The first six-and-a-half innings of tonight's game featured a pitcher's duel for the ages (well, old ages) between Greg Maddux and Jamie Moyer. The offenses hardly threatened against the starters and headed into the bottom of the seventh tied 0-0, but Maddux would make one mistake. Maddux left a fat pitch over the plate and Pat Burrell capitalized, launching a solo home run out of Petco Park that gave the Phillies a 1-0 lead.
All that remained for the Phillies was getting through the eighth inning, a feat that has been easier said than done in the last few games. The Phillies (well, namely Chad Durbin) blew two leads against the Dodgers before they could get the ball into the hands of still-perfect closer Brad Lidge.
Not surprisingly, Charlie Manuel went to Ryan Madson tonight, in lieu of Durbin, to try to get the ball to Lidge. Madson retired the first two batters but then gave up a single to Scott Hairston. Manuel then turned to J.C. Romero to handle left-handed Brian Giles. Giles hit the ball hard off Romero, but to no effect, as he grounded it right into the glove of Ryan Howard, who quickly stepped on first for the final out.
With Lidge coming in to pitch the ninth, the game might have seemed to be over for all intents and purposes, but Lidge had not pitched since a week ago, when he struggled to get one out in a game against the Pirates. If he was at all rusty, he hid it well. Lidge got Kevin Kouzmanoff to line out to center, then struck out Adrian Gonzalez and Chase Headley to finish off a 1-0 win and snap a four game losing streak.
The Phillies offense was once again, strangely absent, but Moyer, in the midst of his best season since 2003 (when he was a spry 40 year-old) delivered another outstanding start, earning his team-high eleventh win. Madson's performance was also encouraging, as Durbin clearly needed a break.
This is a crucial series for the Phillies, who badly need to get back on track after being swept in a four game series and falling a game out of first place in the process. Tonight's win allowed the Phillies to keep pace with the Mets and perhaps they can gain some ground while facing the lowly Padres. The pitching match-ups in the next two games are in their favor. Let's see if the Phillies can come through.