Moyer, Lidge help pitch Phils past Marlins 5-2

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MIAMI (AP)—If there can be a sure thing in a tight pennant race, the Philadelphia Phillies went with it Sunday—Jamie Moyer against the Florida Marlins, and Brad Lidge against anybody.

The 45-year-old Moyer flummoxed Florida yet again, Lidge earned his 40th save in as many chances and the Phillies padded their lead in the NL East, winning 5-2 to take a 1 1/2 -game edge over the New York Mets.

After New York blew a late lead and lost at Atlanta 7-6, the Phillies won for the ninth time in their past 10 games. They return home Monday for the final week of the regular season—three games against the Braves and three against Washington.

“We have been playing really well, playing our best baseball going into the postseason,” Lidge said. “We still have some work to get there, but it’s a good sign for a team when you’re playing hot at the end of the season.”

Florida remained five games behind the Mets in the wild-card race with seven games left.

“We’re going to have to play perfect baseball the rest of the way and get some help from other people,” manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Moyer, the oldest player in the majors, went six innings in 90-degree sunshine and improved to 11-1 against Florida, with the lone loss coming the last time he faced them Aug. 5. Four hitters in the young Marlins’ lineup have lifetime averages under .175 against the crafty left-hander.

“I’ve had good fortune against them, but they have come a long way in the last couple of years,” said Moyer (15-7). “Their approach is changing—the at-bats are better. I noticed the last couple of nights when they scored runs, they scored them in a bunch. I tried to keep them away from that.”

Moyer departed after 94 pitches with a 3-1 lead. When asked if he felt more like a 45-year-old on such a hot day, he said, “I don’t know. What does that feel like? You just deal with it.”

Five relievers took care of the final three innings, including Lidge, who needed 29 pitches in the ninth and stranded two runners.

How good has Lidge been?

“He’s perfect,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “We expected a lot out of him, but he has been more than that.”

Another catalyst in the Phillies’ success, Chase Utley, hit his 32nd home run—but his first since Aug. 22.

“That proves he can still do it,” Manuel said.

Pedro Feliz added his 14th home run for the Phillies, who set a franchise record by hitting a homer in their 17th consecutive game. They went 5-1 on their final trip of the regular season to finish 44-37 on the road.

Chris Volstad (5-4) allowed three runs, two earned, in five innings. Florida’s John Baker went 4-for-5, but rookie Cameron Maybin went 0-for-5 and finished his first week in the majors batting .476.

Trailing 3-0, the Marlins scored their only run against Moyer in the sixth. Josh Willingham doubled to improve to 2-for-22 against the lefty, then came home on Alfredo Amezaga’s two-out single.

Florida added a run in the seventh to make it 3-2 when Baker doubled and scored on Jorge Cantu’s single. After the Marlins loaded the bases, Clay Condrey got Cody Ross to bounce out to end the inning.

Phillies third baseman Gregg Dobbs left the game in that inning because of a cramp in his right calf. His replacement, Feliz, hit a two-run homer in the eighth.

“My timing was impeccable,” Dobbs said.

Lidge gave up a single and a walk in the ninth, then struck out pinch hitter Dallas McPherson on a 3-2 fastball to end the game and improve to 40-for-40.

“I really try not to think about it,” Lidge said. “Obviously I know the season has gone well and it’s there, but honestly I’m focused on the current situation.”


Dobbs said he’ll be available to play Monday. … SS Hanley Ramirez was chosen the Marlins’ most valuable player by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Volstad was chosen rookie of the year. … The Marlins finished 45-36 at home. … Philadelphia’s Jayson Werth went 1-for-14 in the series with eight strikeouts, and teammate Pat Burrell went 3-for-24 on the trip.

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