PHILADELPHIA -- Jimmy Rollins went into Citizens Bank Park's batting cage before Saturday's game to work on "Tony Gwynn drills" -- exercises named after the legendary Padres outfielder -- that help the shortstop keep his hands in front of him while hitting. "I guess they worked," Rollins said. The shortstop erupted for four hits and scored two runs Saturday, lifting the struggling Phillies' offense to a 4-2 win over the Pirates.More
The Phillies came into Saturday's game on the heels of 23 consecutive scoreless innings. The team had been shut out in its past two games for the first time since Sept. 11-12, 1999. But in his first at-bat, Rollins sent a message that Saturday would be a different story, lining a triple to right field. Shane Victorino followed with a double, scoring Rollins. Rollins is on a .526 (10-for-19) tear in his last five games. His four hits Saturday night were the most in one game since Sept. 1 of last season against the Marlins. He tripled twice, the fifth time in Rollins' career he has accomplished that feat. "Fortunately, it was a pitcher for them that I've had success off of," Rollins said, referring to Pittsburgh's Ian Snell, who gave up all four of Rollins' hits Saturday. "So you feel a little more comfortable in the box." The Phils would send eight batters to the plate in the first and add a second run on an RBI single by Ryan Howard. "What's the old saying? It got the monkey off their back," manager Charlie Manuel said. The Phils had a chance to break the game wide open in the fourth, when Chase Utley came up with the bases loaded and two outs. But Snell struck out the Phils' second baseman on three pitches, getting him to chase an 0-2 slider to end the threat. Pittsburgh's offense never threatened, however, thanks to a solid outing by Brett Myers. The right-hander retired the Pirates' first seven hitters, allowing only one run on a Nate McLouth double in the fourth. He got into some trouble in the fifth, allowing the first two hitters to reach base, but retired the next three in order. It was the start of 10 consecutive batters retired for Myers. With a three-run lead heading into the ninth, Manuel opted to send reliever Chad Durbin to the mound, instead of Brad Lidge, the team's regular closer. Lidge had run up high pitch counts in Thursday and Friday's games, and was experiencing "some stiffness" on Saturday, Manuel said. The skipper added that Lidge's health posed no long-term concern. The Pirates posed a brief threat with Durbin on the mound. McLouth led off with a base hit and scored two batters later on a single by Brandon Moss. After a visit to the mound by pitching coach Rich Dubee, however, Durbin got Steve Pearce to pop out to center field and former Phillie Jason Michaels to pop out to second to end the game.
Kevin Horan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less