Myers stifles Braves in sharp outing

Myers stifles Braves in sharp outing

PHILADELPHIA -- It was a day of song in the City of Brotherly Love, starting with the worldwide Live 8 concert at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

Brett Myers made some sweet music of his own in South Philly, composing his finest outing of the season and leading the Phillies to a much-needed 6-3 win over the Braves. The right-hander dominated Atlanta for 8 1/3 innings, allowing four hits.

He fanned nine -- eight looking -- and retired 20 straight at one point.

"He had a gem going," said manager Charlie Manuel. "That's what we needed."

"That's one of the best jobs against us all year," said Atlanta manager Bobby Cox. "He was absolutely dynamite."

Adam LaRoche was the only Brave to reach base against Myers (6-4) through the first eight innings. Myers received a standing ovation from the crowd of 29,205 when he batted in the bottom of the eighth.

Myers -- who had struggled through his previous two starts, getting touched for 13 runs and 18 hits in just 7 1/3 innings after dominating in April and May -- also produced Philadelphia's second run with an RBI single in the fourth. It scored Chase Utley, who was hit by a pitch.

"After they walked Tank [Todd Pratt], I thought I had to do something, and the best way to get a hit is to put the ball in play," Myers said. "I happened to do so."

So did Pat Burrell and David Bell, who each homered. Burrell's solo shot gave Philadelphia its first run, and Bell's three-run blast cemented the win.

Offensive bursts aside, this game was all about Myers, who recorded five of his outs with one pitch and threw first-pitch strikes to all but eight of the 30 batters he faced.

"He wasn't really a power pitcher today," said Pratt. "He threw a lot of sinkers. He worked that way well, and that was the key today. His control was there."

Myers allowed two singles and a walk to start the ninth, then surrendered his first run on a wild pitch, spoiling the shutout.

"I thought I made some good pitches at the end, but they just put the bat on the ball," Myers said. "You can't always get what you want."

Closer Billy Wagner gave the Phillies what they wanted when he recorded the final two outs.

The dominating effort from Myers gave the Phillies a shot at taking the series, and injected confidence into a struggling team. Philadelphia won for the fifth time in 17 games. The rough stretch caused Manuel to hold a team meeting a week ago. More recently, Wagner suggested that the team was playing without intensity, and that contention prompted another team meeting.

This win was as needed as any other.

"This game isn't easy, and it never was easy," said Bell. "Any time you lose, you go through things like that. It's a matter of how you get through it. It's important that we all stick together and believe that we're going to get through it. Just because we've gone through a tough time here, it's not time to shut it down. It's time to really show how tough we are. That's how things pay off, and I believe that's going to happen."

Ken Mandel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.