Burrell stays hot, sparks Phillies to victory
NL Player of the Week gives Myers a lift with early homer
MIAMI -- Hours after being named the National League Player of the Week, Pat Burrell began defending his title.The sizzling left fielder continued his blazing start on Monday in Florida, belting a two-run, first-inning homer to lead Philadelphia to a 4-1 win over the Marlins. Burrell is in a .448 groove with four homers, including three in three days. "I don't think he's ever going to leave that groove," said Brett Myers. "He's so relaxed at the plate. We need all those guys to hit and he's been carrying us." Myers did his share of lifting too, as he twirled 5 2/3 innings and allowed one unearned run on three hits. Because he wasn't too economical with his pitches -- he threw 103 -- Manuel removed him with two outs in the sixth. Normally, this exchange wouldn't be pleasant since Myers had thrown well and doesn't take too well to being taken out. But the two exchanged a laugh on the mound as Manuel took the ball. "He knew he was out of the game and he made a remark to me, and I kind of countered it," said Manuel, not revealing the details. "I was mad until I found out I had 103 pitches," Myers said. "I didn't feel like I had that many. It was the right move. We were just having a good time on the mound. That's what makes me have fun out there." Fun in Miami? Now there's something that hasn't happened in the past two seasons. Contrary to popular legend, the walls in the visitors' clubhouse weren't closing in. The win continued a run of recent success at Dolphins Stadium, which previously had been the most miserable of stops for the Phillies. They won the first two games in Miami early in the 2003 season, then lost 14 in a row. In late September last year, they broke the hex by taking three out of four games, and have started 2005 off on the right foot. The rest of Monday's game went according to script, with Ryan Madson, Rheal Cormier, Tim Worrell and Billy Wagner sealing the win, a boost for the beleaguered bullpen that had squandered three eighth-inning leads last week. On Monday, they shook off some cobwebs. "When you have the lead in the eighth and ninth inning, successful teams definitely win those games," Manuel said. "Those are the ones you put away. It was a nice win for us. Our starting pitcher did his job and all or our relievers did their job."
Myers (1-0) was brilliant for the second straight start, whiffing eight in his 5 2/3 innings, and allowing one run to lower his ERA to 0.73. He got in trouble in the sixth, hitting Carlos Delgado and Mike Lowell, but was rescued by Madson.Al Leiter (0-1) took the loss for Florida, surrendering three runs in five innings, and needing 114 pitches to get through five innings. While Myers used his devastating curve at times, he mostly relied on his fastball and challenged hitters. In a first-inning at-bat against Miguel Cabrera, he reared back and threw a 3-2 fastball that Cabrera hit to the deepest part of the park, but Jason Michaels caught it just in front of the fence. "I'm not pitching scared of the bat," Myers said. "I want him to put it in play. I'm going after guys." In a technical glitch, the words "Marlins win" flashed on the scoreboard after the game. Perhaps Florida had gotten so used to beating Philadelphia. Apparently, that's in the past. "We have to keep going," said Jim Thome. "We had two big wins in St. Louis and have started this series off well. We have to keep playing well."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.