He's Milton; Our Brand New Ace

Don't look now, but Eric Milton is quickly becoming a much bigger part of the Phillies rotation than many figured he would be. Milton dominated the Royals for seven innings before running out of gas. The outing was enough for the Phillies who beat Kansas City 4-2 and didn't have to dig too deeply into the bullpen to do it.

An ace is the guy who comes through with a big game when a team really needs it. He's also the guy who is expected to lead the team in wins. Well, the Phillies needed a big performance from Eric Milton (9-1) and they got it. As for wins, Milton is now tied for the league lead in wins after his latest outing. Milton allowed one earned run in seven innings of work, lowering his ERA to 4.31 on the season and beating Kansas City for the sixth straight time.

It took Milton 134 pitches to beat Kansas City, but he looked strong until the eighth inning when he left with runners on first and second and nobody out. Tim Worrell came on to get the Phillies out of the jam and preserve their 4-1 lead.

Placido Polanco and Jim Thome slammed solo homeruns for the Phillies. Polanco's came in the first inning and was a shot to left-center field. Thome hit his 21st of the season in the sixth, to the seats in right field. Thome also singled earlier in the game and was walked intentionally as the Phillies added an insurance run in the eighth inning.

Bobby Abreu led off the eighth with a double and after Thome was put on intentionally, Pat Burrell drew a walk to load the bases. Scott Sullivan then got David Bell to foul out, but walked Mike Lieberthal to force across the Phillies fourth run of the game.

The Phillies led one to nothing after Polanco's homerun when Abreu and Thome singled. A throwing error on right fielder Byron Gettis allowed both runners to move up a base. Burrell then grounded a ball to short that Angel Berroa misplayed, allowing Abreu to score and give the Phillies a 2-0 lead.

Kansas City's Zach Greinke (1-3) allowed three earned runs in six innings and suffered the loss.

Milton had kept Kansas City off the board until the eighth. Mike Sweeney and Ken Harvey led off the inning with back-to-back singles leading to Milton's exit. Worrell came on and walked Joe Randa to load the bases, but then got a double play ground ball that allowed Sweeney to score with the Royals first run of the game.

Billy Wagner came on in the ninth and got the first two hitters before walking Tony Graffanino. After Graffanino moved to second on defensive indifference, Carlos Beltran singled to make it a 4-2 game. Wagner then struck out Sweeney to end the game and record his tenth save of the season.

The series wraps up Sunday with Brian Powell (0-1, 5.14) going against Dennys Reyes (2-1, 3.54) in the series finale.


KANSAS CITY (2) VS PHILADELPHIA (4) - FINAL KANSAS CITY ab r h rbi bb so lob avg T Graffanino 2b 3 1 0 0 2 0 0 .291 C Beltran cf 5 0 2 1 0 1 1 .281 M Sweeney 1b 5 1 1 0 0 2 3 .256 K Harvey lf 4 0 2 0 0 0 2 .356 J Randa 3b 3 0 1 0 1 1 0 .280 A Berroa ss 4 0 1 0 0 0 2 .243 K Stinnett c 4 0 0 0 0 3 5 .305 B Gettis rf 2 0 0 0 2 2 1 .152 Z Greinke p 2 0 0 0 0 1 5 .000 a-D Jackson ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333 S Sullivan p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 J Grimsley p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 b-D Relaford ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .198 Totals 34 2 7 1 5 10 19 a-lined out to third for Z Greinke in the 7th; b-popped out to second for J Grimsley in the 9th. BATTING: RBI - C Beltran (48). 2-out RBI - C Beltran. Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - M Sweeney 1, K Stinnett 1, K Harvey 1, B Gettis 1, Z Greinke 3. GIDP - A Berroa. Team LOB - 10. BASERUNNING: SB - T Graffanino (7, 2nd base off E Milton/M Lieberthal), A Berroa 4 (5, 2nd base off E Milton/M Lieberthal 3, 3rd base off E Milton/M Lieberthal). FIELDING: E - B Gettis (3, throw); A Berroa (7, ground ball). DP: 2 (A Berroa-T Graffanino-M Sweeney 2). PHILADELPHIA ab r h rbi bb so lob avg J Rollins ss 3 0 0 0 1 0 0 .276 P Polanco 2b 4 1 1 1 0 0 1 .247 B Abreu rf 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 .298 J Thome 1b 3 1 2 1 1 1 1 .313 P Burrell lf 3 0 0 1 1 2 0 .284 D Bell 3b 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 .266 M Lieberthal c 2 0 0 1 1 0 1 .248 M Byrd cf 2 0 0 0 1 2 1 .224 a-R Ledee ph 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 .333 D Glanville cf 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .212 E Milton p 3 0 0 0 0 2 2 .077 T Worrell p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 b-J Michaels ph 1 0 0 0 0 0 3 .256 B Wagner p 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 Totals 29 4 6 4 5 8 17 a-struck out swinging for M Byrd in the 8th; b-lined out to second for T Worrell in the 8th. BATTING: 2B - B Abreu (15, S Sullivan). HR - P Polanco (3, 1st inning off Z Greinke 0 on, 1 Out), J Thome (21, 6th inning off Z Greinke 0 on, 0 Out). RBI - P Polanco (10), P Burrell (48), J Thome (45), M Lieberthal (25). Runners left in scoring position, 2 out - J Michaels 2, E Milton 1. GIDP - D Bell, P Polanco. Team LOB - 8. BASERUNNING: SB - D Bell (1, 2nd base off Z Greinke/K Stinnett). FIELDING: E - J Thome (6, ground ball). DP: 1 (J Rollins-P Polanco-J Thome). ---------------------------------------------------- KANSAS CITY - 000 000 011 -- 2 PHILADELPHIA - 200 001 01x -- 4 ---------------------------------------------------- KANSAS CITY ip h r er bb so hr era Z Greinke (L, 1-3) 6 5 3 3 1 6 2 3.00 S Sullivan 1 1/3 1 1 1 4 1 0 3.73 J Grimsley 2/3 0 0 0 0 1 0 3.37 PHILADELPHIA ip h r er bb so hr era E Milton (W, 9-1) 7 6 1 1 3 8 0 4.31 T Worrell (H, 11) 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.97 B Wagner (S, 10) 1 1 1 1 1 2 0 3.43 E Milton pitched to 2 batters in the 8th. IBB - B Gettis (by E Milton), M Byrd (by Z Greinke), J Thome (by S Sullivan). HBP - B Abreu (by Z Greinke); M Lieberthal (by Z Greinke). Pitches-strikes: Z Greinke 99-63; S Sullivan 32-14; J Grimsley 9-6; E Milton 134-87; T Worrell 13-6; B Wagner 19-9. Ground balls-fly balls: Z Greinke 5-7; S Sullivan 2-1; J Grimsley 0-1; E Milton 6-7; T Worrell 3-0; B Wagner 0-1. Batters faced: Z Greinke 26; S Sullivan 8; J Grimsley 2; E Milton 31; T Worrell 3; B Wagner 5. UMPIRES: HP--Mike Winters. 1B--Matt Hollowell. 2B--Tim Timmons. 3B--Bruce Froemming. T--2:57. Att--44,234. Weather: 79 degrees, clear. Wind: 16 mph, in from center.


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