for this game

Myers sharp, Utley homers as Phils edge Nats

Jul 30, 2008 - 4:25 AM By Tim Hipps PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Brett Myers provided the Philadelphia Phillies with a sigh of relief by pitching into the eighth inning of a 2-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Tuesday.

Chase Utley hit a two-run homer and the Phillies won for only the second time in Myers' last 14 starts while handing the Nationals their seventh consecutive loss.

Myers (4-9) allowed a run and four hits over seven-plus innings. He struck out two, walked one and left after the first two batters in the eighth got on base, the second on a fielding error by Utley on a potential double-play ground ball to the second baseman.

Myers threw 88 pitches, including 63 for strikes.

"A lot of times he gets caught up in trying to strike people out," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Tonight, he didn't do that, he was a pitcher. He lived on both sides of the plate."

The Phillies went 3-2 during Myers' first five starts but are just 2-12 over his last 14. He was sent to Class AAA Lehigh Valley on July 1 and made appearances at three minor-league levels - with one start at Class AA Reading and another at Class A Clearwater - before rejoining the Phillies on July 20.

Myers allowed three runs on three hits, walked five and struck out two while earning a no-decision in a 6-3 loss to the New York Mets on July 23, his first start back with Philadelphia.

"My confidence was high coming back anyway," Myers said. "I felt if I would have kept the ball down against the Mets in that first inning I might have had the same result as I did today, but unfortunately I didn't do it - so I knew I had to make an adjustment and I did that tonight.

"If they lose faith in me, I'd probably lose faith in myself. But they've had faith in me all along and I knew I could do it. Tonight was fun for me."

Utley's blast to right with Jimmy Rollins aboard gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the third inning. Utley's 26th homer of the season and first since July 7 came off a 1-0 pitch from righthander Collin Balester (1-3).

"Anytime you get results, you feel pretty good," Utley said. "I thought Brett pitched outstanding. He was throwing strikes early in the count and getting ahead of guys. Then he mixed in some soft stuff, so it's good to see that.

"He has the capability of making it tough on the opposing hitters, and tonight he proved that."

Manuel said he expects such performances from Myers.

"When the season started, some people thought that Myers was going to win about 15 games, but I had about 20 in mind, to tell the truth," Manuel said. "That's what I had in mind, so tonight's game was big. I like the way he pitched.

"When he has his good stuff, especially his fastball and his hook, he can get strikeouts and be kind of overpowering at times. But at the same time, when he learns to be a pitcher, on the nights when he doesn't have his real good fastball - and tonight was a good example - that's when he can become a real good pitcher because he can win without having his best stuff, if that makes sense."

When Manuel went to the mound to pull his righthander, Myers playfully got nonsensical with him.

"I was kind of being irritated but having a good time with him at the same time to watch his reaction," Myers said with a grin. "I kind of yelled at him for a minute but it was funny because it looked like he was speechless after I did that. I think it kind of ticked him off but it was funny for me.

"Now he knows I was kidding with him, but I didn't want to come out of the game. I felt like I could have got out of the inning, but he's the manager and he knows I think a little bit more than I do about baseball, so he made the right decision."

Balester allowed two runs on six hits in six innings of work. He threw 92 pitches, struck out five and walked none.

"He looked outstanding to me out there," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He threw every one of his pitches for strikes. And that changup just continues to be a good pitch for him. They load up that lineup with lefties for him and he just pitched a tremendous game."

"This is the first night of all the four starts that everything was kind of just rolling," Balester said. "I kind of got on a roll. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can this year so I can, maybe by the end of this year, start to be really good instead of just going out there and not knowing what you're going to get.

"I want to be the guy that's like: 'OK, he's going to go out there and give us six strong innings.' I want to be to that point by the end of this year, and next year I'll have all the confidence going into Spring Training."

The Nationals scored one run in the eighth. Paul Lo Duca led off with a single up the middle and Felipe Lopez reached on a fielding error by Utley that chased Myers. Pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans followed with a sacrifice bunt off J.C. Romero.

Willie Harris then grounded out to third, scoring Cristian Guzman, who was running for Lo Duca. Phillies righthander Chad Durbin entered and got Ronnie Belliard to ground out to second to end the threat.

"It's tough," said Nationals center fielder Lastings Milledge, who went 1-for-3 at the plate. "He knows that we're trying to get him that win. We try our best, man. You know, we've just been coming up short. We just haven't been putting together a string of hits.

"We haven't been getting those big innings, those rallies. You know, it's tough man. It's real tough."

Pat Burrell had two singles for Philadelphia and Utley also had a single to go with his homer.

Brad Lidge worked a perfect ninth for his 25th save.








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

    BATTERIES: PHI - BRETT MYERS, J.C. ROMERO (8TH), CHAD DURBIN (8TH), BRAD LIDGE
    (9TH) AND CHRIS COSTE, CARLOS RUIZ (9TH)
    WAS - COLLIN BALESTER, GARRETT MOCK (7TH), CHARLIE
    MAN

    Jul 29 9:39 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    GROUND OUT BY WILLIE HARRIS SCORED CRISTIAN GUZMAN.
    SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, F LOPEZ ON THIRD, 2 OUT
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2
    WASHINGTON 1 BOTTOM, 8TH
    DUE UP FOR WASHINGTON: R BELLIARD (.225, 0-FOR-2, HBP)

    Phillies 2, Nationals 1  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 29 9:15 PM
  • 35
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 35 roots (Close Finish)

    Phillies 2, Nationals 1  Bot 8, 0 OutsJul 29 9:15 PM


  • NL
    AT WASHINGTON - SCORING UPDATE
    TWO-RUN HOME RUN BY CHASE UTLEY (26) TO RIGHT WITH 2 OUT IN
    THE 3RD OFF COLLIN BALESTER SCORED JIMMY ROLLINS.
    CURRENT SCORE: PHILADELPHIA 2, WASHINGTON 0
    DUE UP FOR PHILADELPHIA: R HOWARD (.236, 0-FOR-1)

    Phillies 2, Nationals 0  Top 3, 0 OutsJul 29 7:41 PM