06/10/2003 1:09 AM ET
Padilla delivers in Phils' win
Starter tosses seven scoreless innings
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
ANAHEIM -- Certain that the 5 1/2-hour flight to Anaheim would take its toll
on a team coming off a doubleheader sweep, Phillies manager Larry Bowa made
a request of Monday's scheduled starter.
"I'm sure a lot of guys will be dragging after this flight," Bowa said. "We'll need a big game out of Vicente Padilla."
Message received. Padilla stymied the World Series champion Angels for
seven shutout innings as the Phillies rode home runs by Jim Thome and Jimmy
Rollins to a 3-0 win.
"It was nice to pitch that way against the team that won the World Series,"
said Padilla, though bullpen coach/interpreter Ramon Henderson. "I just need to
take this into my next start."
Suddenly, after a four-game, mid-week losing streak, the Phillies have
taken three in a row from two outstanding AL West teams.
Rollins, who popped up a bunt attempt in the sixth inning, redeemed himself
with a home run in the eighth. Two batters later, Thome connected for his 18th
career homer off the Angels, and eighth at Edison Field.
Padilla (5-7) and Anaheim starter Jarrod Washburn traded zeroes until the
top of the sixth when Jason Michaels led off with a double. Marlon Byrd showed bunt
twice, then wound up legging out what appeared to be a routine grounder to short.
With two on and none out, Rollins popped up a bunt attempt to first baseman Brad
"Jimmy understands that he has to do little things like that," Bowa said. "We can't afford that. We're not hitting the ball that well to not execute in that situation and that's important for us to be successful."
After Placido Polanco flied out for the second out, Thome eased the pain by
delivering Michaels with a single to center.
"If Washburn gets out of that inning, you never know..." Thome said. "Maybe
it gave us a little momentum. When Washburn pitches like that, I've seen them win a
lot of games."
Bowa chalked that up to Thome's impressive leadership abilities.
"When your manager says that, it's a great compliment. I appreciate that,"
The real push came on a defensive gem from right-fielder Bobby Abreu and
David Bell, who helped Padilla escape major trouble in the seventh. After a
one-single by Fullmer, Abreu scooped up a single by Scott Spiezio and fired a dart
to Bell. Though Fullmer beat the throw, his momentum carried him past the bag, and
Bell wisely followed with a tag.
"I think that was the key. That won the game right there," Padilla said.
"He made a perfect throw," said Bell. "I knew he was going to slide to the
side of the base, and sometimes it's hard to stay on [the base]."
After allowing another single to Bengie Molina -- which would have scored
Fullmer -- Padilla retired Benji Gil on a comebacker. Rheal Cormier pitched a
scoreless eighth and Jose Mesa tossed the ninth for his 16th save. It was his 103rd as a Phillie -- tying Steve Bedrosian for the franchise lead.
Mesa, who has had trouble retiring the leadoff batter when he comes into a game, got a huge boost from Polanco and Thome in the ninth.
Troy Glaus rolled a ball between Polanco and Thome. Polanco stabbed it as
Thome retreated to first for the throw, which was slightly off line. Thome scooped
it for the out a step before Glaus reached the base.
"Jose didn't have a real good outing his last time out so [Mesa] might have
had negative stuff going through his head [if Glaus had reached]," said Bowa.
The night really belonged to Padilla, who hasn't looked this crisp since
his April 17 four-hit shutout against the Braves. He walked none and allowed five
hits, while hitting two batters.
The key to his effectiveness, according to Bowa, was his ability to
concentrate for his entire outing. His Achillies heel has usually been an inning or
two in which he strays from a game plan.
Padilla used all his pitches on Monday, rather than relying mostly on
fastballs. The next step for him, as he continues his learning process, is to adapt
to hitters, and use their tendencies against them.
"The idiosyncrasies of the game -- how to read a hitter," said Bowa. "Once
he figures that out, he's going to be all right. The question is when does he figure it out."
"At first he was a little unwilling to listen [to pitching coach Joe
Kerrigan] because he had success last year. He's still not where we want him to be,
but he's getting there."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for
MLB.com. This story was not subject to approval by Major League Baseball or its