Lieber, Phillies fall to Giants
Starter, relievers combine to allow three homers
SAN FRANCISCO -- One of Jon Lieber's pitches became Barry Bonds' 744th career home run. That and a few others cost the Phillies in Saturday's 9-4 loss to the Giants."[They were] balls that were up," Lieber said. "I have to make better pitches." Lieber faced 24 batters in six innings, 12 in the two innings in which the Giants scored multiple runs. The right-hander faced the minimum in his four scoreless frames. Bonds' solo poke to center opened the second inning and came on Lieber's first pitch. It was Bonds' fifth home run off Lieber -- one of 438 hurlers to fall victim to the future home run king -- and his 10th of the season. Lieber also served up Nos. 713, 436, 410 and 377. The 42-year-old slugger now needs 11 to tie Hank Aaron, though Bonds pulled even with another Aaron mark. He is tied with Aaron and Babe Ruth on the all-time runs scored list, with 2,174. "Fastball, just up," said Lieber, who has held Bonds to a .200 average (8-for-39) despite the homers. "I threw too many hittable pitches." The rest of Lieber's mistakes came during a three-run third, including one that turned into a two-run triple to Ryan Klesko that scored Dave Roberts and Randy Winn. Klesko's rocket soared over right fielder Shane Victorino's head, not giving the player known as the Flyin' Hawaiian a chance. "If I was actually flying, maybe I'd catch it," Victorino said. "I made a beeline straight back. It was just the trajectory. That ball outran me. I booked straight back, and it still ended up [in the corner]." Lieber tossed three scoreless innings to survive through the sixth, giving the Phillies' offense a chance to chip away at San Francisco's Noah Lowry. The Giants lefty allowed a first-inning run when Victorino singled, stole second and went to third after catcher Eliezer Alfonzo heaved the ball into center field. Victorino scored on Jimmy Rollins' single. Instead of wilting, Lowry retired 15 of the next 16 batters until Victorino duplicated his accomplishment with one out in the sixth. This time, he scored on an Aaron Rowand groundout. Of the three runs that scored on Lowry's watch, only one was earned. The third run came when Pat Burrell reached on Ray Durham's error -- the second baseman dropped a popup -- leading off the inning, and scored on Abraham Nunez's single. With the Phils trailing 4-3, manager Charlie Manuel went to reliever Francisco Rosario, who gave up a home run to Alfonzo. When Rowand again pulled the Phillies within a run by scoring on a Chase Utley single in the eighth, Manuel used Rosario to get the first out of the bottom of the inning, then went to southpaw Fabio Castro to face lefties Ryan Klesko and Bonds. Castro walked both, then Yoel Hernandez made his Major League debut by surrendering a three-run home run to Pedro Feliz on his third pitch. In explaining why he used Rosario, Castro and Hernandez, Manuel said that he only wants to use Geoff Geary to set up for Brett Myers with a lead, and use others when the Phillies are behind.
Antonio Alfonseca was unavailable after throwing 27 pitches on Friday.
As the team hopes for quick recoveries from Ryan Madson and Tom Gordon, Manuel desperately needs one of his relievers to pitch in close games when the Phillies trail by three runs or fewer."We're short in the 'pen," Manuel said. "I wanted to close the game with Geary and Myers. When we're losing the game, I wanted to go [a different way] because I figured we could hold them there in the eighth inning." In other words, if Geary is going to be used in close games regardless of whether the Phillies are winning, his right arm will fall off. Manuel has to figure out who he can use confidently. "That's who we [have], and they have to pitch," Manuel said. "We have to keep going." "We've got to pick each other up," Lieber added.
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.