Cormier Closes Out Padilla's Gem; Phillies Win 1-0

Jose Mesa has officially been replaced as the Phillies closer. The official word is that the Phils will now go with a closer-by-committee approach, but if Friday night is any indication, Rheal Cormier may be the head of that committee. The left-hander put down the Mets in quick order in the ninth inning, saving a gem pitched by Vicente Padilla.

The Phillies are finding out what the Atlanta Braves have known for years. Starting pitching can carry a team pretty far.

Vicente Padilla carried the Phillies Friday night, throwing eight shutout innings against the New York Mets. Padilla struck out 10 and threw 129 pitches, keeping the Mets off pace through out the night. Padilla helped himself out with a great play on a ground ball by Roger Cedeno to end a Mets threat.

The Mets got a strong outing from their starter, Jae Seo. The rookie right-hander allowed just three hits over 7 1/3 innings. At one point, Seo retired 15 straight Phillies.

Seo did appear to tire a little in the seventh and started to struggle with his control. Somewhat surprisingly, Seo came out to start the eighth inning and started the inning by walking Nick Punto. Tomas Perez stepped up to pinch-hit for Padilla, attempting to sacrifice Punto to second. Perez' first attempt was popped behind catcher Mike Lieberthal, who dove but couldn't make the catch. Perez then put down a perfect bunt to move Punto to second base. Marlon Byrd the snuck a ground ball just through the left side of the infield and Punto didn't hesitate around third, scoring the only run of the game. The Phillies continued to threaten in the inning, but came up empty. Jimmy Rollins followed Byrd's hit with a walk off Mike Stanton who came on in relief of Seo. Stanton struggled with his control and walked Bobby Abreu to load the bases with one out for Jim Thome. Stanton rebounded to strike out Thome for the second out of the inning. Art Howe then went to Grant Roberts, who got Mike Lieberthal to ground out to end the inning.

Rheal Cormier came on as the Phillies closer in the ninth and breezed through the inning. Cormier struck out Jason Phillips to start the inning and got pinch-hitter Raul Gonzalez to ground out to short for the second out of the inning. The Mets then went to Tony Clark, another pinch-hitter, who bounced a ball back to Cormier for the final out of the inning and Cormier's first save of the season. The save was also just the second of his career. Cormier's first career save came more than two years ago and was also against the Mets.

The series continues Saturday night when the Phillies send Brett Myers (12-7, 4.21) to the mound to take on Jeremy Griffiths (1-1, 5.72).


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