05/25/09 11:37 PM ET
Howard hammers pair, but Phillies fall
Moyer denied 250th win; Victorino's gaffe proves costly
By Todd Zolecki / MLB.com
He knew it, too.
"I made a stupid mistake," he said following Monday night's 5-3 Phillies loss to the Marlins.
Victorino worked a leadoff walk in the bottom of the ninth inning. Pinch-hitter Matt Stairs, who has hit 16 pinch-hit home runs in his career, not including his blast in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series, stepped into the batter's box representing the tying run. The crowd buzzed with anticipation, but then Victorino surprised everybody in the ballpark, including Phillies manager Charlie Manuel.
Victorino tried to steal second base.
Marlins catcher Ronny Paulino threw him out and the Phils went away quietly in the ninth as they dropped to a puzzling 8-13 at home this season.
"I told myself, 'Stay out of the double play,' but I need to be safe," Victorino said. "There's no excuses to the fact that I [screwed] up. It was a stupid situation there. I'll face the reality that I messed up."
Victorino's blunder isn't the only reason why the Phillies lost. It just had Manuel talking afterward how his club didn't play a good game. The Phillies managed just six hits -- two of them home runs from Ryan Howard -- and Jamie Moyer made some costly mistakes in six innings as he fell to 3-5 with a 7.42 ERA.
Moyer, who entered the night 12-1 with a 2.84 ERA in his career against the Marlins, retired nine of the first 11 batters he faced before he walked Hanley Ramirez on four pitches to start the fourth. He then walked Jorge Cantu on five pitches to put runners on first and second with nobody out.
"Walks kill you," Moyer said. "That's the game right there."
Former Phillies infielder Wes Helms stepped into the batter's box to a smattering of boos. Moyer got the count to 2-2 when he threw a fastball on the inside corner that home-plate umpire Marvin Hudson called a ball.
It looked like a strike.
"It really doesn't matter what I think," Moyer said. "You probably need to go ask Marvin. I'm not happy when it happens, but it is what it is and you have to make the next pitch."
Helms belted Moyer's 3-2 changeup into the left-field stands for a three-run home run to give the Marlins a 3-2 lead. It was Helms' first homer since Sept. 28, 2008, and first four-RBI game since Sept. 9, 2004.
The Marlins scored another run against Moyer in the sixth. Paulino, who the Phillies traded before the end of Spring Training, knocked in the run with a single to make it 4-2. Manuel had wanted Moyer to pitch around Paulino to get pitcher Chris Volstad into the batter's box -- or at least force the Marlins to pinch-hit for him to get him out of the game.
Moyer got to 3-0 to Paulino as instructed, but made a mistake on the fourth pitch and Paulino hit it.
"Yeah, a pitcharound and I really didn't do a good job with that either," Moyer said. "I should have just thrown it off the backstop."
In six innings, Moyer allowed seven hits, four runs, two walks and one home run. He struck out five.
"The final result's not there," Moyer said. "It's a work in progress. I'm pleased I threw strikes. I got ahead in the count for the most part."
Moyer went 0-4 with a 9.62 ERA in five starts in May. It was the worst month of his career since he went 0-5 with a 9.84 ERA in August 2000, when he pitched for the Mariners.
"He hasn't been in this game for 20 years and not probably had a bad month," Howard said. "People talking about his age, it's got nothing to do with him when he's throwing well. Nobody in here is worried about him. We know that he's going to bounce back."
Moyer thinks so, too.
"I feel like I'm back to where I need to be," he said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.