for this game

Chico, poor fundamentals do in Phillies

Sep 30, 2007 - 2:41 AM By Vince DiGregorio PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Although the calendar read September 29, the Philadelphia Phillies reverted to their bad baseball from April.

Matt Chico pitched six-plus effective innings and the Washington Nationals took advantage of errors, bad baserunning and ineffective starting pitching by Philadelphia to post a 4-2 win over the Phillies on Saturday.

Philadelphia's loss, coupled with New York's 13-0 rout of the Florida Marlins, dropped the Phillies (88-73) back into a first-place tie with the Mets (88-73) in the National League East Division, with one game remaining for each team.

"This is great for the game of baseball," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "We put it in their hands now. It's up to the Phillies and the Mets to decide their own future.

"The Phillies have got to beat us (Sunday) and the Mets have got to beat the Marlins and they play their extra game, whatever, so we feel good about that."

The Phillies entered the game having received three straight quality starts after skipping over Adam Eaton, who was pushed back to Saturday.

Eaton's last outing was a win at Washington eight days ago, but he lasted only five innings with five walks in that one, which represented his only victory in his last nine starts.

"I think (Eaton's) problem is mainly mental, and maybe physical, too," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He needs to get straightened out and throw the ball like we think he can."

The atmosphere of the crowd at the start was not as electric as the last few games. While the fans were aware of New York's win, they were more subdued knowing the recent ineffectiveness of Eaton.

Meanwhile, Chico (7-9) allowed only one run and four hits with three walks and four strikeouts in helping Washington resume its spoiler role.

"I think Matt Chico was outstanding," Acta said. "What a performance by a kid that was pitching in Double-A last year. He's pitching in a playoff-atmosphere type of game, game of the week on TV, on the road against that offense. Just a tremendous performance."

Saul Rivera and Jon Rauch bridged the gap to closer Chad Cordero, who pitched a perfect ninth for his 37th save.

The Nationals already were leading, 2-0, in the seventh when they doubled their advantage. First baseman Ryan Howard booted Dmitri Young's grounder, allowing Felipe Lopez to score for a three-run bulge.

"It had all kinds of crazy spin on it," Howard said of the grounder. "I tried to get it, felt it go in (my glove) and it just spun right out. I thought I had it. Maybe I rushed it a little bit trying to see what Lopez was doing. It's one of those little freak things."

Following a flyout, Ryan Zimmerman trotted home on a throwing error by catcher Carlos Ruiz giving Washington a 4-0 advantage. Ruiz sailed the ball into center field while attempting to throw out pinch runner Justin Maxwell after a wild pitch by J.C. Romero. Romero then struck out Ryan Church to end the nightmarish inning.

For Philadelphia fans, the sequence of events brought back memories of the beginning of the season, when the Phillies won just four of their first 15 games.

"Why not (win Sunday)?" Philadelphia shortstop Jimmy Rollins asked. "It would be fitting, especially after the way our season has (gone), having to wait and wait. Nothing's been easy all year long, so we didn't expect it to be easy at the end."

Aaron Rowand led off Philadelphia's half of the seventh by hitting a 1-0 pitch from Chico into the left field seats for his 27th home run, getting the club on the scoreboard.

Prior to Rowand's homer, Chico had retired 10 of 12 batters since Rollins' leadoff single in the third. Rollins was picked off first later in the frame.

Chico was replaced by Rivera, who got one out before giving up a walk and a single. Rauch came on and retired the next two batters to end the threat.

Howard belted his 46th homer in the eighth to pull Philadelphia within 4-2.

Washington opened the scoring in the first inning against Eaton. Ronnie Belliard grounded a one-out single and scored all the way from first on Zimmerman's double down the left field line to make it 1-0.

Eaton (10-10) got himself in trouble with two outs in the second, when he walked Brian Schneider and gave up singles by Chico and Lopez that loaded the bases. The righthander fell behind 2-0 to Belliard before getting him to foul out, ending the inning.

The Phillies threatened in the second after Jayson Werth doubled with one out and went to third on a flyout. Chico walked Ruiz on four pitches but struck out Eaton swinging to end the frame.

Eaton was on a short leash to begin with, and Manuel wasted no time removing him after a leadoff walk and a one-out single in the third.

"When Adam went out there, we were watching him because he has a history - especially in the second half of a season - of giving up runs early," Manuel said. "We definitely didn't want the game to get away from us. He got out of jams, but he was in trouble. I felt like that's when I wanted to (remove) him."

As Eaton exited to a chorus of boos, he was fortunate that left fielder Pat Burrell made a diving catch for that one out. Geoff Geary came in and extinguished the threat by getting Church to ground into an inning-ending double play.

"I didn't know I had that little margin for error until Charlie came walking out there in the third inning," Eaton said. "Geoff came in and got the double play that I was looking for. I commend him on the job well done, but I felt like I could have done that same job."

Eaton lasted only 2 1/3 innings and surrendered a run and five hits with two walks and no strikeouts.

"(Being taken out) was frustrating at the time," said Eaton, as his voice began to shake. "It's still frustrating now, and I think it's gonna continue to be frustrating until I get the ball in my hand again."

Washington added another run in the fourth inning, when Lopez lifted a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.








  • NL
    FINAL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0 4 11 0
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2 6 2 (FINAL)

    BATTERIES: WAS - MATT CHICO, SAUL RIVERA (7TH), JON RAUCH (7TH), CHAD CORDERO
    (9TH) AND BRIAN SCHNEIDER
    PHI - ADAM EATON, GEOFF GEARY (3RD), JOSE MESA (4TH),
    KYLE LOHSE (5TH)

    Sep 29 7:05 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY RYAN HOWARD (46) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 2
    OUT IN THE 8TH OFF JON RAUCH.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4, PHILADELPHIA 2
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: A ROWAND (.311, 1-FOR-3, HR, RBI)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 6:42 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SOLO HOME RUN BY AARON ROWAND (27) TO LEFT WITH 0 OUT IN
    THE 7TH OFF MATT CHICO.
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: J WERTH (.300, 1-FOR-1, BB)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 6:05 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    WILD PITCH BY J.C. ROMERO ALLOWED RYAN ZIMMERMAN TO
    SCORE.
    SITUATION: 2 RUNS IN, J MAXWELL ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 4
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R CHURCH (.273, 0-FOR-3)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 6:03 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    ERROR BY RYAN HOWARD ALLOWED FELIPE LOPEZ TO SCORE.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, D YOUNG ON FIRST, R ZIMMERMAN ON SECOND, 1 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 3
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 7TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: A KEARNS (.265, 1-FOR-3)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 5:58 PM


  • NL
    AT PHILADELPHIA - SCORING UPDATE
    SACRIFICE FLY BY FELIPE LOPEZ SCORED WILY MO PENA.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, M CHICO ON FIRST, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: WASHINGTON 2
    PHILADELPHIA 0 TOP, 4TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.289, 1-FOR-2)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 5:05 PM


  • NL
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
    - - - - - - - - - - - -
    WASHINGTON 1 1 2 0
    PHILADELPHIA 0 0 0 (BOT 1)

    CURRENT PITCHERS: WAS - MATT CHICO
    PHI - ADAM EATON

    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: J ROLLINS (.295, 30 HR, 93 RBI)
    C UTLEY (.333, 22 HR, 102 RBI)
    P BURRELL (.260, 30 HR, 97 RBI)

    Nationals vs. PhilliesSep 29 4:02 PM
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    jemurray Added 5 roots

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