Phillies beat the Brewers, 3-1

April 24, 2008 2:56:59 PM PDT
The way Pat Burrell is hitting these days, even being down two strikes doesn't seem to matter. Burrell's two-out, two-run double on an 0-2 count broke a tie in the eighth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies' bullpen held strong in a 3-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

"Big knock," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's swinging good, man. He's hot."

Burrell's latest bash ran his RBI total to 25, best in the major leagues. Burrell has reached base in 21 straight games after going 1-for-2 with two walks Thursday.

Manuel attributed Burrell's hot hitting to a subtle adjustment to his batting stance, and said Burrell's ability to hit with two strikes is a sign of confidence.

"If you have a good approach with two strikes, and you get a few hits here and there, you start building some confidence with it and you're not worried about hitting with two strikes," Burrell said.

But Burrell might not have had a chance to put the Phillies ahead if not for a strong relief outing by Tom Gordon, who ensured that the Brewers' chance to break the game open was gone in a flash.

Gordon (1-2) pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh to earn the victory. Manuel has been saying since spring training that Gordon's health and productivity is the key to the Phillies' bullpen.

At age 45, Phillies starter Jamie Moyer has just about seen it all, and says Gordon is back to the form he showed in the 1990s.

"He looks like the guy that I saw as a starter in Kansas City, eons ago," Moyer said. "He looks like the guy that I saw as a teammate in Boston."

With Brad Lidge, who earned his fifth save in five tries, and J.C. Romero, Moyer said the Phillies have three "legitimate" closers in their bullpen.

"It's a nice luxury to have on your team, because it can really shorten the game," Moyer said.

Moyer wasn't so bad himself, giving up one run and eight hits in six-plus innings against a Brewers lineup that has feasted on left-handers this season - all with his father-in-law, former Notre Dame basketball coach and current ESPN analyst Digger Phelps, in attendance.

Trying to impress the family?

"No," Moyer said.

The Brewers blew a chance to add to their 1-0 lead in the fourth, twice paying for aggressive baserunning. Corey Hart was thrown out trying to stretch a double into a triple to lead off the inning. Later, Bill Hall was picked off while trying to steal second base.

Brewers manager Ned Yost seemed OK with Hart's aggressive play.

"They made a great play to throw him out," Yost said.

The Phillies came back to tie on a solo homer by Jayson Werth in the sixth, then were bailed out of a big inning by Gordon in the seventh.

Hall led off the inning with a double off Moyer, and J.J. Hardy singled to give the Brewers runners on first and third with no outs. Gordon came on and struck out pinch hitter Tony Gwynn Jr., but walked Jason Kendall to load the bases. Gordon then struck out Rickie Weeks and got Gabe Kapler hit into a force out at second to end the inning.

Burrell's deep drive to the left field corner capped the Phillies' two-out rally off Brewers reliever David Riske (0-1), who got the first two outs of the inning before walking Greg Dobbs and giving up a single to Chase Utley.

"The team played great and I blew it," Riske said.

Brewers starter Jeff Suppan gave up a run and five hits in seven innings, walking three and striking out three for his fourth straight no-decision.

Notes: Burrell's 24 RBIs this month are a club record for April. ... Suspended Milwaukee center fielder Mike Cameron was scheduled to report to Triple-A Nashville on Thursday. He is eligible to return to the Brewers on Tuesday. ... Philadelphia's Ryan Howard, batting .181 with four home runs in the first 22 games of the season, was not in the lineup for the first time but entered the game as a pinch hitter in the eighth, striking out and staying in the game to play first base. Manuel said he would likely try to rest Howard again Friday.