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Phillies move into wild-card tie with victory

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PHILADELPHIA -- Now that the Philadelphia Phillies are atop the NL wild-card standings, they have to find a way to stay there.

Jon Lieber pitched six strong innings and Bobby Abreu hit a two-run double, leading the Phillies over the Washington Nationals 4-3 Wednesday night.

On a day Terrell Owens' return to the Eagles after being dismissed for a week dominated the news in Philadelphia, the Phillies moved into a tie with Houston for first in the wild-card race, and Washington remained a half-game behind.

"We've got a long ways to go, but I'm glad we caught them," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

Philadelphia hasn't reached the postseason since losing the World Series in 1993. The Phillies were in the playoff race in the final month three of the last four years, but faltered each time.

"The intensity of the players is different," Abreu said. "The way we play shows everyone we've got the right team."

Lieber (12-10) allowed two runs and three hits to win his third straight start after losing six of seven decisions. He retired the side in order five times, and got the last 10 batters he faced out.

"My location got better as the game went on," Lieber said. "I kind of got into a rhythm."

Billy Wagner pitched the ninth for his 28th save in 30 chances. Ryan Madson worked out of a jam in the seventh after giving up a run. Ugueth Urbina pitched a scoreless eighth.

After the Nationals scored twice to tie it at 2-all in the third, the Phillies went ahead for good in the bottom half.

Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off the inning against Esteban Loaiza (7-9). Kenny Lofton followed with a double. After Chase Utley bounced out to third, Abreu drove in both runners with a double high off the wall in left-center, giving the Phillies a 4-2 lead.

The Nationals were in position to tie it in the seventh, but couldn't get a runner in from third with one out. Preston Wilson started with a single against Madson and Brian Schneider doubled. Castilla's sacrifice fly to right scored Wilson and moved Schneider to third.

But pinch-hitter Carlos Baerga popped out to third base and Ryan Church, batting for reliever Luis Ayala, grounded to second.

"We've had trouble all year with a runner on third and less than two outs," Nationals manager Frank Robinson said. "Baerga knows how to hit. He just didn't get it done tonight."

Loaiza gave up four runs and 10 hits in 5 2/3 innings.

Castilla's solo homer cut it to 2-1, and Jose Vidro's two-out single scored Cristian Guzman, who doubled, to tie it in the third.

The Phillies took a 2-0 lead in the first on Utley's sacrifice fly and an RBI double by Pat Burrell.

"In the first inning, all my pitches were right down the middle," Loaiza said. "I couldn't get the ball where I wanted."

Notes

  • The Nationals optioned OF Brandon Watson after the game, and will recall LHP John Halama.
  • Rollins had two hits in his first two at-bats after entering in a 2-for-35 slump.
  • Abreu was 1-for-15 against Loaiza before his double in the third.
  • Castilla has three homers in his last nine games and nine this season.
  • The teams play a day-night doubleheader on Thursday, and have two more series in Washington next month.
  • Burrell has reached safely in 17 straight games, and has 11 RBI in the last 11 games.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Jon Lieber tosses six strong innings, helping the Phillies move into a tie for the wild-card lead. (AP)
Jon Lieber tosses six strong innings, helping the Phillies move into a tie for the wild-card lead. (AP)

Players of the Game
Philadelphia

B. Abreu
AB 3
R 0
H 1
HR 0
RBI 2
Philadelphia

J. Lieber
IP 6.0
H 3
ER 2
BB 1
K 4
 
Washington Nationals
Brad Wilkerson, RF4000011 .254
Jose Vidro, 2B4011000 .278
Nick Johnson, 1B3000100 .311
Jose Guillen, LF4010002 .303
Preston Wilson, CF4110021 .257
Brian Schneider, C3010000 .291
   a- Tony Blanco, PH1000011 .224
Vinny Castilla, 3B3112011 .242
Cristian Guzman, SS2110000 .190
   b- Carlos Baerga, PH1000001 .264
    Jamey Carroll, SS0000000 .236
Esteban Loaiza, P1000010 .196
    Luis Ayala, P0000000 .333
   c- Ryan Church, PH1000001 .293
    Joey Eischen, P0000000 .333
    Gary Majewski, P0000000 .000
Totals31363168 
a-struck out for Schneider in the 9th
b-popped out for Guzman in the 7th
c-grounded out for Ayala in the 7th
Batting
2B - Brian Schneider (18, Madson), Cristian Guzman (8, Lieber)
HR - Vinny Castilla (9, Lieber)
SF - Vinny Castilla (3)
SH - Esteban Loaiza (5)
RBI - Jose Vidro (28), Vinny Castilla 2 (53)
2-OUT RBI - Jose Vidro (9)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
DP - Schneider-Guzman-Vidro, Vidro-Guzman-N. Johnson
E - Brad Wilkerson (5, Wild throw)
Washington Nationals
Esteban Loaiza (L,7-9) 5.21044130 3.64
Luis Ayala 0.1000010 2.71
Joey Eischen 1.1000010 3.80
Gary Majewski 0.2000000 3.12
Pitches-Strikes - Esteban Loaiza 91-60, Luis Ayala 6-5, Joey Eischen 15-11, Gary Majewski 5-4
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Esteban Loaiza 6-6, Joey Eischen 1-2, Gary Majewski 2-0
Batters Faced - Esteban Loaiza 26, Luis Ayala 1, Joey Eischen 4, Gary Majewski 2
Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Rollins, SS4220000 .269
Kenny Lofton, CF4220000 .310
Chase Utley, 2B3001012 .298
Bobby Abreu, RF3012101 .294
Pat Burrell, LF4011002 .284
Ryan Howard, 1B4010022 .277
David Bell, 3B3010000 .249
Todd Pratt, C3020000 .262
Jon Lieber, P2000011 .059
   a- Jason Michaels, PH1000013 .305
    Ryan Madson, P0000000 .000
    Ugueth Urbina, P0000000 .000
    Billy Wagner, P0000000 .500
Totals3141041511 
a-struck out for Lieber in the 6th
Batting
2B - Kenny Lofton (8, Loaiza), Bobby Abreu (24, Loaiza), Pat Burrell (20, Loaiza)
SF - Chase Utley (5)
RBI - Chase Utley (69), Bobby Abreu 2 (73), Pat Burrell (88)
2-OUT RBI - Pat Burrell (44)
Team LOB - 5
Philadelphia Phillies
Jon Lieber (W,12-10) 6322141 4.85
Ryan Madson (H,28) 1211000 3.51
Ugueth Urbina (H,10) 1000000 3.38
Billy Wagner (S,28) 1100020 1.74
Pitches-Strikes - Jon Lieber 70-46, Ryan Madson 13-10, Ugueth Urbina 10-6, Billy Wagner 19-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jon Lieber 7-7, Ryan Madson 1-2, Billy Wagner 1-0
Batters Faced - Jon Lieber 22, Ryan Madson 5, Ugueth Urbina 3, Billy Wagner 4
Game Information
Attendance - 33450
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 82
Umpires - Home - Alfonso Marquez, First Base - Ted Barrett, Second Base - Rob Drake, Third Base - Rick Reed