Lidge secures series win for Moyer, Phils
Closer feels good in return; lefty notches 252nd victory
TORONTO -- It didn't take long for Phillies closer Brad Lidge to be tested in his club's 5-4 win over the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sunday.
Entering the ninth inning with a one-run lead, Lidge was making his first appearance in a save situation since returning from a sprained right knee that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.
The first batter Lidge faced, Raul Chavez, laid down a bunt that forced Lidge to test his right knee by sprinting off the mound to field the ball. After the right-hander wasn't able to get Chavez at first base, he took a second to gather himself.
"I walked around the mound just to kind of take inventory and make sure everything felt all right," Lidge said. "And it did. That was huge for me to know that I didn't need to worry about that."
Following that play, Lidge put another runner aboard, but with the help of pinch-runner John McDonald's baserunning miscue that forced a rundown -- also testing Lidge's knee -- the Phillies' closer was able to bear down and record his 14th save of the season and first since June 1.
The win allowed Philadelphia (39-34) to capture a victory for just the fourth time in its past 15 games. As well, the Phillies were able to secure their first series victory since taking two of three from the Mets from June 9-11.
Though it was an important "W" for the club, having Lidge earn a save was a close second, according to manager Charlie Manuel. Lidge has had his share of struggles this year, as his 7.86 ERA entering Sunday's affair would show.
"He needs to go out there and he needs some confidence," Manuel said. "He needs to get through like he did today, and I think that was the best thing about today -- No. 1 was we won the game, but No. 2 was he got through that inning and saved the game.
"I think anytime he can do that it's going to help him."
When he's going right, Lidge is the anchor of the bullpen. It's something that the right-hander -- who notched 41 saves for the Phillies last year -- knows.
The 32-year-old feels he's overcome a large hump now that his knee is fully healthy. Being able to use his right leg to "drive" off during his pitching motion has allowed Lidge to throw his fastball with more velocity and better location.
"There's no question that, obviously, I need to get out there and get the job done now and get back to that locked-in feeling that I had last year," Lidge said. "But I think that this is what's going to allow me to do it. I just need to keep doing it."
Philadelphia's offense did its part to get Lidge a lead to work with. Trailing, 4-1, entering the fourth inning, the Phils staged a comeback against Toronto starter Brian Tallet (5-5). After Philadelphia scored twice in the frame to cut the deficit to one run, Chase Utley delivered a go-ahead two-run triple to right-center field.
Toronto (41-36) teed off against Philadelphia starter Jamie Moyer to begin the game, which led to the early deficit. Jays second baseman Aaron Hill opened the scoring in the first with a solo home run off Moyer. Then, in the second frame, Jose Bautista contributed a two-run homer, before Hill launched another solo shot in the third.
"I made a number of bad pitches and the ones I made that were bad got hit hard," Moyer said.
However, the left-hander settled down over the next two innings to collect the victory. Moyer (6-6) went five innings, allowing the four runs on five hits. He walked two, struck out four and threw 82 pitches. With the 252nd victory of his career, Moyer passed Hall of Famer Bob Gibson for 43rd on the all-time list.
Relievers Chan Ho Park and Ryan Madson combined to throw three innings, paving the way for Lidge, who said he felt something during Sunday's game that he had not experienced in a while.
"The difference was today that I really felt that I had control of the game," said Lidge. "I didn't feel like the game was out of control."
David Singh is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.