Phillies bats get Lohse win
Rowand's late homer proves to be the difference
PHILADELPHIA -- Kyle Lohse got a warm welcome during his home debut -- partly from the fans and partly from the 102-degree wet blanket tossed over Citizens Bank Park.Lohse, though, managed to keep his cool, slogging through 6 1/3 innings to help beat the Marlins, 6-4. The win was Lohse's first since the Phillies acquired him in a trade with the Reds on July 30. He had lasted just an inning during his Phillies debut, hitting two batters and walking in a run before being hit by a line drive, ending his night. But there were no such problems for Lohse on Wednesday, save for the heavy air. "It wasn't any problem getting warm out there," he said. "It felt like it was 1,000 degrees." He was able to beat the heat for the most part, scattering six hits and book-ending his start with two pair of scoreless innings. He gave up a home run to Marlins pitcher Dontrelle Willis in the third and a solo shot to Miguel Cabrera in the fourth that landed in the bushes beyond center field. But, as has become their custom, the Phillies offense overcame all pitching shortcomings. "We could have scored more," manager Charlie Manuel said. Philadelphia scored three runs in the bottom of the third to erase the deficit created by Willis' homer and Aaron Rowand hit a two-run homer in the sixth. Rowand's shot scored Ryan Howard, who only made it to first after thinking his potential double had sliced foul when it had actually landed in the corner. "I had no idea where it was," Howard said. "It felt like it had a slice on it." Not that it mattered. Rowand homered in back-to-back games for the second time this season. And it staked the Phillies to a lead Rowand figured his newest teammate could hold. "I've seen [Lohse] probably more than anybody in this clubhouse," he said. "He can throw. He's got four or five pitches, and he can throw them all for strikes." With just the two-run lead heading into the eighth, Manuel got the opportunity to test his mended bullpen in a pressure situation. Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless eighth inning and Brett Myers struck out three in the ninth to pick up his ninth save. Both were still working their way back from the disabled list less than a month ago. "That's the perfect scenario, what we saw tonight," Myers said. For Myers, the outing was a comeback statement of sorts. It was against the Marlins when Myers threw out his shoulder and landed on the disabled list. "It's the team I got hurt against," he said. "I can't let them see that." What they saw was how dangerous the back end of the Phillies bullpen has become with the duo healthy. Gordon touched 94 on the radar during his scoreless eighth. "Once you start juggling guys around and everybody starts finding their spot to get into, you find some confidence and things seem to work out," Gordon said. "It worked out pretty well for us tonight." The Phillies moved to seven games over .500, matching a season high. They remained within four games of the first-place Mets, moving into sole possession of second in the National League East with Atlanta's loss. Willis extended a winless streak dating back to May 29. With the loss, he became the losingest pitcher in Marlins' history.
He pitched well early on Wednesday, but struggled at times with his control and left after 5 1/3 innings.His home run seemed to shock Lohse. The left-handed Willis pulled Lohse's offering within a couple feet of the second deck to give the Marlins a 2-1 lead. But Lohse, with his arm still black and blue from the shot he took last week, warmed quickly. The right-hander is aware of the potent offense behind him, but said he couldn't use it as a crutch during his time at Philadelphia. "I don't go out there and think, 'I can't give up this many runs'," Lohse said. "You got a job to do, and that's make pitches." The win improved Lohse's record to 7-12 overall, including his 6-12 record with the Reds.
He survived the heat and added pressure of pitching his first game in Philadelphia, where the ballpark isn't as spacious as some."These last two nights are probably the hottest night games we've ever played," Rowand said. For Lohse, it was nearly no sweat.
Stephen Fastenau is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.