The Philadelphia Phillies were able to overcome a dismal offensive effort to continue their winning run. They may not be so fortunate to do it two nights in a row, even against the lowly Washington Nationals.
The Phillies look for a fourth straight victory while trying for some rare success against Nationals ace Tim Redding when the teams continue their three-game set at Nationals Park on Wednesday night.
After totaling 22 runs in winning the final two games of a weekend series with Atlanta, Philadelphia (57-49) won 2-1 in Monday’s series opener at Washington to remain one-half game back of the NL East-leading New York Mets.
Chase Utley hit a two-run homer and Brett Myers pitched seven strong innings for the Phillies, who didn’t advance a runner past second in any inning other than the third. The homer was Utley’s 26th of the season, but first since July 7.
“I never really felt that bad. Obviously when you don’t get results, it’s frustrating, but you have to stick with it,” Utley said.
Utley is 6-for-16 in his last four games and 5-for-11 with a homer against Redding (7-5, 3.98 ERA).
Though Redding has been bothered by Utley, he’s dominated the Phillies this season, allowing eight hits in 13 1-3 scoreless innings in two victories.
The right-hander, who is 4-2 with a 2.34 ERA in nine career starts versus Philadelphia, takes the mound after allowing seven hits in eight innings of a 1-0 loss at San Francisco on Thursday.
“Obviously, I feel bad for the young man,” Nationals manager Manny Acta said of Redding, who pitched his first complete game. “I know if he had more run support he would have a few more wins. It’s a team game and he knows we appreciate what he’s done.”
Philadelphia counters with Jamie Moyer (9-6, 3.76), who tries for a third straight winning decision. The left-hander allowed a run and two hits in seven innings, but failed to earn a decision in Philadelphia’s 3-1 road loss to the Mets on Thursday.
“Nobody ever said this was going to be easy,” Moyer told the Phillies’ official Web site.
Moyer, who’s 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA over his last three outings, is 9-4 with a 2.95 ERA in 19 starts versus the Nationals’ franchise and 3-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts since it relocated to Washington in 2005.
Willie Harris drove in the lone run Tuesday for Washington (38-68), which has lost seven in a row. The Nationals have scored three runs in their last five contests and 10 total during the skid.
“The offense - it’s been a struggle the whole season,” said Acta, whose team has lost 14 straight games decided by one or two runs and has scored a major league-low 389 runs.
Despite pinch-running and playing an inning in the field Tuesday, All-Star Cristian Guzman is likely to be out of the lineup for a fourth consecutive game due to a bruised left thumb. He leads the Nationals with a .303 average.