Phillies find stride, clip Rockies
PHILADELPHIA ” Maybe Charlie Manuel should have altered Philadelphia’s lineup sooner.
With speedy, contact hitters up top, and some pop in the middle, the Phillies got the punch they needed.
Cory Lidle struck out 10 and Bobby Abreu drove in three runs to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.
Chase Utley and Ryan Howard were instant hits in their new spots in Manuel’s latest batting order. The Phillies manager moved Utley from the fourth or fifth spots to second and batted Howard, their best power threat, fifth after stints in the six and seven holes.
“It worked today,” Howard said. “We got runs and we won the game.”
Lidle (2-2) was the biggest beneficiary of the lineup swap, getting the most run support he had in four starts this season. He made it stand up, falling one strikeout shy of matching his career high and scattering six hits before he was chased with a 6-3 lead and two runners on and two outs in the seventh.
Clint Barmes doubled on Ryan Franklin’s first pitch to make it 6-4, then the lefty retired Matt Holliday on a grounder to work out of the jam.
Arthur Rhodes allowed a run in a shaky eighth, before Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save in six chances.
The top of Philadelphia’s order was particularly strong early against Colorado starter Josh Fogg (2-1) with Jimmy Rollins, Utley and Bobby Abreu going 5-for-5 with five runs scored and three RBIs in the first three innings to help the Phillies take a 5-2 lead.
Utley had three hits and Howard finished 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
“The top of the order got the job done tonight,” Manuel said.
The Phillies have finally shown some spirit at home, winning two straight at Citizens Bank Park for the first time this season. They lost eight of their first 10 games at home.
“That’s big, isn’t it?” Howard said. “We’re just kind of rolling on into it and we want to finish this series strong.”
Eli Marrero hit a solo shot for the Rockies, who cooled off in the opener of a nine-game road trip. Colorado had the fewest road losses of any team in baseball and was off to its best road start in team history.
Philadelphia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first when Rollins and Utley opened the game with hits and scored on Abreu’s sacrifice fly and a Howard single.
“The top of their lineup was presenting problems,” Rockies manager Clint Hurdle said.
Marrero’s RBI single in the second made it 2-1 and Fogg, who walked on four pitches to leadoff the third, scored on a wild pitch to tie the score.
Rollins singled and Utley doubled to open the third and they scored on Abreu’s double to right. Pat Burrell’s RBI single ” he was thrown out stretching it into a double ” made it 5-2.
“Those runs are going to come,” Lidle said.
Manuel wasn’t the only one tinkering, looking for better results. Lidle said he changed the grip on his splitter, which kept the ball down where it belonged, and shortened his stride. That made the difference in his best outing of the season.
“I don’t think about the result, I think about executing one pitch at a time,” Lidle said.
Howard added an RBI single in the fifth. Fogg gave up six runs and eight hits in five innings.
“It would have been nice to make better pitches with guys on base,” Fogg said.
With the way the Phillies were swinging, it might not have mattered.
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