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SD@PHI: Brignac drives a two-run double to left field

PHILADELPHIA -- This is the week for the Phillies to get healthy.

Well, relatively healthy.

They are halfway through a six-game homestand against the Padres and Cubs, two of only three National League teams with a worse record than they. They swept the Padres with a 7-3 victory Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, their second sweep of the season and first since April 11-13 against the Marlins.

The Phillies have a chance for their first four-game winning streak since they won five straight June 2-6, 2013, with a victory Friday against the Cubs.

"Well, now we have a chance," Ryne Sandberg said.

"It's hard to believe," Kyle Kendrick added. "I think we have the guys to do it. We just have to put everything together. It sounds easy."

This season has been anything but easy. The sweep pushed the Phillies to only 28-36. They will need to play much better, much longer to convince the Phillies' front office they should not trade some of their more valuable assets before the July 31 Trade Deadline.

But the Phillies have to start somewhere, and they started against the Padres. Phillies pinch-hitter Reid Brignac, who hit a three-run walk-off home run Wednesday, hit a two-out double to left-center field in the sixth inning to score two runs to hand the Phillies a 4-2 lead. John Mayberry Jr.'s three-run homer to left field in the seventh gave them a 7-2 lead.

"We've put three together and we'll move forward with the Cubs coming in," Brignac said. "We have to keep playing like we have been playing."

The five-run lead afforded rookie right-hander Ken Giles the opportunity to make his big league debut with two outs in the ninth. Giles' first pitch flashed 100 mph on the scoreboard in right field, although Pitch f/x data listed the fastball at 99.1 mph.

But really, what is 0.9 mph at that speed?

Giles threw a 3-1 fastball to Yasmani Grandal, who lofted the pitch into the flower bed in left field for a solo home run. Giles struck out Alexi Amarista on an 89-mph slider to end the game.

"I was pumped," Giles said. "All I wanted to do was get out there and get it over with. I didn't care how it turned out to be, I just wanted to get that first one out of the way, that's all that mattered to me."

A dreary, rainy afternoon started like too many Kendrick starts this season, when he allowed two first-inning runs to hand the Padres a 2-0 lead. Kendrick has allowed 15 runs (13 earned runs) in the first inning in 13 starts this season.

He settled after that. He allowed seven hits, two runs (one earned run) and struck out five in six innings.

Kendrick has a 9.00 ERA in the first inning and a 3.16 ERA in every other inning combined.

"I don't have an answer," he said. "I've tried a lot of things. I don't know. Maybe next game I won't warm up."

The Padres entered the afternoon averaging a minuscule 3.03 runs per game, which is on pace to be the lowest output in baseball since the 1972 Angels (2.93), 1972 Rangers (2.99) and 1972 Indians (3.03). San Diego's .275 on-base percentage also is on pace to be the lowest since the 1910 White Sox (.275).

In that sense, it is surprising the Padres had a better record than the Phillies before Thursday's game, but the Phillies have had problems of their own.

The Phillies scored a run in the first when Ben Revere doubled and scored on Jimmy Rollins' single to center. Rollins needs two more hits to pass Mike Schmidt to become the franchise's all-time hits leader. Schmidt finished his Phillies career with 2,234 hits.

The Phillies tied the game in the fourth when Marlon Byrd singled, advanced to third on Mayberry's double to left field and scored on Brown's sacrifice fly to right.

The Phillies took advantage of a struggling team at home, which is what teams should do at home. Can they do the same against the Cubs? If they expect to slowly climb their way back into postseason contention they must.

"It's what we were looking for and all we can do is create some momentum from that," Sandberg said.

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