Moyer, Phillies cruise in Miami
Lefty caps weekend of quality pitching in rout of Marlins
MIAMI -- Manager Charlie Manuel sees signs the Phillies are starting to break out of their traditional early April funk.
He sees most of those signs on the pitcher's mound.
Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer allowed one run in six innings Sunday in a 13-2 victory over the Marlins at Dolphin Stadium. The victory completed a three-game sweep, put the Phillies (9-8) over .500 for the second time this season and moved them into second place in the National League East, 1 1/2 games behind the slumping Marlins.
"Let me tell you something," Manuel said. "As long as we get pitching, we're going to win games."
The Phillies had little quality pitching before the weekend. They were 6-8 and carried a 6.31 ERA into the series, the worst mark in the NL. They had just four quality starts, the fewest in baseball.
But then right-hander Brett Myers allowed three runs in six innings in Friday's 7-3 victory, and right-hander Chan Ho Park allowed four runs in seven innings in Saturday's 6-4 victory in 10 innings. Moyer continued his dominance over the Marlins, and the bullpen allowed just one run in 10 innings all weekend.
The Phillies had a 2.89 ERA in three games against the Marlins.
"As long as we're winning games, I don't care how we pitch," Moyer said. "You want to pitch well and win games, but it's a process and it's a long season. We're starting to put one foot in front of the other and find a little more consistency.
"We're swinging the bats well. We're staying in the game. That's important, too."
The offense got things going both early and late, which was a change of pace for them. The Phillies entered Sunday having a scored a Major League-leading 40 runs in the seventh inning or later.
They took advantage of the Marlins' mistakes Sunday. Florida right-hander Graham Taylor allowed four hits, four runs and six walks in 3 2/3 innings to spot the Phillies a 4-0 lead. The Marlins walked 11 batters -- the first time the Phillies walked 11 times in a nine-inning game since Sept. 16, 2007, against the Mets at Shea Stadium -- and things got so bad for the depleted Marlins bullpen that outfielder Cody Ross pitched the ninth.
Shane Victorino went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Pedro Feliz went 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Ryan Howard went 2-for-5 with one RBI.
It was the first time this season the Phillies hadn't trailed in a game.
"It's always nice to have a comfortable lead, but it's going to work out like that all year round," said Chase Utley, who added two RBIs.
Nothing had come easy for the Phillies early. Because of days off and rainouts, Sunday marked the first time this season that they have played six consecutive days. Manuel and his team had lamented the breaks in the schedule the first few weeks of the season because baseball players are creatures of habit and love their routines.
Maybe that played a role in the team's success, too -- they're finally just playing baseball again.
"This game is very repetitious," Utley said. "Guys get into routines, so it's nice to be back on that routine."
But besides the improved pitching and getting back into a routine, Manuel has seen something else recently that he likes.
He has seen a good attitude.
Manuel expressed concern before a rainout April 13 that some players on the team have had a different attitude since the Phillies won the World Series.
It is remarkable what a little winning can do.
"I like the attitude on our team," Manuel said. "We've got some good talent. We've got some guys that love to play. We've got guys who know how to play. And hopefully our team knows what it takes to win because we did.
"Some good self-evaluation sometimes takes care of all those things. A couple 0-for-4's, pitching and getting hit, getting banged around a little bit, sometimes things have to wake you up."
The Phillies open a three-game series against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park.
"Hopefully we bring some of this momentum back home with us and continue to play good baseball," Moyer said. "That's all we can ask from ourselves."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.