Phillies 5, Padres 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Brett Myers followed his manager’s formula perfectly.
Ryan Howard had three hits, including an RBI double, for Philadelphia, which went 9-4 on its homestand and has won 26 of its last 39 home games. The Phillies now have a seven-game road trip to Houston and Colorado.
“We’re not pretenders and we have to go show that,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.
Added Howard: “We have to find a way to carry this momentum on the road.”
Ramon Hernandez had three hits for San Diego, which went 0-6 on a road trip to New York and Philadelphia and has lost a season-high seven in a row overall. Third baseman Joe Randa, acquired Saturday from Cincinnati, made his Padres debut with a pinch-hit single in the seventh inning.
“We’ve been awful and we know it,” Padres manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’re being tested. There’s no getting around it. We’ve got to dig deep and get out of this.”
Before the game, Manuel said he liked a formula of getting his starters through six innings and turning the game over to the bullpen.
“With our bullpen, we feel like we’re in good shape if that happens,” he said.
Myers (8-5) accomplished his part. He retired 12 of his first 13 batters and left after allowing five hits, striking out six and walking one in his second straight win.
Although he completely understands Manuel’s idea, Myers thought he could have went further.
“I felt strong, I wanted to go another inning,” Myers said. “I’m a competitor. I want to go as far as I can in a game. But, with our bullpen, which is probably one of the best in the major leagues, if we get to the seventh inning with a lead, we’re going to be in great shape.”
Philadelphia, which was last in the NL with 148 doubles, jumped on starter Brian Lawrence (5-10) for three two-base hits and four runs in the fourth inning.
Bobby Abreu doubled and scored on Howard’s double. With two outs, Lawrence intentionally walked Mike Lieberthal, but the strategy backfired as Myers helped his own cause with a run-scoring double. Jason Michaels followed with a two-run single to pad the lead to 4-0.
Howard, a rookie playing in place of the injured and struggling Jim Thome, raised his batting average to .263 and has driven in 19 runs in just 95 at-bats.
“That’s pretty good production, it speaks for itself,” Manuel said. “I really like Howard’s hitting today. I felt he used the whole field and that’s how you become a much better hitter.”
San Diego’s Phil Nevin was still with the team, but did not play. According to rumors over the weekend, Nevin is expected to be traded to Baltimore for pitcher Sidney Ponson. The deal apparently hinges on Nevin dropping a no-trade clause in his contract.
Nevin acknowledged that he has 72 hours to notify the team—the deadline would be Tuesday at 6 p.m. (West Coast time).
“I have a certain amount of time to make a decision and I’m going to use that time,” Nevin said. “I want to talk about it with my family and kids. It’s a tough thing to talk to them about over the phone.”
San Diego’s poor stretch isn’t helping matters in the clubhouse, either.
“If this is a test, we’ve failed, that’s for sure,” Lawrence said. “Seven (losses) in a row, it’s a joke. We’ve got to figure something out quick. It’s frustrating. We’ve in first place, but we’re hanging by a thread.”
Abreu’s RBI single off reliever Clay Hensley made the score 5-1 in the seventh. The All-Star outfielder was just 7-for-31 (.226) with three RBIs on the homestand.
Myers used strikeouts to escape jams in the fifth and sixth innings.
Lawrence worked six innings, allowing four runs and five hits. He walked two — both intentional—and struck out four.
INF Matt Kata, acquired by the Phillies on Thursday for Tim Worrell, made his Phillies debut with a pinch-hit single in the seventh. … The Phillies have won 12 of their last 15 games against the Padres. … Hernandez was charged with two passed balls, doubling his season total. … Since going 22-6 in May, the Padres are 17-30.