PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Todd Pratt hit a three-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies clinched consecutive winning seasons for the first time in 21 years with an 8-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday.
The Phillies (82-75)—86-76 a year ago—last had consecutive winning seasons in 1982-83. In 1983, the Phillies reached the World Series and expectations were that high coming into this season with a $93 million payroll that included a new All-Star closer, a revamped bullpen and a promising starting rotation.
Instead of overtaking Atlanta in the NL East, the Phillies were eliminated from playoff contention Monday night and there has been speculation about manager Larry Bowa’s future.
Injuries and inconsistency spoiled the Phillies’ first season in their new ballpark and made its “Now Is The Time” slogan—proudly imprinted on spiffy red shirts they wore in spring training—a setup for a bad punchline on Philadelphia sports talk radio.
Padilla allowed four runs and six hits in five innings—his third straight start where he’s failed to go longer than that. Padilla gave up Ty Wigginton’s 17th homer of the year, a three-run shot to left in the second, and a Jack Wilson sacrifice fly.
Ian Snell (0-1) gave up 11 hits, five walks and eight earned runs in five innings in his first major league start. He was the 11th different pitcher to start this year for Pittsburgh.
The game was a makeup of Tuesday night’s rainout. It was the first twi-night doubleheader in the first season at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies and Tigers played a day-night doubleheader in June. … Pratt now has more homers (two) than triple plays (one). … Pittsburgh’s Rob Mackowiak grounded into only his second double play of the season. … The Phillies improved to 38-38 at home. … Phillies 1B Jim Thome was out of the lineup, still suffering from discomfort in his chest resulting from a collision on Sept. 15. Bowa said Thome had an EKG test.