PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Don’t tell Cory Lidle that Philadelphia’s new ballpark is a hitter’s haven that’s messed with the psyche of pitchers around the league. He’ll just shrug it off, throw a few sinkers and toss a few shutout innings.
Lidle threw a three-hitter for his second straight shutout and knocked in three runs with a double, and the Phillies extended the New York Mets’ losing streak to eight with a 7-0 victory Saturday night.
“I don’t mind. The other pitchers have to pitch here,” Lidle said. “I know if my sinker’s on, I’m going to get groundballs.”
And a lot of easy outs.
Lidle (9-12) has finally provided the Phillies with the late-season boost they wanted after acquiring him from Cincinnati on Aug. 9. He pitched only 14 innings and was 0-2 with a no-decision in his first three starts for Philadelphia before tossing a four-hitter against Milwaukee last Sunday.
Still, Lidle was sharp against the Mets in his fifth complete game this season, putting him two behind Montreal’s Livan Hernandez for the NL lead. Lidle tossed his fifth career shutout and third this season.
Lidle was the first Philadelphia pitcher to toss consecutive shutouts since Curt Schilling in 1992.
Is a third on the way?
“Let’s not think about that one yet,” he said, smiling.
Lidle said his turnaround came after pitching coach Joe Kerrigan told him to scrap the cut-fastballs and slider he’d been working on and stay with what works—sinkers and first-pitch strikes.
“I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to get done,” Lidle said.
Al Leiter (9-6) walked five and allowed four hits and six runs in five innings for New York, which has lost 13 of 14.
Lidle allowed only an infield single to David Wright in the second inning, a single to center by Jeff Keppinger in the sixth and a single to Wilson Delgado in the eighth. He walked none, struck out three and did not allow a runner past second.
He made quick work of the Mets, throwing only 95 pitches and retiring 12 straight between the second and sixth innings. The 2-hour, 15-minute game was the Phillies’ shortest this season.
Lidle was Cincinnati’s opening day starter and its most notable addition last offseason, signing a $2.75 million, one-year contract. He can become a free agent after this season.
Lidle said he’s like to return to Philadelphia. Manager Larry Bowa would like to have him back, too.
“When he keeps the ball down, he’s very effective,” Bowa said. “When he’s down, he’s tough.”
He’s also handy with the bat.
Leiter struck out ex-Met Todd Pratt for the second out, but got careless against the opposing pitcher. Lidle, who homered in his last start, ripped a fastball down the third-base line for a 3-0 lead.
“That was a huge hit for them with two outs,” Mets manager Art Howe said.
Lidle helped himself again in the fourth, with a nice bunt that moved Michaels to third and Pratt to second. Rollins then followed with a three-run home run, his ninth this year.
Bell added a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Lidle—who made his major league debut with New York in 1997—improved to 3-0 against the Mets this season.
Mike Piazza, who turned 36 on Saturday and went 0-for-4, said this has been a depressing season.
“This is the most embarrassed and frustrated I’ve ever been,” he said. “I’m taking bad swings, poor pitch selection, it’s tough. It’s one of the most unhappy birthdays in a long time. You don’t have anything if you don’t have professional pride. We’re a bad team right now.”
The Phillies hit their 100th homer at home, one shy of the team record set in 1977. … Lidle extended his scoreless innings streak to 20. … A crowd of 43,089 gave the Phillies 41 sellouts in 70 games at their new park. They improved to 35-35 at home. … Phillies LHP Billy Wagner was activated from the 15-day disabled list. Wagner had been out since July 30 with a strained left rotator cuff.