04/22/09 12:58 AM ET
Phils pounce early, cruise past Brewers
Club sensing return to normalcy following blowout victory
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
"What's normal?" Jamie Moyer said following Tuesday's 11-4 victory over the Brewers at Citizens Bank Park.
Good point. But normal certainly isn't what the Phillies experienced since the season started April 5: three Opening Day ceremonies (Philadelphia, Colorado and Washington), one ring ceremony, three days off and two rainouts. And then to make everything even more difficult, Hall of Fame broadcaster Harry Kalas died April 13, casting a shadow over the past week.
"I'm hoping we can create some normalcy here, create some consistency, whether it's with the weather or just playing games," Moyer said.
They came close Tuesday.
But in the top of the seventh inning, with the Phillies holding an 11-3 lead and everything going well, the rains came, beginning a 1-hour, 18-minute delay.
"It looked very nice, very intriguing," Shane Victorino said. "It was just a tease."
But the Phillies moved back to .500 at 6-6, putting together one of their better efforts of the season, rolling over the team they beat in four games last October in the National League Division Series. The Phillies have won seven straight against the Brewers at the Bank, and 11 of 12 dating to 2006, including two victories in the NLDS.
"I don't think it has as much to do with this place as it does with their team," Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun said. "They're very well-rounded, they have great starting pitching, a great bullpen. They swing the bats well, they play good defense."
The Phillies took advantage of every Brewers mistake.
Brewers left-hander Manny Parra walked two Phillies to load the bases with one out in the first, when Jayson Werth doubled to left field to score Victorino and Chase Utley to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead. Raul Ibanez followed with a single to score Ryan Howard to make it 3-1 and Pedro Feliz singled to score Werth to make it 4-1.
Feliz hit a solo homer to right in the third to make it 5-1.
Brewers reliever Jorge Julio walked three batters in the fifth as the Phillies scored five times to take a 10-3 lead.
Jimmy Rollins, who didn't start Sunday, went 2-for-6 to raise his average from .152 to .173. Victorino went 2-for-4 with one RBI to raise his average from .222 to .245. Chase Utley went 1-for-2 with one RBI and three walks. He has reached base safely in 32 consecutive games, which is the longest current streak in Major League Baseball and the longest streak for the Phillies since Utley's 35-game hitting streak June 23-Aug. 3, 2006.
Werth went 2-for-5 with two RBIs, and Feliz went 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
Feliz is hitting .359 after struggling during Spring Training coming back from lower back surgery.
"It feels pretty good," Feliz said. "I didn't have much work in the offseason, so I wasn't swinging. I started in Spring Training. The more I do the better I get."
Moyer (2-1) allowed seven hits and four runs to pick up the win. He came close to picking up his first quality start of the season. He put two runners on to start the seventh and Chad Durbin came in and struck out Casey McGehee for the first out when the rains came.
Once play resumed, Clay Condrey tried to get Moyer out of the jam that started almost 90 minutes before. He got a fielder's choice to put runners on second and third with two outs. Braun then hit a roller a few feet up the third-base line. Nobody could make a play and a run scored.
Moyer, who has a 6.35 ERA after three starts, thought he had better command against the Brewers.
"Had a few more ground balls," Moyer said. "We played well defensively and we scored a lot of runs, which helps."
The Phillies are scheduled to play the next eight days in a row. Barring any inclement weather, it will be the most baseball they have played in a row since the Grapefruit League season ended earlier this month.
Baseball players are creatures of habit. They would like that.
"Before the game, I made a statement about the weather being real nice and sunny," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We came out and we scored early. We took advantage of Parra. We made him pitch. We got some big hits. We played pretty good."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.