PHILADELPHIA (AP)—The Philadelphia Phillies entered the season with a heralded pitching staff of four aces. They may have discovered an unlikely fifth.
Rookie right-hander Vance Worley(notes) threw a three-hitter and Chase Utley(notes) hit an inside-the-park homer to lead the Phillies to a 7-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday night in a matchup of the NL’s top teams.
Worley (7-1) had five strikeouts and one walk, and has allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of his 13 career starts. It was Worley’s fifth straight win and first career complete game.
“He did a real good job,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. “He’s aggressive and goes right at them.”
“I think I’m figuring how to pitch now,” Worley said.
Manuel said Worley deserved to go the distance.
“I think it does something for the guy,” Manuel said. “I wanted him to stay in there for himself. He earned the right.”
It might have been expected that Worley’s scheduled counterpart, Tim Lincecum(notes), would have been receiving the postgame accolades, but the Giants right-hander was a late scratch due to a stomach illness.
Lincecum was scratched two hours before the game and listed as day-to-day. He could pitch Wednesday against the Phillies, taking Zito’s place. Manager Bruce Bochy said after the game that a decision would be made Wednesday.
Zito was headed to take batting practice at 5:20 p.m. when Bochy informed him of the start. It was the first-ever fill-in start for Zito, who was forced to slightly alter his routine. But he did not use it as an excuse for the outing.
“I skipped a couple of things but for the most part if you have an hour-and-a-half to get ready, you’re going to be ready,” he said.
Zito, pitching on nine days’ rest, was roughed up in the first inning when Philadelphia scored four runs.
“That’s what makes it tough that first inning, getting behind when (Worley’s) throwing the ball as well as he is and it’s just too much to overcome,” Bochy said. “He has good stuff. He throws quality strikes, pounds the strike zone and stayed in command the whole game.”
“I’m not out there thinking too much,” Worley said. “I’m just going with the pitches I had. He’s really smooth back there. We were definitely both on the same page.”
Six of the Phillies’ seven hits were for six extra bases.
In the sixth, Utley drove the ball off the wall in center. It caromed away from center fielder Andres Torres(notes) and was retrieved by right fielder Nate Schierholtz(notes). The relay came to shortstop Mike Fontenot(notes), whose throw home was slightly to the left of catcher Eli Whiteside(notes). Utley, sliding headfirst, just beat the lunging tag of Whiteside to put Philadelphia up 6-1.
“It hit the wall, took that corner and kept going the other way,” Torres said.
Bochy came out to argue, but replays appeared to confirm home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth’s call was correct.
Utley, who went 2 for 4, has reached base safely in 28 straight games and is 8 for 17 with three homers and five RBIs in his last five games.
Howard went 2 for 4 with the homer and a double.
The game was a rematch of last season’s NLCS when the Giants beat the Phillies in six games on their way to winning the World Series. The series had added intrigue following Bochy’s handling of Philadelphia pitchers Roy Halladay(notes) and Cliff Lee(notes) in the All-Star game.
Bochy chose to start Halladay and had Lee pitch 1 2-3 innings, while resting two of his eligible All-Star pitchers, Lincecum and Ryan Vogelsong(notes). The move drew the ire of some Philadelphia fans and may have irritated Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, who responded to a question about the situation by saying, “I’ve got my opinions. I’m not going to tell you.”
The Phillies scored four runs in the first after Zito had retired the first two batters, highlighted by Ibanez’s three-run homer to deep right-center. Ibanez had been 9 for 49 (.184) lifetime against Zito entering the game. Howard had put Philadelphia on the board with an RBI double to right that scored Utley.
Zito said the pitch to Ibanez was a cutter that didn’t move enough inside.
“I felt pretty good after the first,” Zito said. “That Ibanez pitch I want back.”
The left-hander rebounded after the slow start, allowing two runs and three hits over his final six innings.
“It’s a shame he couldn’t get out of that (first) inning because he regrouped and ended up throwing the ball fairly well,” Bochy said. “That’s impressive on his part, not caving in and finding a way to give us innings.”
Mayberry homered to left in the fourth to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.
Rowand’s pinch-hit homer in the eighth pulled the Giants within 6-2, but Howard got the run back with a solo shot to left in the bottom of the inning.
Notes: The crowd of 45,740 was the Phillies’ 177th consecutive sellout. Philadelphia hasn’t had a losing streak since dropping four straight from May 31-June 4. Phiilies SS Jimmy Rollins(notes) went 0 for 4, stretching his slump to one hit in his last 20 at-bats.