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Archive for Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Phillies close in on Marlins

Lieberthal belts grand slam in Philadelphia’s 14-0 romp

September 17, 2003

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— Stellar pitching, clutch hitting and a big crowd made it feel like old times for Phillies manager Larry Bowa.

Mike Lieberthal hit a grand slam and drove in six runs, and Vicente Padilla pitched eight shutout innings as Philadelphia routed the Florida Marlins, 14-0, Tuesday night.

The Phillies closed within a half-game of the NL wild card-leading Marlins, who had won eight straight against Philadelphia. The teams play twice more at Veterans Stadium and have a three-game series in Florida next week.

"It brought back a lot of memories," said Bowa, the Phillies' third-year manager who played for the franchise's only World Series championship team in 1980. "Hopefully we can ride this. That's a good team."

The Phillies are seeking their first playoff berth in 10 years. Florida hasn't reached the postseason since winning the World Series in 1997.

Padilla (14-10) allowed five hits and retired 15 of the last 17 he faced. He struck out six and had no walks. Carlos Silva pitched the ninth to complete the six-hitter.

"Their starter did an outstanding job," Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. "That's what you have to do in big games. It all comes down to who gets the best pitching."

Lieberthal's two-run single sparked a four-run first, and Jim Thome hit his 41st homer -- a two-run shot to right-center in the sixth that earned him a curtain call from the crowd of 36,479. Jimmy Rollins had three hits and two RBIs, and Marlon Byrd had three hits and scored three times.

Lieberthal's third career grand slam highlighted a seven-run eighth.

"We have to take two out of three, if not three out of three," Lieberthal said. "There were some jitters out there early. It was like a playoff game."

Astros 14, Rockies 4

Denver -- Richard Hidalgo hit three homers and drove in five runs as Houston routed Colorado. The Astros, who have won 10 of their last 12, remained 11/2 games ahead of the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central. Adam Everett added a three-run homer as the Astros connected six times, and Jeriome Robertson pitched seven strong innings.

D'backs 3, Dodgers 2

Los Angeles -- Curt Schilling won for the first time in a month, Junior Spivey drove in two runs and Arizona defeated Los Angeles. The loss dropped the Dodgers 21/2 games behind Florida in the NL wild-card race, and clinched a playoff berth for Atlanta. Schilling (8-8) allowed one run on eight hits in seven innings.

Giants 4, Padres 2

San Francisco -- Barry Bonds hit his 656th career homer as San Francisco beat San Diego. Bonds' 43rd homer of the season -- his third in four days -- landed in the right-field stands in the fifth as the Giants won for the 12th time in 16 games. San Francisco's win and the Los Angeles Dodgers' 3-2 loss to Arizona reduced the Giants' magic number for clinching the division to two.

Expos 5, Braves 4 (10)

Montreal -- Greg Maddux was denied his 15th win when Atlanta's bullpen failed to hold a three-run lead, and Montreal beat the Braves on Orlando Cabrera's run-scoring double in the 10th inning. Maddux, trying to become the first pitcher to win 15 or more games 16 straight years, allowed one run and four hits in seven innings.

Cardinals 6, Brewers 5

St. Louis -- Albert Pujols had three hits to increase his major-league-leading total to 202, and St. Louis beat Milwaukee. Sterling Hitchcock (3-1) improved to 9-2 against the Brewers, allowing four runs, three hits and five walks in 51/3 innings. Four relievers finished the five-hitter, with Jason Isringhausen pitching the ninth for his 18th save. St. Louis improved to 10-2 against Milwaukee.

Cubs 3, Mets 2

Chicago -- Sammy Sosa homered for the first time in more than a week, and Mark Prior struck out 13 in 82/3 innings as Chicago beat New York. Sosa drove in all of Chicago's runs, including a two-run homer in the third inning that put the Cubs ahead. With a crowd of 39,534 the Cubs set a single-season attendance record at Wrigley Field. The Cubs have drawn 2,844,087 already this year with four home games left.

Reds 12, Pirates 4

Pittsburgh -- Ryan Freel had a career-high four hits, including a homer, to lead a 17-hit attack as Cincinnati beat Pittsburgh. Freel, 4-for-5 with three RBIs, returned to the lineup after missing 12 games because of a strained right hamstring.

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