Lee’s clutch hit makes Myers winner against Phils
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—So, what’s the baseline?
Brett Myers(notes) threw seven sharp innings against his former team, Carlos Lee(notes) hit a go-ahead two-run single in the eighth and the Houston Astros took advantage of a controversial call to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 3-2 on Monday night.
The wild card-leading Phillies, who entered 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the NL East, lost for just the sixth time in their last 30 home games.
Pinch-hitter Jason Michaels(notes) led off the eighth with a single. Michael Bourn(notes) then reached on a drag bunt, barely avoiding Ryan Howard’s(notes) diving tag and causing manager Charlie Manuel to get ejected by first-base umpire Greg Gibson.
With a sellout crowd chanting “Charlie! Charlie!” and second baseman Chase Utley(notes) pointing to the spot where Bourn appeared to step out of the baseline, Manuel got tossed for making his case. Utley, who rarely argues, then briefly exchanged words with Gibson.
Afterward, Manuel and some of his players were fuming that Bourn wasn’t called out of the baseline. Making it worse, Gibson tossed Manuel from a game against Cleveland on June 24 for arguing a similar play the opposite way. Gibson called Shane Victorino(notes) out of the baseline as he dove into first base to avoid a tag.
“He went out of the baseline, but (Gibson) didn’t see it that way,” Manuel said.
When Gibson was asked for a comment by a pool reporter, crew chief Sam Holbrook said umpires are not allowed to talk per major league baseball’s instructions. However, umpires have discussed controversial calls several times this season.
Howard said players have a difficult time understanding the baseline rule.
Rule 7.08 states: A runner’s baseline is established when the tag attempt occurs and is a straight line from the runner to the base he is attempting to reach safely.
“They have to come up with some kind of consistency for the rule,” Howard said. “Everybody isn’t sure. There’s a lot of gray area. There is no understanding.”
Pitching in a steady drizzle, Myers gave up two runs and nine hits, striking out nine. Myers has pitched at least six innings in each of his 26 starts, tying Larry Dierker’s franchise record. It’s the longest streak to start a season since Curt Schilling(notes) had 35 straight in 2002.
Tim Byrdak(notes) pitched a scoreless eighth and Brandon Lyon(notes) finished for his seventh save in eight chances. Lyon retired Jimmy Rollins(notes) on a hard liner to left with the tying run on second to end it.
Myers, who was Philadelphia’s opening-day starter the previous three seasons, is one of five former Phillies on Houston’s roster. He received a warm reception from fans.
“How respectful they were to me in the bullpen shows that this city has a big heart for players who accomplished things for them,” Myers said. “They showed me respect.”
A first-round pick in 1999, Myers had 73 wins and 21 saves in eight seasons in Philadelphia. He was 2-1 during the 2008 postseason, helping the Phillies win the World Series.
Carlos Ruiz(notes) hit a solo homer off Myers to tie it at 1 in the third. Blanton and Rollins followed with consecutive one-out singles. After Blanton was thrown out trying to score on Victorino’s grounder to first, Utley’s RBI single put the Phillies up 2-1.
Bourn started the game with a single, stole second, advanced to third on Sanchez’s single and scored on Pence’s sacrifice fly. Lee followed with a double to right-center. A perfect relay throw from Utley and excellent block at the plate by Ruiz prevented Sanchez from scoring on the hit.
The Astros are the only NL team with a winning record against the Phillies since 2004, going 27-16.
Notes: The Phillies added Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter to their minor league staff as a pitching consultant. Sutter had 300 career saves in a 12-year career with the Cubs, Cardinals and Braves. … A crowd of 44,081 was the 104th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. … Manuel has been tossed five times this year. … Blanton is 4-1 since June 12, lowering his ERA from 7.28 to 5.32. He gave up another first-inning run, and has allowed 20 in 21 starts this season. … Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth(notes) was picked off second base after ball four of an intentional walk to Ruiz.