Phillies finally find some offense

May 21, 2008 7:54:32 PM PDT
Pedro Feliz's home run landed in the left field bullpen. Shane Victorino put one just inside the left foul pole. Ryan Howard didn't play around at all, launching shots into both decks in right-center. After scoring only one run in their previous two games, the Philadelphia Phillies' high-octane offense returned with a dose of extra flourish Wednesday night. An eight-run sixth inning was only part of the fun in a 12-2 rout of the Washington Nationals.

Howard went 3-for-5 and drove in four runs with a double and his 11th and 12th homers. Victorino and Feliz had three hits each as the Phillies piled up 15 hits and a season-high in runs.

Jamie Moyer (4-3) took the easy victory by throwing six scoreless innings, thanks in large part to an inept Nationals offense that kept failing with runners in scoring position.

Washington was on the way to getting shut out for the second consecutive night until two meaningless runs in the seventh off reliever Clay Condrey, who nevertheless was credited with his first save for three innings of work.

Matt Chico (0-6), getting a fill-in start for Shawn Hill (sore elbow), had been pitching well since his recent demotion to the bullpen, but he did nothing to make a case for returning to the starting rotation. He allowed Howard's RBI double in the first, Feliz's home run in the second and homers by Victorino and Howard in the fifth as he ERA moved up to 6.19.

He left the game just in time to avoid the ugly sixth, when reliever Jesus Colome pitched to seven batters and retired one. The wildest play came when Victorino singled to right with the bases loaded. Outfielder Elijah Dukes' throw went off first baseman Dmitri Young's glove and into the camera well next to the Phillies dugout. The error was charged to Young, and it allowed two runs to score.

Two batters later, Howard deposited the first pitch from Chris Schroder into the bleachers. Two more hits and a walk followed before the sarcastic applause from the home fans greeted a strikeout by Moyer - the 13th batter of the inning.

The Nationals, meanwhile, put on their own hitting clinic: a perfect how-not-to-do-this video. They had men on first and third with no outs in the second and fourth innings and failed to score both times. In the third, there was a man on second with no outs - with the same fruitless result.

Dukes, in particular, had a terrible night. He twice struck out with men on first and third and was booed back to the dugout both times. He got his own sarcastic cheer when he singled to center to lead off the seventh. He later hit into a double play and ended the game with a batting average of .067, the worst among an outfield corps that is hovering near .200 as a group.

Notes: Howard had his 13th career multihomer game. ... Moyer made his debut at the new Nationals Park, the 46th major league ballpark for the 45-year-old pitcher. He tied teammate Rudy Seanez for most among active pitchers. ... The Nationals started an outfield (Lastings Milledge, Wily Mo Pena, Dukes) that has combined for one home run all season. ... As poorly as the Nationals played, the most embarrassing moment came in the eighth when third baseman Feliz misjudged a popup off the bat of Jesus Flores. Flores, incredibly, was awarded a hit.