Phils increase NL East lead

September 21, 2008 4:38:33 PM PDT
Pitching in 90-degree sunshine, Jamie Moyer came out of the game after six innings, which allowed the oldest player in the majors to save some energy. He may need it in October.

Moyer and the Philadelphia Phillies increased their lead in the NL East, beating the Florida Marlins 5-2 Sunday and taking 1½-game edge over the New York Mets.

After the Mets blew a late lead and lost at Atlanta 7-6, the Phillies won for the ninth time in their past 10 games.

Philadelphia returns home Monday for the final week of the regular season - three games against the Braves and three against Washington.

Florida remained five games behind the Mets in the wild-card race with seven games left.

While the playoff race may yet spring surprises, Moyer against the Marlins was close to a sure thing. The 45-year-old left-hander improved to 11-1 against Florida, with the lone loss coming the last time he faced them Aug. 5.

Moyer (15-7) departed after 94 pitches with a 3-1 lead. Five relievers took care of the final three innings, including Brad Lidge, who threw 29 pitches in the ninth and stranded two runners for his 40th save in as many chances.

Chase Utley hit his 32nd home run, his first since Aug. 22, and Pedro Feliz added his 14th. The Phillies set a franchise record by hitting a homer in their 17th consecutive game, and they went 5-1 on their final trip of the regular season to finish 44-37 on the road.

Chris Volstad (5-4) allowed three runs, two earned, in five innings. Florida's John Baker went 4-for-5, but rookie Cameron Maybin went 0-for-5 and finished his first week in the majors batting .476.

Trailing 3-0, the Marlins scored their only run against Moyer in the sixth. Josh Willingham doubled to improve to 2-for-22 against the lefty, then came home on Alfredo Amezaga's two-out single.

Florida added a run in the seventh to make it 3-2 when Baker doubled and scored on Jorge Cantu's single. After the Marlins loaded the bases, Clay Condrey got Cody Ross to bounce out to end the inning.

Feliz hit a two-run homer in the eighth. Lidge gave up a single and a walk in the ninth, then struck out pinch hitter Dallas McPherson on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

The Phillies took the lead in the third when Jimmy Rollins led off with a double and Utley homered, then added an unearned run in the fourth. Carlos Ruiz singled with two out, and Moyer's shallow fly was dropped after a long run by right fielder Ross. Rollins' RBI infield single made it 3-0.

Notes: SS Hanley Ramirez was chosen the Marlins' most valuable player by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Volstad was chosen rookie of the year. ... The Marlins finished 45-36 at home. ... Philadelphia's Jayson Werth went 1-for-14 in the series with eight strikeouts, and teammate Pat Burrell went 3-for-24 on the trip.


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