Phillies Win, 1 Game Out in NL Wild Card

Tuesday, September 19th 2006, 10:13 pm
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Once again Jamie Moyer showed exactly why the Philadelphia Phillies acquired him to pitch in a playoff race.

Moyer tossed seven solid innings and Abraham Nunez had a two-run single to lead Philadelphia over the Chicago Cubs 4-1 Tuesday night.

Jimmy Rollins hit a solo homer and David Dellucci added an RBI double for the Phillies, who entered the night 1 1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL wild-card standings.

Moyer (3-2) allowed one run and six hits in his sixth start since the 43-year-old left-hander arrived from Seattle. He didn't walk a batter and has pitched at least six innings in each outing with Philadelphia.

``You have to give your bullpen an opportunity to pitch quality innings, not mop-up innings,'' Moyer said. ``I wanted to go as deep as I can and throw as few pitches as possible.''

Geoff Geary retired the side in the eighth after Aaron Fultz allowed a leadoff single to Juan Pierre. Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 32nd save in 36 chances.

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel raved about Moyer's performance. The Phillies traded two minor league prospects to the Mariners for Moyer on Aug. 19.

``He's a true professional,'' Manuel said. ``He's at the ballpark real early. He does his work. He's prepared. He really studies the hitters. He'll call people about hitters. He's very demanding of himself. He might not light up a radar gun, but he'll get you out.''

Matt Murton homered for Chicago. Wade Miller (0-2) gave up two runs _ one earned _ and four hits in 4 2-3 innings. The Cubs, who have the NL's worst record, had won six of eight after a 2-14 stretch.

Ryan Howard, who leads the majors with 57 homers and again heard ``M-V-P!'' chants each time he came to the plate, started a two-out rally in the fifth with a single to left. He scored on a headfirst dive after Dellucci hit a liner into the left-center field gap that chased Miller.

Roberto Novoa came in and walked Pat Burrell. Chris Coste then reached on shortstop Ronny Cedeno's fielding error to load the bases. Nunez followed with a bloop single to right-center that scored two runs for a 3-0 lead.

``If you put the ball in play, things can happen,'' Manuel said. ``Sometimes you don't have to hit the ball real hard if you find the right place.''

Murton connected with two outs in the sixth to cut it to 3-1. Rollins hit his 22nd homer off David Aardsma in the eighth.

Miller, making his third start since right shoulder surgery, struck out eight and pitched out of trouble early in the game.

The Phillies loaded the bases in the first inning, but Miller froze Burrell with a slow curve on a 3-2 pitch to end the threat. Burrell, who leads the majors in taking called third strikes, heard loud boos after he failed yet again in a clutch situation. Burrell is hitting .160 (12-for-75) with two outs and runners in scoring position.

Miller escaped another bases-loaded jam in the fourth by striking out Rollins on another offspeed pitch.

``He threw the ball well,'' Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. ``It was a very encouraging outing.''

The Phillies improved to 37-39 at home. Coming in, they were the only team in the majors with a losing record at home and winning mark overall.

Notes: In the first inning, Rollins stole his 20th straight base without getting caught. He has 36 steals. ... Cedeno extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a third-inning double. But his costly error was Chicago's first in seven games ... Chicago's Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-4, ending a nine-game hitting streak. ... LHP Les Walrond will start for the Cubs on Wednesday. Juan Mateo had been scheduled to pitch.