August 23 2006

The ancient mariner himself took the hill for the Phillies for the first time last night and things went very well.  Moyer was dominant early and the bats continued to pound out the hits.  The pen held on.  The team has an odd aura about it these days.  After so long, years, really, when the Phillies were somehow less than the sum of their parts, just the opposite seems suddenly true.  All of the sudden an unlikely group of Phils are a thrill to watch and winning on the field. 

There's a whole lot of people who are going to have to be convinced the Phillies aren't over their head.  Half of their infield last night was Danny Sandoval and Abraham Nunez.  Their bench featured Chris Roberson, Chris Coste, Joe Thurston and Michael Bourn.  They closed with a guy with a 5.70 ERA.  In the outfield, their starting center fielder had a career on-base percentage of .307.  Against a lefty they started a right fielder whose career line against lefites is 208/272/315.  And they won.  And they keep on winning.  Seven of their last nine.

The Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs 6-3 last night.  The win improved their record to 63-62 on the year, they remain in second place in the NL East, 13 1/2 games behind the Mets.  Cincinnati continues to lead the Wild Card race, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phils.  Like the Phillies they've won four in a row. 

Jamie Moyer got the start for the Phillies, making his debut with the team.  He went six innings, allowing three runs on six hits and a walk while striking out four.  All six of the hits he allowed went for singles. 

Moyer took a no-hitter into the fifth inning.  He allowed a leadoff baserunner on Juan Pierre's bunt in the first on his own error, but would pick Pierre off of first and get out of the inning unscathed.  Another runner reached with one out in the second on catcher's interference, but Moyer set down Matt Murton and Henry Blanco to end the inning.  The Cubs went 1-2-3 in the third.  In the fourth they got a one-out walk from Aramis Ramirez, but Moyer struck out Phil Nevin and Jacque Jones to end the inning.

Moyer took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning and set down the leadoff man with the help of a nice defensive play from Nunez and Howard.  Matt Murton hit a ball between short and third, Nunez made a diving stop and threw low to Howard, who scooped the ball nicely for the out.  Blanco and Ronny Cedeno followed with singles, putting runners on first and second with one out and the pitcher up, who bunted, moving them to second and third with two outs.  Pierre was next and wrapped two-run single, but Moyer got Ryan Theriot to fly to Dellucci to end the inning with the Phillies still up 3-2. 

The Phillies extended their lead to 6-2 in the top of the sixth.  Moyer struck out Ramirez to start the inning, but gave up back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second again with one out.  Murton followed with a ground out to short for the second out of the inning.  The Cubs had runners on first and third with Blanco at the plate.  Blanco singled, cutting the lead to 6-3, and Moyer got Cedeno to fly to center to end the inning.

Aaron Fultz came on to pitch the seventh.  He got the first two men he faced before Theriot doubled.  With the Cubs best hitter at the plate, the righty Ramirez, Manuel went to his pen and brought in Rick White.  White didn't have to get Ramirez -- Theriot was unbelievably thrown out trying to steal third.  That is a horrible, horrible play.  It's horrible even if you don't have your best hitter and home run threat at the plate.

Fultz has pitched to an 0.93 ERA in 11 games in August but has walked seven in 9 2/3 innings. 

White returned and threw a 1-2-3 eighth. 

Ryan Madson came in to pitch the ninth in a save situation after Rhodes had gone two games in a row.  He gave up a one-out double to Henry Blanco.  Madson got pinch-hitter Freddie Bynum to fly to center for the second out but walked John Mabry, bringing Juan Pierre to the plate as the tying run in a 6-3 game.  Pierre grounded to first to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against lefty Ryan O'Malley went (1) Victorino (2) Sandoval (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Lieberthal (7) Dellucci (8) Nunez.  Utley rests caused he's banged up after the collision with Rowand last night.  Rollins drops down to third in the order.  The on-base percentages for the top two hitters in the Phillies lineup last night are .333 and .290.  Dellucci plays despite the lefty and hits seventh -- I would guess that even with the injury to Rowand, Manuel will be giving Roberson some starts against lefties instead of Dellucci.  

The Phillies loaded the bases with one out in the first on a walk by Victorino, a single by Sandoval, a fly out from Rollins and a hit by pitch from Howard.  Burrell followed and hit a ball hard to third.  Ramirez bobbled and could only get one, with Victorino scoring from third to put the Phils up 1-0.  Lieberthal popped out to end the inning.

After going 1-2-3 in the second, the Phillies got a leadoff single from Victorino in the third.  Victorino was picked off, which was unfortunate cause Sandoval followed with a single and Rollins tripled, driving him in to put the Phillies up 2-0.  The pickoff cost the Phillies a run.  Howard followed and grounded to first, bringing in Rollins to make it 3-0 before Burrell struck out to end the inning.

The Phillies got a two-out single from Nunez in the fourth but Moyer struck out to end the inning. 

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the fifth and went to the sixth with a 3-2 lead.  Ryan Howard led off the frame with a single and scored on a double by Burrell, with Burrell going to third with nobody out on Theriot's throwing error.  Lieberthal hit a ball hard but right at third base for the first out, but Dellucci drove Burrell in with a double and the Phillies led 5-2.  Nunez followed with a single that sent Dellucci to third, making it first and third with one out.  Moyer struck out for the second out of the inning.  Victorino was next and he singled, bringing in Dellucci to make the score 6-2 with two outs and runners on first and second.  Sandoval walked to load the bases but Rollins fouled out to Blanco to end the inning.

In the seventh, Lieberthal reached on a two-out error by Cedeno, but Dellucci struck out to end the inning.  The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth.

Victorino was 2-for-4 with a walk.  

Sandoval was also 2-for-4 with a walk after coming into the game 1-for-his-last-15. 

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a triple and left five men on base.  He's slugging .653 in his last 95 at-bats.

Howard was 1-for-4 with a single and an RBI. 

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a double and two RBI.  He has one home run in his last 68 at-bats.

Lieberthal was 0-for-4.  Nunez was 2-for-4. 

Brett Myers faces righty Angel Guzman, not Carlos Mamol, tonight.  Marmol went on the DL on Monday with right shoulder fatigue.  Apparently his shoulder was tired of walking people.  Guzman has appeared in eight games for the Cubs, getting five starts and throwing to an overall ERA of 6.68.  He's allowed 35 hits and 23 walks in 31 innings but struck out 33.

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