The Philadelphia Phillies spent the first three months of the season looking for the right leadoff hitter. That search is over.
Moved to the top of the lineup four weeks ago, Marlon Byrd has filled the role admirably. The Phillies will look for him to get things started when they meet the San Diego Padres in a doubleheader at Veterans Stadium.
Since Philadelphia manager Larry Bowa moved Byrd up from the No. 8 spot, the rookie center fielder is hitting .373 (37-for-99).
“My whole goal is to get on base and score runs,” Byrd said. “I’m swinging the bat well.”
In Friday’s series opener, Byrd had his third four-hit game of the season, going 4-for-5 in a 6-0 Phillies win. He also extended his career-high hitting streak to 13 games, during which he is batting .368 (21-for-57).
With the victory, they increased their lead to 2 1/2 games over the Florida Marlins in the NL wild-card race.
The Padres, who came to Philadelphia after taking two of three from the Pittsburgh Pirates, fell to 3-4 on their current 10-game road trip. San Diego has been shut out five times this season.
STANDINGS: Padres - 5th place, 26 1/2 GB, NL West. Phillies - 2nd place, 10 1/2 GB, NL East.
PADRES GAME 1 PROBABLE STARTER: Jake Peavy (8-8, 4.67 ERA). Peavy has been dreadful over his past four starts, going 0-3 with an 8.86 ERA. He gave up six runs—five earned—and eight hits over six innings in a 6-2 loss to the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. The 22-year-old right-hander earned the win in his only previous start against the Phillies, allowing two earned runs in 6 2-3 innings.
PHILLIES GAME 1 PROBABLE STARTER: Randy Wolf (11-5, 3.24 ERA). Wolf was not at his best on Monday, but escaped without a decision in the Phillies’ 6-5 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. He allowed five runs and 10 hits over seven innings. The All-Star lefty had allowed no more than two earned runs in his previous three starts. In six career games against the Padres, Wolf is 4-1 with a 5.59 ERA.
PADRES GAME 2 PROBABLE STARTER: Joe Roa (1-2, 5.14 ERA). Roa, who was released by the Phillies in May, is with his fourth team this season after stints with the Milwaukee Brewers and Colorado Rockies. He has pitched two scoreless innings of relief since joining the Padres on July 25. The 32-year-old right-hander is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA in three career appearances against the Phillies.
PHILLIES GAME 2 PROBABLE STARTER: Carlos Silva (3-1, 4.60 ERA). Silva, who has made 44 relief appearances this season, will be making the first start of his major league career. The 24-year-old right-hander is 1-0 and has not allowed a run in five career appearances against the Padres.
OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Padres - Mark Loretta, .317 avg. and 46 runs; Ryan Klesko, 20 HRs and 59 RBIs; Ramon Vazquez, 9 SBs. Phillies - Mike Lieberthal, .318 avg.; Thome, 27 HRs, 82 RBIs and 71 runs; Jimmy Rollins, 14 SBs.
SEASON SERIES: Phillies, 3-1.
STREAKS AND NOTES: Padres - RF Phil Nevin is batting .259 (7-for-27) in eight games since being activated from the disabled list. … CF Mark Kotsay is 6-for-14 (.429) in his career against LHP Wolf. … RHP Rod Beck has not allowed a run in his last 8 2-3 innings, spanning nine games. Phillies - Philadelphia has 10 shutouts this season, tying the Los Angeles Dodgers for the NL lead. … LF Pat Burrell, who is batting .198, has been out of the starting lineup in two of the past three games. … 1B Thome returned to the lineup on Friday after sitting out one game with a strained groin.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Padres - 20-36 on the road; Phillies - 33-23 at home.
INJURIES: Padres - INF Keith Lockhart (back), 15-day DL; OF Jason Bay (wrist), 15-day DL; RHP Trevor Hoffman (shoulder), 60-day DL. Phillies - 3B David Bell (back), 15-day DL; RHP David Coggin (shoulder), 15-day DL.