Kevin Millwood allowed only one hit in his last start. That was not good enough to get a win, but it did give the 28-year-old right-hander a new sense of confidence.
On Friday, Millwood allowed just one run and one hit in seven innings. He did not get the decision in the Phillies’ 2-1 loss to the Florida Marlins, but was still encouraged by the performance.
“I feel like I’m getting out of the funk I was in,” said Millwood, who was 2-5 in his previous seven starts. “I felt I located the ball much better.”
Millwood struck out seven and walked two. The one hit off him was his low since pitching a no-hitter against San Francisco on April 27.
The Phillies will now look for Millwood to get them started on a winning streak.
“We needed a game like that,” said Phillies manager Larry Bowa, whose team had won 13 of 16 before dropping four straight. “We’ve been struggling a bit.”
Lieberthal echoed Bowa’s sentiments, noting how poorly the Phillies had hit in recent games.
“It’s nice to get some guys with more than one hit or a couple of hits, confidence-wise, because we’ve been struggling lately trying to get runs up on the board,” Lieberthal said.
The Expos, who won Monday’s series opener 8-1, have lost four of five. They now trail the second-place Phillies by 1 1/2 games in the National League East.
“We got beat up tonight,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said Tuesday. “There’s not much else you can say, really.”
STANDINGS: Phillies - 2nd place, 8 1/2 GB, NL East. Expos - 3rd place, 10 GB, NL East.
PHILLIES PROBABLE STARTER: Millwood (9-6, 3.87 ERA). In 16 career games against the Expos, Millwood is 9-5 with a 3.71 ERA.
EXPOS PROBABLE STARTER: Tomo Ohka (7-8, 4.70 ERA). Ohka had won three straight starts before struggling against the Atlanta Braves on Friday. Through 5 1-3 innings of an 8-6 loss, he gave up six runs and 10 hits. The 27-year-old right-hander has pitched extremely well in six career games against the Phillies, going 4-1 with a 1.58 ERA.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Phillies - Lieberthal, .326 avg.; Jim Thome, 22 HRs, 63 RBIs and 58 runs; Polanco, Bobby Abreu and Jimmy Rollins, 9 SBs. Expos - Jose Vidro, .328 avg.; Orlando Cabrera, 13 HRs, 50 RBIs and 59 runs; Endy Chavez, 15 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 5-3.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Phillies - C Lieberthal is 1-for-15 (.067) in his career against RHP Ohka. … CF Marlon Byrd, batting leadoff for the first time in his career, went 3-for-5 with four runs and three RBIs Tuesday. … 2B Polanco is batting .524 (11-for-21) during a five-game hitting streak. Expos - 2B Vidro is batting .341 (15-for-44) in his career against RHP Millwood. … CF Chavez was a late scratch on Tuesday because of tendinitis in his left elbow. … SS Cabrera leads all NL shortstops with 13 home runs. He needs one more to tie his career high set in 2001.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Phillies - 22-19 on the road; Expos - 27-15 at home.
INJURIES: Phillies - IF Tyler Houston (finger), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL. Expos - IF Fernando Tatis (chest), 15-day DL; OF Vladimir Guerrero (back), 15-day DL; RHP Tony Armas Jr. (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Luis Ayala (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Zach Day (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Orlando Hernandez (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Dan Smith (shoulder), 15-day DL.