Phillies veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer pitched 7 fine innings, centerfielder Michael Bourn picked up the slack for regular centerfielder Aaron Rowand and injured 2nd baseman Chase Utley with a 4 for 4 game and leftfielder Pat Burrell went 2 for 3 with a 2 run homer and 3 RBIs as the Phillies battered the Pittsburgh Pirates by an 8-1 score in Friday’s rain-shortened opener of their 3 game series.
By winning, the Phillies picked up 1/2 game on the NL East leading Mets who lost to the Washington Nationals by a 6-2 score at Shea Stadium on Friday and defeated the Nationals 3-1 on Saturday in the first of a day/night doubleheader. The Phillies also tied the Atlanta Braves for 2nd place as the Braves lost to Arizona by 8-7 in 11 innings. The Phils actually took over 2nd place by 1/10 of a point over the Braves.
The Phillies opened with 2 runs in the 1st inning as Bourn opened with a single to centerfield and rightfielder Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston picks up on the Phillies’ scoring from here and comments on how they picked up the slack in Utley’s absence for Yahoo sports;
The Phillies touched starter John Van Benschoten (0-5) for two runs in the first inning. Van Benschoten loaded the bases with no out, then struck out Howard and Burrell. [Greg] Dobbs, though, followed with a two-run single to right.
Pittsburgh has allowed eight first-inning runs in the last four games.
“We were fortunate to be out of the first inning trailing by only two,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.
Van Benschoten skipped his last scheduled start to work on his mechanics and the Pirates surely wish they skipped him again. He’s now gone three straight starts without pitching out of the third inning, and allowed seven runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings in this one.
Burrell hit a two-run homer to left, his 13th, for a 4-0 lead. Carlos Ruiz had an RBI double and Moyer’s run-scoring single, his first RBI this season, made it 6-0 and chased Van Benschoten.
“We have a key person get hurt and that’s a big loss for us,” Bourn said. “We’ve got to patch it together and move on.”
Because of Bourn, Utley’s absence was hardly noticed against the NL-worst Pirates in a game that was called after a 61-minute delay following the seventh inning.
In the meantime, Moyer made short work of the Pirates through 4 innings before catcher Ronny Paulino drove in Pittsburgh’s lone run with a single to rightfield in the 5th inning.
Pittsburgh threatened in the 7th inning getting 2 one out singles. But then, Moyer got pinch hitter Ryan Doumit to ground into double play, shortstop to second to first. The Phils were retired in the 7th and then the rains came, ergo the stoppage of play.
Abraham Nunez, subbing at 2nd base for Utley, went 0 for 4, but relief may be in sight for the Phillies as they try to move forward during the duration of Utley’s absence.
AP’s Gelston also reports on why Aaron Rowand was missing from the lineup on Friday;
Rowand… injured his left shoulder playing tag with neighborhood kids after Thursday’s game, and was day to day.
With an ice pack on his shoulder, Rowand said after the game he was already feeling better.
On Friday, the Phils made a trade with the Chicago White Sox, getting Tadahito Iguchi, a 2nd baseman with some pop with the stick, in exchange for minor league righthander Michael Dubee, son of Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee.
In other moves, pitcher Brett Myers was reactivated and was available if needed in Friday’s game. AP’s Gelston reports;
Hopefully, reliever Jose Mesa will be the next to get axed.
In a different report, on the status of Chase Utley’s broken hand, AP’s Gelston reports;
The All-Star second baseman could be back in only three weeks, encouraging news for a team that sorely needs one of their top run producers as it chases New York in the NL East race.
Utley had a pin inserted into his hand to stabilize a broken right ring finger during surgery Friday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was struck by a pitch from Washington’s John Lannan in the fifth inning of the pitcher’s major league debut on Thursday.
The Phillies originally thought Utley could be sidelined much longer — perhaps four-to-six weeks — but team doctor Michael Ciccotti said the gritty star might return as early as “three or four weeks.”
For the scores, boxscores on all of Friday’s games, click here.