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Notes: Phils get aggressive on bases

Notes: Phils get aggressive on bases

OAKLAND -- After losing the first two of the just-completed series in Seattle, the Phillies went into the finale of that set with a different mind-set.

"The fact that we were running the bases aggressively and trying to make things happen, I kind of like that," said manager Charlie Manuel.

Given that Philadelphia had managed just one run in each of its first two games at Safeco Field, and given that the home of the Mariners is not the kindest yard for power hitters, Manuel saw no problem with trying to force the issue a bit.

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The attitude was right, but even though the Phils ended up beating the Mariners, 3-2, in 13 innings in the finale, the results left something to be desired.

The first manifestation of the go-go attitude appeared in the seventh inning on a rarely-seen play.

With Chase Utley on second, Mike Lieberthal swung and missed on strike three as the pitch got past Seattle catcher Rene Rivera.

As Utley took third, Lieberthal paused before going for first while Rivera jogged after the ball. Utley rounded the bag and hesitated, then sprinted for home when the catcher threw the ball to first baseman Richie Sexson.

Sexson wasn't fooled; he stepped on the bag for the second out, then threw home to pitcher Joel Pineiro, who was covering and made the tag on Utley for the final out.

In the eighth, the Phillies ran into two outs. Jimmy Rollins singled and was caught stealing with Kenny Lofton at the plate for the second out.

The third out came when Bobby Abreu singled and Lofton scored when center fielder Jeremy Reed's throw went awry. Abreu tried to take second on the play, but reliever Ron Villone was backing up the throw and threw out Abreu.

Away from spacious Safeco, Manuel would like to see a little more caution from his players.

"I think this ballpark plays shorter than Seattle," he said. "Any time we get into a smaller ballpark, I want us to make less mistakes on the bases, because that way gives us a chance of letting our power take over.

"I'm not saying we won't be aggressive, but at the same time, we need to be alert as far as baserunning because we've got Abreu, [Pat] Burrell and [Jim] Thome, guys who can hit the ball out of the ballpark."

Explaining the lineup: Todd Pratt was behind the plate Friday instead of Lieberthal for a good reason.

"He caught 13 innings yesterday, and you know how that is," Manuel said of Lieberthal, who is expected to catch both day games this weekend.

Also, even though the A's had lefty Barry Zito on the mound, Manuel put left-handed-hitting Utley in at second instead of righty Ramon Martinez for two reasons.

For one, left-handers are hitting Zito at a .266 clip this year; right-handers just .227. The other reason was the Phillies believe the second base job now belongs to the 26-year-old Utley.

"I think when we traded [Placido] Polanco, everybody thought it was time to turn [Utley] loose," Manuel said.

Since Polanco was dealt to the Tigers, Utley has gone 9-for-29 to keep his season average at .315.

Short hops: Al Joost, an infielder for the Philadelphia A's from 1947 to '53, threw out the first pitch Friday.

The Phillies and the A's played each other 240 times in exhibition games when they both called Philadelphia home. The last meeting was a 3-2 Phillies win in seven innings on June 28, 1954, at Connie Mack Stadium.

Looking ahead: Cory Lidle (6-4, 4.18 ERA) will face his old team again on Saturday. He went 21-16 with a 3.74 ERA while with the A's in 2001 and '02.

His last visit, in 2004 with the Reds, did not go so well. Lidle gave up nine runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings of a 13-2 loss. Lidle will be dueling A's right-hander Kirk Saarloos (2-4, 4.65 ERA).

Tony Kuttner is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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