Los Angeles (22-16) at Philadelphia (21-17)

Cloudy Currently: Philadelphia, PA
Temp: 71° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Thu May 20, 2004
  • TV: FSN2, CSN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Missing two of their best players didn’t stop the Philadelphia Phillies from finally taking over the top spot in the National League East.

With Jim Thome and Billy Wagner out with injuries, the Phillies look to complete a three-game sweep of the slumping Los Angeles Dodgers as the teams conclude their series.

Thome sat out Wednesday’s 9-4 win over the Dodgers with sprained ligaments in his right index finger and hopes to return Friday night.

“He’s been playing with lot of pain since spring training,” manager Larry Bowa said. “The doctor told him take two days off now. That’s the only way it’s going to get better. We just have to suck it up right now. Four games, five games, whatever it is.”

The slugging first baseman missed three weeks in spring training after he broke the middle finger on his right hand, sat out one game earlier this month after receiving a cortisone shot on his left thumb and left a game early last week after aggravating the injury.

“I just want to get it over with,” Thome said. “I don’t like missing games, but I’d rather get it over with.”

Wagner, the Phillies’ closer, is on the 15-day disabled list with an injured groin and could return next Tuesday.

Even without their two stars, the Phillies managed to move past Florida for sole possession of first place in the NL East on Wednesday. Pat Burrell hit a two-run homer and Marlon Byrd had three RBIs for Philadelphia, which has won nine of its last 12.

“It’s nice to be on top. We deserve it,” Burrell said.

The Phillies have rebounded nicely since starting the season 1-6. They are 16-8 since being swept by the Marlins from April 20-22.

“Our goal was to try and win each series,” Bowa said.

Cesar Izturis homered for the Dodgers, who have lost a season-high six in a row.

“We’re in a little rut right now,” manager Jim Tracy said. “We just have to keep playing hard and get ourselves out of it.”

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