09/21/07 12:04 AM ET
Relievers play key role in comeback
'Pen shuts out Nats for seven innings after Lohse's exit
By Michael Phillips / MLB.com
That's where starting pitcher Kyle Lohse watched the final innings of a 7-6 comeback on TV after being shelled for two innings by the Nationals offense.
"I've been there," reliever J.D. Durbin said. "It's frustrating. It's not fun to come in and sit for seven innings while your team is still playing. For him to come in here and watch a win makes him feel better."
The Phillies used six pitchers out of the bullpen, and all of them did their part in keeping the game close enough for the offense to strike.
"With this offense, giving them that much time to catch up was huge," Lohse said. "They did a great job of coming in, shutting it down and giving us a chance tonight."
Manager Charlie Manuel called the bullpen the team's key to success, and if they were fatigued from two extra-inning games and a long flight from St. Louis, they didn't show it on Thursday.
Because the club's roster expands from 25 to 40 players in September, the team can stock more pitchers to keep arms fresh for the stretch run. On Thursday, Manuel didn't even have to ask Geoff Geary to fill an inning or two.
"We've got a lot of arms down there if we need them," said Kane Davis, who pitched two innings. "We're not concerned about it."
While the Phillies' bullpen shined, the Nationals' bullpen was unable to maintain a strong outing from pitcher Jason Bergmann. Relievers Luis Ayala and Arnie Munoz gave up two runs each in the crucial seventh inning.
It was a nice chance of pace for Davis, who didn't see that kind of support when he was pitching at Triple-A Ottawa.
"[In Ottawa] the chances of us scoring a bunch of runs was small," Davis said. "Here, at any given time, we're going to put runs on the board."
It was a home run from pinch-hitter Jayson Werth that started the rally, and Jimmy Rollins crossed the plate with the tying run on a ground ball from Chase Utley.
J.C. Romero, the team's pitcher at the time, picked up the win, with Brett Myers coming out in the ninth for his 18th save of the season.
The Phillies bullpen has been so efficient this year at holding leads, the bench didn't panic when they fell into an early hole.
"We don't look forward to being behind, but we stay on it," Manuel said. "Any time we get behind, if you look at the dugout, we're ready to go."
Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.