayberry has struggled all season, putting up a .213 batting average, but he has also combined that with a relatively average .722 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).

There isn't any particular need to rush Mayberry back, as the Phillies still have a full outfield with Marlon Byrd, Grady Sizemore, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown and Darin Ruf.

One of those players -- or Mayberry -- would likely have to stay off the 25-man roster until rosters expand Sept. 1.

Worth noting
• The Giants have not won consecutive home games since a five-game winning streak at AT&T Park from May 27-June 8.

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