SAN FRANCISCO -- Brett Myers walked purposefully to the mound as a swirling mist wafted through AT&T Park, adding moisture to the already chilly Thursday evening. Warmed and ready, he tried to enter the game many times from the bullpen, which is located just outside the right-field line, but the Phillies loaded the bases and endured a pitching change. Eventually, he ventured into the dugout to await his moment. It came after Ryan Howard struck out. "He was in a hurry to get out there," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He met the umpire on the mound."More
Using his assortment of mid-90s fastballs and knee-bending curves, the Opening Day starter channeled his never-ending energy into three outs rather than seven quality innings. With apparent ease, the right-hander breezed through a perfect inning and preserved Philadelphia's 9-7 win against the Giants. "I couldn't have asked for better conditions," Myers said, with a smile. Myers calmly notched his first career save in a game that should've been a laugher. The contest got too close after starter Adam Eaton let a 9-2 lead become 9-7. Myers retired Ray Durham on a grounder and Pedro Feliz on a popout and struck out Mark Sweeney. No problem. "It's still getting people out," Myers said. Myers succeeded where Eaton had not. Eaton entered Thursday's game with a 7.71 ERA -- the worst among National League starters who qualify for the ERA title -- while one of the game's best young hurlers in Matt Cain came in at 1.54, or third best. The Phillies paid no attention to what may have been expected, battering Cain, then hanging on for dear life. When Cain escaped a first-inning jam by inducing a fly to center, and Eaton began the bottom of that frame by loading the bases with one out, things appeared to be going as predicted. But Eaton evaded a meltdown, limiting San Francisco to a Durham sacrifice fly. The Phillies then raised Cain with a four-run second, two coming on Jimmy Rollins' first of two triples and two more on RBI singles by Shane Victorino and Chase Utley. Cain ran into further trouble in the fourth and departed having allowed seven total runs, or one more than in his first five starts combined. He allowed 12 hits this season in those starts, but eight Thursday. "Everybody probably expected him to dominate," Victorino said. "Sometimes, you just run into a rough night, and that was the case with him. He's going to be dominant, but sometimes, you face a team where everything just falls in." Rollins, Victorino and Utley combined to go 7-for-14 and score four runs. The tone-setting moment came in the second inning, when Cain again appeared on the verge of escaping danger. He only had to retire Rollins to strand two Phillies, but the switch-hitting shortstop laced a triple to center. Victorino followed with a single to score Rollins, then Victorino scored on Utley's double. Rollins, the NL leader in multihit games, began the fourth with another triple and scored on Victorino's single. Utley delivered Victorino with a double and chased Cain. Though giving up a run in the first and third inning, Eaton was largely in control until the sixth. He began by allowing the first four hitters to reach, with two scoring on Omar Vizquel's double. Ryan Madson relieved, got the first two outs, then allowed run-scoring hits to Randy Winn and Eliezer Alfonzo. Eaton's 112-pitch effort saw his ERA balloon to 8.18, as he was charged with six runs on eight hits and three walks in five innings, but notched his third win. "He had a tough sixth inning," Manuel said. "He has good stuff. He has trouble getting out of jams. His command is the big problem. He has to throw more quality strikes." Quality wasn't a problem for Myers, who learned hours before the game that he was the team's closer while Tom Gordon recovers from right shoulder inflammation. Antonio Alfonseca worked the eighth, setting up for Myers. "Two good things happened tonight," Manuel said. "We hit the ball early, and I liked the way we hung in there and ended up winning."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less