Phils find .500, but win may be costly

Phils rediscover .500 in win

CHICAGO -- The Phillies got back to .500 on Monday for the first time since June 19, but it didn't come easy and it didn't come without a cost.

Arthur Rhodes entered the game with a three-run lead in the ninth and narrowly earned his third save in a 6-5 win over the Cubs in front of 38,950 at Wrigley Field.

With two outs in the final inning, Rhodes gave up a two-run home run to Jacque Jones, his 21st of the year, and a single to Phil Nevin before getting Michael Barrett to pop out to end the game.

Rhodes' save came without Aaron Rowand in center field. Rowand left the game in the bottom of the eighth after a horrible collision with Chase Utley on a shallow fly ball to center field. Rowand sprained his left ankle on the play and had to be helped off the field.

News also came after the game that closer Tom Gordon was placed on the disabled list with a strained right shoulder. Rhodes is sharing the closer role with Ryan Madson in Gordon's absence.

"We're going to have to battle through it," Utley said. "It's not going to be as easy when you don't have your closer and whatever happens with Aaron, but guys are going to have to step up and fill their shoes."

It seemed a fitting end for a night where nothing was simple for the Phillies.

Starter Jon Lieber allowed a hit in every inning except the sixth, but was able to strand most of those runners until the seventh.

"I definitely worked real hard out there," Lieber said. "It seemed like every inning someone was on base. I've got to give a lot of credit to my defense and my catcher behind the plate."

That defense included Shane Victorino ending a threat in the fifth by throwing Jones out at second while he was trying to stretch a single to a double. Pat Burrell also made a nice diving catch in the top of the seventh.

On offense, the Phillies' first run didn't come easy either. With Burrell on third and Rowand at second in the top of the fourth, Abraham Nunez hit a ground ball to shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Cedeno threw home in an attempt to get Burrell, but the ball bounced off Burrell's back as he collided with catcher Henry Blanco. The error by Cedeno also allowed Rowand to score and Nunez to move to second.

Jimmy Rollins followed with a two-run home run, his 19th, in the four-run fourth.

"We're going to have to battle through it. It's not going to be as easy when you don't have your closer and whatever happens with Aaron [Rowand], but guys are going to have to step up and fill their shoes."
-- Chase Utley

Utley then led off the top of the fifth with a home run, his 22nd, and gave Lieber a 5-0 lead.

Lieber couldn't work out of the trouble he faced in the seventh, however. The starter gave up his first run on a wild pitch that scored Freddie Bynum and his second run on an RBI double by Aramis Ramirez. Lieber was replaced with Aaron Fultz after that.

"I didn't feel as sharp as I would have liked to have been," Lieber said of the seventh. "I would have liked to finish that inning, but just ran into a little bit of trouble."

Fultz gave up an RBI single to Jones that made it 5-3 before ending the inning.

Lieber (6-9) gave up three runs and 11 hits while striking out six in 6 2/3 innings.

"Lieber did a good job. I thought he was a little better last time, a little crisper, a little sharper on his fastball and slider," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Tonight, he moved the ball good and they sprayed some hits around and he always wiggled out of it. He ... took us in the game exactly where we wanted to go."

The Phillies got some insurance when Burrell led off the top of the eighth with a double and pinch-runner Chris Roberson later scored on a single by Nunez that made it 6-3.

That run would prove to be the difference after Rhodes gave up two in the ninth.

"[The Cubs] fought back," Utley said. "They didn't give up, and you have to give them credit, but a win's a win."

Especially when that win brings the team to .500 and keeps it from losing ground in the Wild Card race. The Reds also won on Monday, meaning the Phillies remain 2 1/2 games back of the Wild Card leader.

"Man, [getting back to .500] says a lot about this ballclub," Lieber said. "A lot of people probably thought we were done, but the one thing is we believed in ourselves and we're back there, but we just have to keep pushing ahead one game at a time."

Ryan Crawford is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.