Behind Moyer, Phils win twin-bill opener
Lefty tosses seven scoreless innings; Dobbs belts long ball
NEW YORK -- There are days, Jamie Moyer says, that he feels "beyond" his 45 years.There just aren't many. "Most of the time, I feel like I'm in my 30s," Moyer said. "I don't know what it feels like to be 46, 47, 48 yet, but I know I feel good now. I'm having fun being in a pennant race." For a guy who swears by the mantra of not getting too high or low during a 162-game season, Moyer was as giddy as he'll allow himself to be on Sunday afternoon. In Game 142, the lefty brought his patient, consistent brand of pitching to Shea Stadium, and he pitched the Phillies to a 6-2 win over the Mets to move the club within a game of first place in the National League East. Moyer limited the Mets to just two infield hits in seven shutout innings. "We wanted nine out of him, with no hits," manager Charlie Manuel said, with a laugh. "He gave us seven innings, two hits, no runs. That was close, but it wasn't close enough." Close enough by Manuel's standards was plenty good for the Phillies, as it allowed the team to save Chad Durbin for evening work in a doubleheader nightcap that would vault them into a first-place tie with a victory. In tying Hall of Famer Juan Marichal with his 243rd career win, Moyer swiftly tore through a lineup that now needs one win in this series to maintain a two-game division lead. His toughest challenge came in the third, with David Wright hitting and runners on first and second. Moyer got Wright to fly out to right, and the Mets didn't threaten again, scoring their two runs after the veteran southpaw left. Six outs away from being shut out by the Phillies in back-to-back games for the first time since April 20-21, 1979, the Mets plated two runs in the eighth off Scott Eyre. With the Phils stacking the lineup with lefties against Pedro Martinez, Greg Dobbs delivered a three-run homer in the fourth inning that gave Moyer breathing room. Dobbs, who also homered Friday, turned a 2-0 lead into a 5-0 cushion. Martinez has posted an 8.16 ERA in three starts, spanning 14 1/3 innings, against the Phillies this season. Making his 33rd start at third base, Dobbs also smacked a one-out double in the second that landed just over the glove of right fielder Fernando Tatis. That put runners on second and third with one out, and the Phils pushed across two runs. Not only did Philadelphia chase Martinez after four innings, but it forced New York manager Jerry Manuel to burn six relievers, which could become a factor in the second game. For the 27th time in his career and fourth time with the Phillies, Moyer allowed two hits or fewer. The fact that he's 45 has become nothing more than an awe-inspiring detail. Moyer just keeps going. Recharged and in another playoff sprint, Moyer's slow and slower combination gave the Mets little chance. Ten days earlier, he struggled in allowing six runs in three innings, but the Phillies came back to win. He forgot about that Sunday, along with his age. Told he has won more games in a season (13) at his age than any non-knuckleball pitcher in baseball history, Moyer barely flinched. "It's exciting for us to win a game," he said. "Do I take any personal pride in this? To me, it's a responsibility to be a starting pitcher and give our team a chance to win. When I'm sitting in my rocking chair in five or 10 years, maybe I'll look back on this stuff. I'm proud to have the opportunity to wear a uniform and I cherish this." With that, Moyer choked up briefly. He often jokes that he'd like to pitch until he's 50, which would match the number on his back. If he continues to pitch like he has, with a 2.96 ERA in his past 17 outings, and still loves the thrill of the race, he'll keep going. "It would be great to be able to do that," Moyer said. "At this point, it's a day at a time. We've been playing for eight months and it's coming down to the last three weeks. This is what we've been working out in the winter for, went to Spring Training for and play the season for. This is ideal. Sorry if I'm not jumping up and down, but there's a lot of baseball left. You can lose just as quickly as win."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.