Moyer, the crafty 44-year-old left-hander, unleashed his usual arsenal of changeups and off-speed pitches to baffle the Nationals for 5 1/3 innings. Moyer was brilliant, giving up five hits and one unearned run with six strikeouts in a 97-pitch performance.
The Phillies went on to win, 6-1, behind Moyer and clinched the National League East division title, their first postseason berth since 1993.
In game No. 162, with a playoff spot on the line, Moyer gave them exactly what they needed.
"Man, this is the best," Moyer said. "What a feeling to not only win, but to play a major role. I couldn't be happier. I'm happy I was able to pitch well and help the club as I did today. It feels so good to get this done. We've been fighting and fighting and fighting all season, and it's almost fitting that it came down to the last day. It just so happened to be my turn in the rotation. I feel great about contributing."
Moyer's win moved him into sole possession of 59th place on the all-time list, while his 14 victories this season are his most since winning a career-best 21 for the Mariners in 2003.
For Moyer, a 1981 Souderton High graduate who went on to pitch at nearby Saint Joseph's University, getting this landmark win for his hometown team was bigger than any career number. When the Phillies won their last World Series in 1980, Moyer skipped school to attend the parade down Broad Street.
Fast forward 27 years, and Moyer has a chance to be a part of a different parade.
"It's amazing how life comes full circle," Moyer said. "I remember 1980 like it was yesterday. That Phillies team was incredible. I can't believe so much time has flown by since then. To still be playing at my age and playing at a high level is something I can't really describe. I've been fortunate to have had great teammates through the years. To do it in Philadelphia, well, it doesn't get any better than this. We have so many friends here. It's really thrilling to know we're going to the playoffs and we're one of the teams vying for a world championship."
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel was hoping that Moyer would give him six innings on Sunday. The manager was perfectly content with Moyer's effort nonetheless.
"Jamie was a professional, and he kept their hitters off balance," Manuel said. "He's bounced back all season when we have needed a good game from him. He stuck to a plan and did a great job for us. It was good that we didn't have to go to the bullpen early. Then we scored some runs and everything took off. I'm not surprised by anything that Jamie does."
When Moyer was pulled for Tom Gordon in the sixth inning, he tipped his cap to the adoring sellout crowd of 44,865. Moyer repeated the feat during the postgame celebration on the field.
National League Division Series schedule
|Wed., Oct. 3||10 p.m.||Chase Field||TBS|
|Thu., Oct. 4||10 p.m.||Chase Field||TBS|
|Sat. Oct. 6||6 p.m.||Wrigley Field||TBS|
|*Sun. Oct. 7||1 p.m.||Wrigley Field||TNT|
|*Tue. Oct. 9||10 p.m.||Chase Field||TBS|
|Wed., Oct. 3||3 p.m.||Citizens Bank Park||TBS|
|Thu., Oct. 4||3 p.m.||Citizens Bank Park||TBS|
|Sat. Oct. 6||9:30 p.m.||Coors Field||TBS|
|*Sun. Oct. 7||10 p.m.||Coors Field||TBS|
|*Tue. Oct. 9||6:30 p.m.||Citizens Bank Park||TBS|
|* If necessary. All times ET.|
"These fans are the best," Moyer said. "They've stuck by us and never lost faith. The crowds have really pushed us through. I wanted to show them how much we appreciate their support. They deserve this. I've been a Phillies fan my whole life, so I know the type of emotion they have felt. It was great to give them such a great win to cheer about and celebrate."
Gordon sprayed champagne on Moyer during the party in the clubhouse and then hugged the winning pitcher.
"Jamie is amazing with how he approaches the game," Gordon said. "I have so much respect for him. He was outstanding today, just outstanding. Like he tipped his cap to the fans, I tip my cap to him."
Moyer began his career with the Cubs in 1986 and also played for the Rangers, Cardinals, Orioles, Red Sox, Mariners and Phillies. He has a lifetime record of 230-178 with a 4.21 ERA.
Numbers aside, it's the sheer joy of the game which has kept Moyer around so long when others would have retired to spend more time with their family.
"My family is so supportive of me," Moyer said. "They've been my biggest supporters and fans my whole career. Without them, this wouldn't be as sweet. I'm going to soak up every ounce of fun from this experience because you never know when it can end. I hope this is just the beginning of a playoff run for our team. We have so much confidence in each other."
Andy Jasner is a contributor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less