On June 16, 1986, Jamie Moyer made his major league debut for the Chicago Cubs. Pitching against the Phillies and Steve Carlton, Moyer was hit hard but got the win. He allowed five runs over 6 1/3, taking a 7-2 lead into the seventh before the Phils scored three times in the inning to make the game close. James Parr was four months old.
Twenty-two years later Moyer is still on the mound and Parr has learned to walk. They pitched against each other last night. Neither of them pitched well, but Moyer had an advantage that Parr didn’t: All of the sudden his team refuses to lose.
The Phils went into the seventh in Atlanta down 7-4 and cut the lead to 7-6 with a pair of runs. In the eighth a two-run blast by Howard put them on top to stay.
Not without some drama, though. After Madson cruised through the bottom of the eighth, Lidge took the mound in the bottom of the ninth clinging to a one-run lead. If Lidge doesn’t get another out this season he’s already done more than enough for the Phils, but he brought to this game a look in his eye that we haven’t seen a whole lot of this season. I’m pretty sure it was holy-crap-how-am-I-gonna-get-anybody-out-with-this-slop. Lidge tried throwing a whole bunch of sliders out of the strike zone for a while and it didn’t work real well. He walked the bases loaded before striking out Gregor Blanco to end the game.
Despite the fantastic outcome for the Phils, it’s hard to ignore Burrell’s night. 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. Seemed worse than that somehow, though. It was a little tough not to notice with Burrell hitting fifth and Werth and Howard in the three and four spots combining to go 7-for-9 with a walk, a triple, two home runs and five RBI.
The Phillies beat the Atlanta Braves last night, winning 8-7 to improve to 84-67 on the season. Seventeen games above .500 is the best mark of the season for the Phils. They have won five in a row. They lead the NL East by a half game.
Moyer got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and four walks. All of the hits were singles and he struck out six.
Moyer walked Chipper Jones with two outs in the first, but Brian McCann grounded out to Rollins on the right side of second base with the big shift to end the inning.
Omar Infante started the second with a single. Casey Kotchman was next and grounded to second with Infante forced at second for the first out. Jeff Francoeur flew to center for the second out before Moyer got Brent Lillibridge swinging for the third out.
He started the third up 3-0. He struck out the pitcher Parr to start the inning, but hit Josh Anderson. With Martin Prado at the plate, Anderson took off for second on a pitch in the dirt. Ruiz threw to second and they may have had Anderson, but Rollins dropped the ball. Moyer walked Prado and Chipper singled into left, loading the bases. McCann was next and he singled into center and everyone moved up a base. Anderson scored to cut the lead to 3-1. Moyer struck out Infante for the second out. With the bases still loaded, Kotchman laced the first pitch of his at-bat into center for a single. Prado and Jones both scored, with Chipper sliding in just safe ahead of the tag from Ruiz, to tie the game at 3-3. Francoeur flew to right to leave the runners stranded at first and third.
Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fourth with the Phils up 4-3.
With two outs in the fifth, McCann bunted for a single against the big shift. Moyer struck out Infante again to end the inning.
Francoeur singled with one out in the sixth. Moyer then walked Lillibridge and pinch-hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch-hitting for the pitcher Buddy Carlyle. Anderson was next and got ahead 3-1 and hit a ball hard to first, but Howard took it and went to first for the second out as Francoeur scored to tie the game at 4-4. Nice play by Howard. Durbin came in to pitch to Prado and lefty Kelly Johnson hit for Prado with two outs and men on second and third. Johnson hit an 0-1 pitch back through the middle just out of the reach of Rollins for a two-run single. 6-4. Johnson went to second as the throw came home, but it hit the mound and there was no play at the plate. Durbin walked Chipper intentionally. Eyre came in to pitch to the lefty McCann and McCann singled into center. Johnson scored without a throw to make it 7-4. Infante grounded to short for the third out.
Miserable inning for all three Phillies pitchers. Moyer lost his control and Durbin and Eyre both gave up big hits. The Braves scored four runs in the frame without an extra-base hit (they didn’t have one in the game).
Madson threw a 1-2-3 seventh. He came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth with the Phillies down 7-6.
Lidge entered in the ninth to protect an 8-7 lead and walked Chipper on four pitches to start the inning. McCann was next and popped a 3-2 pitch up to Utley for the first out. With Jones on the move, Infante smashed a ball to third but right at Feliz. Feliz threw to first for the second out with Jones going to second. Kotchman walked on five pitches to put men on first and second. Francoeur was next and worked the count full, then fouled off four pitches in a row before drawing a walk that loaded the bases and brought up Gregor Blanco. Lidge quickly got ahead of Blanco 0-2 before delivering a pitch in the dirt. Blanco tried to hold up and the third base ump ruled he checked his swing (looked like he went around to me). Lidge delivered another ball to make it 2-2 before Blanco went down swinging to end the game.
Lidge labored badly, needing 33 pitches to get through the inning. He seemed to use his slider almost exclusively at the start of the inning. He tried to throw fastballs past Francoeur and just couldn’t do it as Francoeur fouled off four straight before drawing the walk. McCann just missed the pitch he popped up to Utley and Infante smashed the ball to third but right at Feliz.
Great to see him get through the inning and it’s a big win for the Phils. But there’s a lot of reason for concern when it comes to the pen. Durbin and Eyre were both ineffective again. Madson pitched great, giving the Phils a 1-2-3 seventh down three runs and a 1-2-3 eighth up by one. Madson hasn’t been charged with a run over his last eight appearances.
Overall the pen went 3 1/3 innings and was charged with a run on two hits and four walks. Durbin allowed a two-run single to Johnson in the sixth and the runs were charged to Moyer. Lidge threw 33 pitches, Madson 22, Durbin and Eyre six each. Phils should try to let someone besides Lidge close tonight.
Romero didn’t appear in the game. Manuel may have thought the sixth was too early to bring him in to pitch to McCann. Romero has pitched just two innings in September — I’d be surprised if the reason for that is that he’s feeling fine and Manuel doesn’t want to use him.
The Phillies’ lineup against righty James Parr went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Werth (4) Howard (5) Burrell (6) Victorino (7) Feliz (8) Ruiz. Werth drops to third in the lineup with Utley up to second. Feliz at third with Dobbs on the bench. Ruiz catches.
Rollins led off the first with a single, but the Phillies went in order behind him.
Victorino singled to right with one out in the second, but Feliz and Ruiz both flew out behind him.
Rollins and Utley doubled back-to-back with one out in the third. Rollins scored to put the Phils up 1-0. Werth was next and hit a 3-2 pitch out to left, scoring Utley to put the Phils up 3-0. Howard followed with a single before Burrell struck out for the second out. Victorino followed with a double to right, but Howard was thrown out at the plate (by a lot) to end the frame.
Ruiz hit a 2-1 pitch out to left with one out in the fourth, putting the Phillies up 4-3. Moyer and Rollins went down behind him.
Werth and Howard singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Burrell, who struck out for his third time in three at-bats. Victorino grounded to first for the third out.
Ruiz walked with one out in the sixth and Moyer bunted him to second. Rollins struck out swinging to leave him stranded with the Phils up 4-3.
The Phils started the seventh down 7-4. Werth singled with one out and scored when Howard followed and drove a ball to left that Infante played badly, turning it into a triple. 7-5. Burrell struck out again for the second out, but Victorino picked him up with a single into right. Howard scored and it was 7-6. Feliz followed with a ground ball to short. Lillibridge fielded but mis-flipped to second and everyone was safe. Dobbs hit for Ruiz with righty Jeff Bennett on the mound and walked to load the bases. Stairs hit for Eyre and ripped a ball down the left field line but just foul before he grounded to first to end the frame.
Awful, awful game for the struggling Burrell. But that was the worst of it, striking out with a man on third in the seventh with one out. Huge hit for Victorino. Howard overshadowed himself with the home run in the eighth, but the RBI-triple in the seventh and the defensive play he made on Anderson in the sixth were also both critical in the game.
Still down a run, Werth walked with two outs in the eighth. Lefty Mike Gonzalez came in to pitch to Howard and Howard hit a 3-2 pitch out to left to put the Phils up 8-7. Burrell struck out for the third out.
Feliz walked with one out in the ninth. Coste struck out for the second out before Jenkins hit for Madson and struck out to leave Feliz stranded.
Rollins 2-for-5 with a double.
Utley 1-for-5 with a double and an RBI. He’s hitting 255/328/353 in September.
Werth had a huge game that nobody will remember cause of Howard and Lidge. 3-for-4 with a walk and a two-run homer.
Howard 4-for-5 with a triple, his 45th home run and three RBI. Two big hits late in the game and a nice play at first in the sixth.
Burrell 0-for-5 and struck out five times. Slumping terribly, but had shown some signs of breaking out of it against the Brewers.
Victorino 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Picked up Burrell with a huge hit in the seventh.
Feliz 0-for-4. 2-for-his-last-13. After slugging .290 in August, Feliz is slugging .290 in September. He has two extra-base hits since July 19 (75 at-bats).
Ruiz 1-for-2 with his fourth home run of the year and a walk.
JA Happ (0-0, 5.71) faces righty Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62) tonight. Jurrjens has thrown to a 4.68 ERA with a 1.47 ratio in his 11 starts since the All-Star break. He has allowed just 11 home runs in 176 1/3 innings on the season. Feliz is 3-for-3 with a home run against him this season. Happ gets the nod over Kendrick for the Phils. He’ll be making his third start of the season. Among the 53 NL players who have thrown at least 140 innings this season, Kendrick’s 5.44 ERA is 51st (doesn’t count last night’s games). Since the end of July, Kendrick has made seven starts and allowed 29 earned runs in 29 innings (9.00 ERA). He hasn’t gone five innings in either of his last two starts and hasn’t gone six innings in any of his last six.