Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Phillies Edge Back to First in Washington Win

The Phillies offense finally got back to playing on all cylinders, the way it theoretically should be the vast majority of the time, tonight. If Brett Myers had finally seemed to show signs of successful comeback last night by returning as a pitcher who was now vaguely Jamie Moyer-ish and shutting down the Nationals, the combination of that extremely weak-hitting team with the genuine Jamie Moyer looked extremely promising for the Phillies.

The first inning bore this out, as Shane Victorino singled (extending his hitting streak to ten games), Chase Utley followed, Ryan Howard singled on a ball that was hard hit but luckily bobbled in the outfield, then Pat Burrell collected two RBI on his single when Utley seemed to read the ball supernaturally well on contact and ran hard from second. Everything off of Washington's Tim Redding was hit hard.

Moyer, however, made a couple of mistakes in his half of the first, allowing a double to Austin Kearns and homers to Willie Harris and young catcher Jesus Flores to give the Nationals a 3-2 lead, and subsequently both pitchers seemed to settle down for a while. It wasn't until the fifth when a rare hit by Carlos Ruiz and a walk issued to Moyer heralded another Phillie rally -- hits by Jimmy Rollins and Victorino were topped off by Chase Utley's second home run in two games (following a long dry spell of lowered production from the second baseman), putting Philadelphia ahead 7-3.

The Phillies increased their lead and Shane Victorino extended his recent offensive tear with a solo home run in the seventh, and the two RBI that Lastings Milledge and Ryan Zimmerman collected for Washington against Ryan Madson in the seventh were not enough for them. Brad Lidge collected the save on the 8-5 win.

New York lost to Florida, putting Philadelphia a half game ahead of them to top the division standings. The Phillies have a right to be satisfied that the Mets' shot at uncontested first has not lasted long. With the Mets not playing tomorrow and the Phillies taking on the weak Washington Nationals for another game, its important that they take this opportunity to shore up their lead to an entire game.

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