“I’ll talk more about Brett than anything I did,” Pratt said. “Brett’s the best pitcher in baseball right now. He’s a power pitcher with four nasty pitches.”
Cincinnati saw them all and did little against Myers, who threw seven strong innings.
Myers (3-2) made his fourth straight start without allowing more than five hits. Myers gave up five hits, struck out eight and walked three.
“He’s one of the best I’ve ever caught,” Pratt said. “He’s that dominating right now.”
Pratt wasn’t so bad himself.
With Mike Lieberthal out after injuring a finger in Thursday’s game, Pratt made the most of his eighth start of the year by going 4-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk. Pratt, a career backup catcher who played on Philadelphia’s 1993 NL championship team, last drove in five runs in 1994.
Maybe it helped Pratt knew a little something about who he was facing.
Eric Milton (2-4), who won 14 games for the Phillies last season, got rocked in his first career start against his former team. He gave up eight runs, eight hits and allowed his league-high 14th homer of the year.
“I’ve never struggled this bad,” Milton said. “It’s a battle.”
The Phillies, who had 16 hits, took a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Pat Burrell in the first and a run-scoring double by Pratt in the second. Pratt hit a three-run homer in the fourth that bounced off the flowers just over the wall in left for a 5-0 lead.
“It doesn’t matter what I do,” Pratt said. “My job is to catch and that’s all my job is. We’ve got plenty of hitters. That’s why I bat eighth.”
Milton was Philadelphia’s most consistent starter last season despite allowing 43 homers, going 14-6 with a 4.75 ERA. The Phillies decided not to offer salary arbitration to Milton, who made $9 million last season.
Myers is filling the void at the top of the rotation. He was a tough-luck loser in his last start against Chicago, allowing two runs in eight innings. In two other starts this year he got no-decisions despite tossing eight shutout innings in one stint and seven scoreless in another.
“I’m not afraid of throwing them strikes instead of pitching around guys. It’s pretty much here it is. If you want to hit it, hit it out,” Myers said.
Myers had runners on the corners with two outs in the third, but got D’Angelo Jimenez on a called third strike. He was sharp for six innings before tiring in the seventh, giving up a sacrifice fly to Austin Kearns and an RBI single to Jason LaRue.
“I’m not really trying to be the greatest or the best,” Myers said. “I’m just trying to be aggressive and get as much wins for this team as possible.”
The Phillies went 8-for-15 with runners in scoring position and their eight extra-base hits were a season high. Even slumping Ryan Howard got involved, snapping an 0-for-15 skid with a pinch-hit double in the seventh.
“We needed to score some runs,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We need to get going and prove we can do it.”
Lieberthal will miss at least a couple of games after he was hit in the right ring finger by a pitch. X-rays were negative and Lieberthal had the finger taped on Friday. He said he can’t throw or hit for a couple of days.
3B David Bell of the Phillies made a tough sliding catch into the rail against Ken Griffey Jr., in the second. … With LHP Brandon Claussen still bothered by a sore left ankle, RHP Elizardo Ramirez will get the start Sunday. Ramirez made his major league debut last year with Philadelphia. The Reds got him as part of a trade that sent Cory Lidle to the Phillies last season. … Dick Allen (1969) and Mike Schmidt (1979) are the only other Phillies to homer in five straight games. Abreu hit a long drive to right in the seventh off the 398-foot sign in right-center and finished with three hits.