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MIA@PHI: Ruggiano smacks a solo dinger to center

PHILADELPHIA -- When Juan Pierre stole third base and scored in the first inning on Thursday night, it appeared the Marlins would be off and running. Instead, some defensive miscues and missed chances led to another disheartening loss.

Domonic Brown and Ryan Howard each homered, and behind Kyle Kendrick's efficient seven innings, the Phillies defeated the Marlins, 7-2, before 36,978 at Citizens Bank Park.

The Marlins opened their four-game series -- and 10-game road trip -- with a frustrating setback. They've now dropped two in a row after winning three straight at home.

"We had a couple of opportunities and we weren't able to punch many runs across," manager Mike Redmond said. "We don't have much home run power, but they do. They can put a couple of big numbers up there quickly. We have to capitalize on the opportunities that we have. We weren't able to do that."

Justin Ruggiano homered off Kendrick, who gave up two runs in seven innings. And Alex Sanabia worked five innings, giving up four runs, with two earned.

The first inning had some historical importance, as Pierre became the 14th player in MLB history to reach 600 stolen bases.

"It was great, we got the base for him and gave it to him," Redmond said. "He's a tremendous competitor and teammate. What he's done over his career is just amazing. When he stole that base, I thought at least they'd flash that on the Jumbotron. It was crickets up there. I'm not sure if the word got out."

It also had significance on the game, because it positioned Pierre to score a run. After drawing a leadoff walk and taking second on Donovan Solano's single to center, Pierre used a headfirst slide to swipe third.

With runners on the corners, he scored on Placido Polanco's 5-4-3 double play.

"That's the whole goal to stealing bases," Pierre said. "I never go out and say I want to steal 80 bases this year, or 70. It was always in the context of the game. That's how I try to steal bases, to score runs. To be in a better situation for the hitter.

"In the first inning, getting to third right there ... if I stay on second and maybe he hits the same ball and it's a double play. I'm right there at third, and we don't score a run."

Redmond formerly was a teammate of Pierre in 2003-04 with the Marlins, and he appreciates that the veteran swiped the bag with it meaning something at the time in the game.

"That's JP," Redmond said. "He's a team player. He's the type of guy, his 600th stolen base wasn't going to be a two-out, free steal of third base. It was going to be a big one, and it was. He got himself in scoring position. That's the kind of guy he is. He's a great teammate, and he goes out there and plays the game the right way. He's a hard worker and he deserves everything that he gets in this game."

After getting that early lead, the rest of the night was a struggle.

In each of the first four innings, the Marlins had runners in scoring position, yet they managed just one run.

"I felt like they hit some balls hard on him," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of Kendrick. "He made pitches when he had to."

The Phillies, meanwhile, countered with the long ball to claim the lead.

Brown belted a solo home run in the second inning, and Howard homered in the fourth.

Howard now has 35 homers in his career against the Marlins, and 98 RBIs.

"Long at-bat," Sanabia said of his full-count showdown with Howard. "A lot of pitches, and finally, I made a mistake, I left a pitch over the plate, and he did what he does best. He hit it out."

Sloppy defense resulted in Miami allowing two unearned runs in the fifth inning. Solano made an error at second on Jimmy Rollins' grounder, putting runners on first and third. Chase Utley followed with a sacrifice fly to right. And with two outs, Rob Brantly's passed ball brought home Rollins.

Ruggiano's home run to open the sixth inning closed Miami's gap to 4-2.

"Those guys can still hit the ball out of this ballpark," Redmond said. "[Howard] has that opposite-field power. That was a wall-scraper, but at the same time, I've seen him do that many times. Those guys, they grind you out. They give you a professional at-bat. If you don't make your pitches, they'll make you pay. They'll foul balls off to try to get their pitch. They've done that for a long time."

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