Phils sweep twinbill from D-Backs
Polanco goes deep twice, Philadelphia wins fifth in a row
PHILADELPHIA -- Twenty minutes after staving off Arizona's near comeback in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, manager Charlie Manuel smiled at the thought of returning to the land of above .500."Now we have to battle to stay there," he said. The nightcap fit that description perfectly, and Philadelphia passed with a well-timed rally started by pinch-hitter Endy Chavez and capped by utilityman Placido Polanco. Closer Billy Wagner then staved off a second Arizona uprising as Philly escaped with a 5-3 win and a twinbill sweep. "I'm enjoying it, and our players are enjoying it," said Manuel. "They're having fun. That's how I want us to play. I want us to stay positive and see where we are at the end of the season." Winners of five straight and 14 out of 20, the Phillies can't seem to climb out of last place in baseball's tightest division. Their eighth doubleheader sweep out of their previous 12 vaulted them to within 1 1/2 games of first. To review: One-and-a-half games separate the first-place Braves from the Phillies, with the Marlins, Nationals and Mets sandwiched in between. Sounds like an exciting division. "That's what everybody expected," said Todd Pratt. "We need all the wins we can get," said Kenny Lofton, who tripled in each of the games. "We're just rolling with it. [The NL East] is one of those divisions, and it's starting to show how tough it is." Though Wagner recorded his lucky 13th save, the ending of Game 2 was anything but ordinary. Pinch-hitter Tony Clark began the inning by singling off the third-base bag. Two outs later, Luis Gonzalez got some calls from home plate umpire Dale Scott that Wagner didn't agree with. He wound up walking. With Troy Glaus up, the runners took off on a double steal -- a play that Bob Melvin called a miscommunication -- and Pratt cut down Gonzalez at second, ending the game. Manuel gave credit to bench coach Gary Varsho, who sent a reminder out with pitching coach Rich Dubee. "He was right on it," said Manuel. So was Pratt's throw. High-fives abounded on the field, as the Phillies moved two games above .500, their highest point of the season.
|"I'm enjoying it, and our players are enjoying it. They're having fun. That's how I want us to play. I want us to stay positive and see where we are at the end of the season."|
|-- Charlie Manuel on Phillies' current winning ways|
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.