Phils Win First Battle in War of Pitching Staffs

If you like seeing high-scoring baseball, stay out of Philadelphia this week. There won't be much for you to see. The first game of the series was just what everybody expected as the Phillies found just enough offense to beat the Dodgers 2-0 to remain on top in the National League Wild Card race.

The Phillies had lost a season-high four games coming into their series with the Dodgers and badly needed a big outing from Vicente Padilla (10-8) and just enough offense to beat the offensively challenged Dodgers; They got both. Padilla handled Los Angeles through eight innings and Dan Plesac and Jose Mesa finished off the Dodgers in the ninth. Plus, Bobby Abreu gave the Phillies enough offense for a 2-0 win.

Padilla pitched eight innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth. On the night, Padilla allowed just three hits and a walk and lowered his ERA to 3.66 on the season, while winning his tenth game of the year. Padilla finished throwing 102 pitches, 72 of which were strikes. Plesac came on to retire Shawn Green to start the ninth and then exited in favor of Jose Mesa. It didn't take Mesa long to put down Paul LoDuca and Jeremy Burnitz to end the game and record his 20th save of the season.

Kaz Ishii (9-5) pitched well for the Dodgers, allowing three hits and striking out seven in six innings of work. Two of the hits that he gave up were to Mike Lieberthal who has been a thorn in Ishii's side throughout their respective careers.

Lieberthal's first hit of the night was a leadoff single in the second. Bobby Abreu then stepped to the plate and took Ishii's pitch to right center field for his 17th homerun of the season, which gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead that would stand up through the rest of the game. Lieberthal's night wasn't limited to offense. He threw out Dave Roberts trying to steal second after he reached base by being hit with a Padilla pitch.

Besides Lieberthal's two singles and Abreu's homerun, the only other hit for the Phillies was a bunt single to start the bottom of the eight inning.

The series continues Wednesday night with Brett Myers (10-6, 3.65) going against veteran Kevin Brown (10-5, 2.12).

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