Inside Pitch: Phils, Dodgers Split Two

It took a Bobby Abreu three-run homerun in the bottom of the ninth, but the Phillies finally picked up their first win of the season Sunday. The Phillies became the last team to win a game in the 2006 season.

The Phillies entered Sunday's doubleheader against the Dodgers with an 0-4 record that was earned with poor play in all aspects of the game.

Right-hander Ryan Madson made his second big-league start in the first game after two seasons as a reliever. What he didn't need was for his defense to give Los Angeles extra outs, yet in the first inning the Phillies' two best defensive players did exactly that by losing balls in the sun.

The first victim of day blindness was center fielder Aaron Rowand. Rafael Furcal led off the game with a high fly to center, where Rowand fought a losing battle with the sun and had the ball pop off his mitt for a two-base error. Later in the inning Bill Mueller hit a pop up behind third base that shortstop Jimmy Rollins struggled to find in the high sky and had bounce off of the heel of his mitt and to the ground. That allowed the second unearned run of the inning to score.

"I can't blame anybody for that," said Madson. "Those guys are going to make so many more great plays for me than they'll mess up. It was a tough sun."

Only one entity proved itself to be tougher - Madson. After allowing a solo home run to Dioner Navarro to lead off the second inning, the right-hander righted the ship, battled his way through six innings and kept the Phils in the game, a game they eventually won 6-3.

"That's my job," said Madson, who threw 107 pitches. "I wanted to go seven (innings), but in the end it worked out." Madson threw 107 pitches, the most by a Phillies pitcher this season.

"He did a really good job," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He kept his composure."

REPLAY: The Phillies became the last team in the majors to win a game in 2006 when they ended a four-game skid with a 6-3 win over the Dodgers in the first game of a double-header. It took Bobby Abreu's three-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to end the funk. It was the third walk-off home run of Abreu's career. However, they returned to their losing ways in the nightcap, as Jon Lieber lost a pitching duel to Brad Penny and reliever Aaron Fultz allowed four runs in the final two innings to let the Dodgers to bust open a tight game and win 6-2. Abreu followed his clutch homer in the opener with three hits and two RBI in the nightcap, but the rest of the Phillies managed just four hits.


  • Pat Burrell continues to labor when he tries to run, as a sore foot and hamstring aren't improving. Burrell didn't play in the second game of Sunday's double-header and often will be replaced late in games for pinch runners and defensive substitutes.
  • Jimmy Rollins has started a new hitting streak after his 38-game run end Thursday. Rollins has picked up hits in the three games since his team-record streak ended, and he's hitting .333 (8-for-24) this season.
  • Ryan Howard isn't off to a strong start against left-handed pitchers in the regular season. The left-handed-hitting slugger was overmatched by Dodgers rookie southpaw reliever Hong-Chih Kuo in two head-to-head showdowns this weekend, striking out both times.

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