The Phillies look to win their third straight series Sunday afternoon when they finish a three-game set at Kansas City.
One night after Freddy Garcia lasted only 1 2-3 innings, Jon Lieber made sure to give the Phillies’ bullpen a rest Saturday, as he pitched a three-hitter for his fifth career shutout in a 4-0 victory.
Lieber struck out 11 and did not issue a walk in his first victory since May 18.
“The guys did great behind me,” Lieber said. “Rod (Barajas) called a great game. For the most part, location was a big factor. I felt like my breaking ball was much better than the last time out.”
Greg Dobbs knocked in two runs for the Phillies (32-30), winners of six of eight overall and seven of eight on the road.
Philadelphia began this six-game road trip with a three-game sweep of the NL East-leading New York Mets. Saturday’s win pulled it within five games of the top spot in the division.
A victory in this game would move the Phillies a season-best three games over .500.
Excluding Garcia’s performance, starting pitching has been a strength lately for Philadelphia. Jamie Moyer, Cole Hamels, Adam Eaton and Lieber have a combined 2.17 ERA in their last turn through the rotation.
Garcia, meanwhile, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with a right shoulder strain. A replacement for his spot in the rotation will be announced on Monday, according to Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
“I think anybody from (Triple-A) Ottawa to (Double-A) Reading who is throwing the ball pretty good has a chance,” Manuel said on the Phillies’ official Web site.
Moyer (5-4, 4.08 ERA) looks to win his fourth straight start against the Royals. Moyer beat Kansas City twice with Seattle in 2005 and again on June 2, 2006. He is 14-7 with a 3.17 ERA in 28 starts against the Royals.
The left-hander has rebounded with three straight effective starts since allowing a season-high seven runs on May 19 in a loss to Toronto. He did not receive a decision Tuesday against the Mets after giving up two runs and eight hits over seven innings.
One night after they recorded a season-high 16 hits, the Royals (23-40) were shut out for the third time in 10 games Saturday. They dropped to a major league-worst 10-22 at home with their eighth loss in nine games at Kauffman Stadium.
Mike Sweeney was held out of Saturday’s lineup to rest a sore knee. The Royals expect to have their designated hitter back on Sunday.
Jorge De La Rosa (4-6, 4.60) hopes to end his three-game losing streak when he takes the mound for Kansas City. Although he dropped his third straight start Tuesday at Cleveland, De La Rosa had one of his best outings of the season, allowing one run and five hits in 7 1-3 innings. He walked one and matched a career high with seven strikeouts.
He has struggled at home lately, giving up 19 earned runs in 13 2-3 innings over three starts.
De La Rosa has never faced the Phillies, but did pitch 6 1-3 strong innings against Colorado on May 18 in his only appearance this season against the NL.