Phillies 6, Pirates 1

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PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Brett Myers gave Philadelphia’s overused bullpen a much-needed rest.

Myers pitched his second complete game this season and Chase Utley and David Bell drove in two runs apiece, leading the Phillies over the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 on Saturday night.

The Phillies snapped a two-game skid and moved a half-game ahead of Houston atop the NL wild-card standings. They trail East-leading Atlanta by 3 1/2 games.

“I would’ve been satisfied with seven, eight innings and a win,” Myers said. “We just have to win.”

Myers (11-6) allowed six hits, including three infield singles, in his best outing since beating Colorado 5-3 on July 29. The right-hander’s ERA had risen from 3.21 to 3.62 in his previous three starts. He pitched eight innings in a complete-game loss at Chicago on May 8.

“If you look at my pitch selection, I just tried to get them to put the ball in play rather than strike them out,” Myers said.

Myers’ fifth career complete game allowed the relievers to take a rare night off. Phillies starters have gone the distance only four times this season, and no starter had pitched eight innings since Aug. 5.

“Myers was very good,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He had a tremendous curveball. He got in a rhythm in the fourth inning and cruised. He kept his composure. He was totally relaxed.”

The Phillies got all the runs Myers would need in the fourth against Dave Williams. Bobby Abreu and Pat Burrell walked to start the inning. Utley then lined a 1-2 pitch to the wall in right-center for a two-run triple. Ramon Martinez hit a sacrifice fly one out later to make it 3-1.

Bell added a two-run double that chased Williams in the sixth. Abreu singled leading off the inning and Utley walked with one out before Bell hit a liner into the right-field corner.

Williams (10-9) allowed five runs and four hits in 5 1-3 innings. He tied a season high with five walks.

“I couldn’t get my curveball for a strike,” Williams said. “They were able to wait for the fastball. I put them in a situation where they were able to capitalize.”

The Pirates took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Jose Castillo’s sacrifice fly. Jason Bay led off with a double and went to third on Brad Eldred’s one-out single.

“I like what we are as a ballclub right now,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “We’re young and going about our business the right way.”

Notes

Bay left with a bruised rib cage in the fourth, but expects to play Sunday. He was hit by pitches twice Thursday against the Mets and felt some discomfort. … Despite being platooned the first two months, Utley has 74 RBIs, one fewer than Abreu. Burrell leads the team with 88 RBIs. … Bell, who has struggled this season, is hitting .396 (40-for-101) against left-handers, second-best in the majors. … A crowd of 43,192 turned out at Citizens Bank Park. It was the 10th sellout this season. … Pirates C Humberto Cota committed a rare error in the seventh when he picked up the ball with his mask. The runner on second base was allowed to move to third.

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