Notes: Phils get 'gorilla' off their back

Notes: Phils get 'gorilla' off their back

PHILADELPHIA -- To say the monkey is off the Phillies' back is an understatement.

"Somebody said monkey, but gorilla is the right word," said pitcher Ryan Madson. "Hopefully, we go out there and win another one."

Madson became the first Phillies starter to pitch six innings on Sunday, overcoming some sloppy first-inning defense to keep his team close in a 6-3 Game 1 victory.

"He did real good," said manager Charlie Manuel. "He kept his composure. As he went along, he got a better feel."

Madson tossed 107 pitches and received a no-decision when the Phillies tied it in the bottom of the seventh.

"We hung in there and got one," Manuel said. "The way the game started, I didn't know."

A different situation: Setup man Arthur Rhodes pitched the seventh inning in Game 1, because Manuel preferred the matchups.

Manuel said he normally would use Rhodes in the eighth, but wanted the southpaw to pitch to lefty J.D. Drew and switch-hitters Rafael Furcal and Jose Cruz Jr.

Drew has hit 40 points lower against southpaws over the past three seasons, while Furcal is 17 points lower over the same span. Cruz, however, batted 60 points higher against lefties.

"Normally, I'll use Rhodes in the eighth," Manuel said. "He's our setup guy, but the way the Dodgers hit, I wanted to use him against those lefties, and turn those switch-hitters around."

Rhodes quickly got Furcal and Cruz, but walked Drew.

Santana finds himself in 'pen: To look at reliever Julio Santana is to think "linebacker' or "cleanup hitter."

It just seems easier to picture the 210-pound man swatting baseballs than chucking them at the opposition, but that's the lot chosen by the 6-foot-0 Santana.

"I don't like football. It's too slow," said Santana, whose uncle happens to be former Major League slugger Rico Carty. "I've always been big. I liked to play third base and outfield. I was always strong coming up and could hit the ball hard."

Santana signed his first professional contract with Texas in 1990 -- as a shortstop. From there, he shifted to third and finally, to the mound in 1992. He made his Major League debut in 1997, and bounced from the rotation to the bullpen.

After converting to the bullpen full-time in 2002 with Detroit, the right-hander started the 2003 season with the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate before playing in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants. Over the next two seasons, the hard-throwing Santana said he learned how to pitch.

"These people [in Japan] don't believe in strength," he said. "They don't believe in how hard you can hit the ball. They believe in technique. They teach you the mental game, and how to stay strong, how to do stuff over and over with mechanics. That's one thing I needed. I was just a guy who used to go out there and throw."

Signed to a one-year, $800,000 contract this winter, Santana had a rough Phillies debut, but tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings on Friday in relief of Gavin Floyd.

"It took a long time for me to figure out that my best place to be is in the bullpen," Santana said. "Coming from many places and many different situations, I feel I'm in the right spot. I think I have enough time for me to say that my career will be fulfilled with things I want to do with my life."

Quotable: I was starting to get [in need of an aspirin]. I was thinking about getting thrown out of the game. That was crossing my mind." -- Manuel, on how many more first-inning miscues he would have been able to take

Philling in: The Phillies haven't played an errorless game yet this season. ... Philadelphia hasn't started a season 0-5 since going 0-7 in 1934.

Coming up: The Phillies begin their first road trip of the season in Atlanta, where Brett Myers is scheduled to face John Thomson on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Myers struggled in his first outing of the season, where the cold weather affected his grip and led to an uncharacteristic five walks.

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