Archive for Friday, July 9, 2004

Abreau powers Phillies past Mets

Ninth-inning home run helps Philadelphia extend lead in East Division

July 9, 2004


— Bobby Abreu smiled as the remnants of a shaving cream pie dripped off his neck and hair. Not even first-time All-Stars who hit winning homers are immune to Philadelphia's postgame celebration.

Abreu homered leading off the ninth inning Thursday night, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory over the New York Mets and extending their lead in the NL East.

Abreu wasted little time against John Franco (2-5), hitting his second pitch the opposite way to left field. Abreu, named to the All-Star team for the first time a day earlier, lost his helmet as he crossed the plate, where he was mobbed by his teammates.

Abreu went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. The crowd chanted "Bobby! Bobby!" after he got face full of shaving cream during a postgame interview.

"It's something we do," Abreu said, smiling. "It's part of a tradition."

It's been a memorable two days for Abreu, who earned the final spot on the NL All-Star team in Internet fan voting Wednesday. He earned a standing ovation before his first at-bat that night, and the cheers continued Thursday.

"I couldn't imagine it, but it's exciting," Abreu said.

The Philadelphia fans, who often have given Abreu a hard time, have suddenly come around on the soft-spoken right fielder.

"They've been good to me the whole week," Abreu said. "These games are for the fans."

Jim Thome hit his major league-leading 28th home run for the Phillies, who gained a split of the four-game series. They hold a two-game lead on the Mets and the suddenly surging Braves, who come to Philadelphia this weekend for a three-game series.

Billy Wagner (2-0) earned the win with an inning of scoreless relief.

Manager Larry Bowa hoped someone in the middle of the lineup, either Abreu, Thome or Pat Burrell, would win the game.

"I said, 'It would be nice if one of our big guys would win it,'" Bowa said. "As soon as I got the words out of my mouth, he hit it."

The Phillies trailed 4-3 in the seventh, when Jimmy Rollins led off with a walk and Placido Polanco singled against reliever Ricky Bottalico. Abreu then smacked a tying single to right off lefty Mike Stanton. Stanton struck out Thome swinging, and intentionally walked Burrell to load the bases.

Dodgers 7, Astros 2

Los Angeles -- Paul Lo Duca celebrated his late addition to the NL All-Star team with a home run, and Los Angeles beat Houston for its sixth straight victory. Right-hander Edwin Jackson (2-0) allowed two runs, five hits and no walks over five innings in his second spot start for injured Odalis Perez. Jackson also drove in the go-ahead run with a fourth-inning single, his first major league hit and RBI.

Jackson, Giovanni Carrara, Darren Dreifort and Tom Martin combined to hold the Astros hitless for the final 52/3 innings, helping Los Angeles equal its longest winning streak of the season.

Dreifort retired only one batter before walking the next three. But Martin bailed him out in the eighth by getting Lance Berkman on a double-play grounder, then pitched a scoreless ninth for his first save since 1997 as a rookie with Houston.

Rockies 5, Padres 1

San Diego -- Jason Jennings pitched effectively into the eighth inning, Todd Helton homered and Preston Wilson hit a two-run double in Colorado's victory over San Diego. Jennings held the Padres to one hit through six innings before Brian Giles homered leading off the seventh.

Wilson's two-run double was the key hit as the Rockies took a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Larry Walker added a sacrifice fly.

The victory came one game after Colorado had its five-game winning streak snapped at San Francisco.

San Diego dropped its second straight after winning eight in a row at home.

Reds 9, Brewers 3

Milwaukee -- Ken Griffey Jr. homered and drove in four runs, and Paul Wilson earned his career-best ninth win, leading Cincinnati past Milwaukee. Adam Dunn also connected for Cincinnati, his 25th of the season. Wilson, who helped blow a nine-run lead in the Reds' last trip to Miller Park in April, made an eight-run lead stand up this time.

On April 28, Wilson was spotted a nine-run lead and left with a seemingly safe 9-4 cushion. But the Brewers rallied for a 10-9 win as the Reds blew a nine-run lead for the first time since 1930.

There was no coming back this time -- from an 8-0 score -- thanks to Griffey's slump-snapping performance, two crucial errors on third baseman Wes Helms that led to a five-run sixth inning and another fine performance by Wilson.

Wilson (9-2), who scattered seven hits over 62/3 innings, took a three-hitter and a shutout into the seventh, when Keith Ginter hit a two-run homer, his 10th, and Craig Counsell chased the right-hander with an RBI single that made it 8-3.

Gabe White came in and retired Geoff Jenkins on a line drive to the mound to snuff the Brewers' hopes of another magnificent comeback.

Dunn's homer, off Jeff Bennett, made it 9-3 in the eighth.

Expos 2, Pirates 1

San Juan, Puerto Rico -- Brian Schneider hit a tiebreaking homer, Tony Armas Jr. pitched seven strong innings and Montreal defeated Pittsburgh. Schneider hit his ninth home run of the year against reliever John Grabow (0-3) in the eighth with the score tied at 1.

Armas, making his seventh start since having surgery on his right shoulder May 23, 2003, allowed just two hits and no runners beyond first base through six innings.

The right-hander gave up one unearned run, four hits, walked two and struck out three but wound up with a no-decision.

Luis Ayala (1-6) pitched a perfect eighth for the win, and Chad Cordero worked the ninth for his sixth save.

Pittsburgh scored first in the seventh thanks to an error by shortstop Orlando Cabrera with two outs. Craig Wilson and Tike Redman singled, and Wilson scored when Cabrera dropped a popup hit by Randall Simon in shallow left field.

Montreal tied it in the bottom half. Endy Chavez tripled to deep right field off Wilson's outstretched glove and scored on Tony Batista's single to left that squeezed past diving shortstop Jack Wilson.

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