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Myers pitches streaking Phillies past Cubs

Sep 20, 2006 - 3:17 PM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- Brett Myers and the Philadelphia Phillies are on a roll.

Myers matched his career high with 12 strikeouts and the Phillies stayed in the thick of the National League wild card chase with a 6-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs in the rubber game of a three-game set.

Philadelphia (79-73) entered Wednesday trailing the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in the wild card standings. The Phillies, who have won seven of their last nine, have 10 games left and begin a three-game series with the Florida Marlins on Friday.

"I think we've got a good chance to win (the wild card)," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "All we've got to do is do what we did tonight."

"We're going to go after this thing pretty hard, so I think everybody feels real good right now," Myers said. "We're right in the thick of things now. The only thing we can do right now is win our ballgames and not worry about everybody else."

Myers' performance came one day after a strong seven-inning outing by Jamie Moyer in Tuesday's 4-1 win. Myers thought Moyer's slower pitch speed gave him an edge on Wednesday.

"It's an advantage for me because (Moyer) kind of lures them to sleep out there," Myers said. "I'm a fastball pitcher. He pitches with a fastball, just with a different speed."

Myers (12-6) went the distance, allowing two runs and six hits. With his first complete game since August 20, 2005 against Pittsburgh, Myers improved to 4-0 over his last six starts.

In seven career outings against the Cubs, Myers is 5-2, including a 2-0 mark this season.

"I just tried to get strike one and go from there," Myers said. "I'm just going out there and just trying to give us innings and try to keep the bullpen fresh, because we're going to need those guys down the stretch."

Myers has allowed three runs or fewer in 23 of his 29 starts this season.

"Good pitching is what it's all about," Manuel said. "The last two nights, we've had the kind of pitching for us to get in the postseason. Our staff is starting to get pretty good. If (Myers) is the ace, that's fine with me."

Scott Moore's RBI single gave Chicago a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning before the Phillies responded in the bottom of the frame. Jeff Conine and Pat Burrell were walked by Les Walrond (0-1) to start the inning and Mike Lieberthal followed with an RBI double to forge a 1-1 tie.

"I felt good for the last couple of months now," Lieberthal said. "My swing feels shorter. I feel like I can take advantage of fastballs."

Lieberthal took advantage of Walrond's wildness by working the count to 3-1 before lining the next pitch down the left field line.

"The situation came up where (the count) was 3-1 and (Walrond) was really having trouble throwing strikes," Lieberthal said. "I could've taken another pitch, but at the same time, I felt pretty confident at the plate, so I was able to swing away."

Abraham Nunez gave the Phillies a 2-1 lead with an RBI single, ending Walrond's night.

Burrell added an RBI grounder in the fifth and a home run in the seventh. Chase Utley hit his 29th homer of the season, a two-run shot, in the sixth.

Aramis Ramirez had a RBI groundout in the ninth to score Chicago's other run.

Walrond allowed two runs and three hits in three innings with five walks and six strikeouts. The Cubs have not won a game in which Walrond has appeared this season.

"The walks caught up with him tonight," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "You've got to get strike one. That's the big thing."

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