PHILADELPHIA (AP)—A day after he was called out by his general manager, Pat Burrell got a curtain call.
The much-maligned Burrell entered with only one homer and 11 RBIs in 97 at-bats, but he connected twice off Rich Hill (4-2).
“I feel I’ve been swinging the bat all right. I just had been hitting it right at guys,” Burrell said.
It was the second straight win for the Phillies (16-19), who opened an important 10-game homestand looking to reach .500 for the first time.
Leading 2-0 in the fourth, Hill got in trouble by walking Aaron Rowand and hitting Chase Utley. Burrell then lined a 2-2 pitch into the left-center field seats to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. His two-run shot in the sixth made it 5-2 and chased Hill.
Burrell received a loud standing ovation as he circled the bases after his second drive of the game. He came out of the dugout and waved to a crowd that booed him during pregame introductions on opening day.
But the fans weren’t the only ones criticizing Burrell lately. Phillies GM Pat Gillick told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Thursday that the middle of the lineup and the bullpen were responsible for the team’s early struggles. Gillick singled out Burrell, NL MVP Ryan Howard and Wes Helms for their lack of production. The trio has a total of nine homers, including six from Howard.
“I didn’t even know,” Burrell said of Gillick’s criticism. “They say don’t read the papers around here. If that’s the case, he’s right. You have to look at the production in the middle. I have no problem with that. You have to do your job.”
Hill gave up five runs and four hits in five innings in his shortest outing this season. The left-hander’s ERA rose from 1.73 to 2.51.
“I made some poor pitches and put guys on,” Hill said. “A few pitches got away from me. When you walk the leadoff guy, you’re asking for trouble.”
Soriano homered to right field in the third, and Ramirez led off the fourth with his eighth homer to make it 2-0.
Utley’s two-run single off Neal Cotts in the seventh gave the Phillies a five-run cushion. Cotts had given up only one run in 11 2-3 innings this season.
“In a small park like this, you put people on and they can do some damage and they did,” Cubs manager Lou Piniella said.
Hamels has benefited from solid run support his last three outings, with the Phillies averaging seven runs per game.
“I just have to go out there and compete and the team will feel that,” he said.
Howard was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game with a quad injury. An MRI exam on his knee revealed no structural damage and another MRI on his quad showed some bruising. Howard is day to day, but was available to pinch hit. His pinch-hit grand slam helped the Phillies beat Arizona on Wednesday. Manager Charlie Manuel didn’t expect to start Howard on Saturday. … Injured Phillies closer Tom Gordon, out with a rotator cuff strain, was hospitalized with an upper respiratory infection. It wasn’t known whether he would stay overnight. … Utley leads the majors with 12 hit by pitches. He has 23 RBIs in his last 20 games. … Burrell’s two homers and five RBIs tied his career best for both. He has 15 multihomer games.