Myers helps Phils keep pace in NL East

Myers helps Phillies keep pace

PHILADELPHIA -- Turning to face the gusting wind, Brett Myers watched Manny Ramirez's seventh-inning screamer toward right-center field.

He hopped from the mound as Jayson Werth tracked it on a run and brought himself in gently at the wall, avoiding the latest and most dangerous crisis of the night. With his night ultimately done, Myers bounded to the dugout, crossing paths with Ramirez as each headed to their respective dugouts.

"Little man hit," Ramirez said, relating his interpretation of what Myers said.

Translation from Manny-speak aside, this was Myers' finest moment in an evening's worth of Russian roulette, dodging a Ramirez-size bullet that might have ended a shutout, tied the game and heavily shifted momentum. Instead, the Phillies would eventually win, 5-0, at Citizens Bank Park, on Monday night.

Despite giving the Dodgers plenty of chances, Myers slid by unscathed, and J.C. Romero and Clay Condrey finished off a four-game sweep -- returning serve with a team that had swept them in Los Angeles -- and keeping pace with the Mets, who beat the Astros to hold their half-game lead in the National League East. The Phillies have now won eight of 10 since being swept in L.A.

Jimmy Rollins, who entered the game batting .087 (4-for-46) since calling Philadelphia fans "front-runners" on a sports talk show, laced a single, double and triple, and drove in two runs. The RBIs came in the second, when the Phillies took the lead against Chad Billingsley.

Rollins doubled and scored on a double play in the fifth, and Werth singled in a run in the seventh and hustled to score from second base on Chris Coste's high-chopped grounder to second.

Myers handled the rest. He has posted a 1.66 ERA in seven starts since returning from Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and was crafting a baserunner-laden, second straight shutout, the likes of which hadn't been accomplished in more than 27 years. The right-hander allowed 10 baserunners in Wednesday's start against the Nationals and had allowed 12 baserunners through seven innings against the Dodgers.

The right-hander didn't come out for the eighth, after throwing 110 pitches. In keeping with the runners stranded theme, Romero and Condrey stranded two Dodgers apiece in the eighth and ninth innings.

The Dodgers had 16 baserunners without scoring, setting the mark for this season in a nine-inning game, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. They left 14 on base, two shy of the Major League record, set by the Cardinals on May 24, 1994, against the Phillies, and the Mariners against the Blue Jays on May 7, 1998.

Myers loaded the bases with one out in the seventh, then thought he had Jeff Kent struck out on an inside fastball. He didn't get that call, so he whiffed Kent on a curveball.

That set up Ramirez, who hit a grand slam off Myers on June 26, 2005, at Citizens Bank Park.

"I've faced Manny a handful of times," Myers said. "The [grand slam] didn't pop in my head. He's a good hitter. You have to try to outsmart him. When you do that, you usually win. I threw Kent a lot of breaking balls and one fastball in the at-bat before. Manny is watching that. I was trying to out-think him."

Added Coste: "He was throwing fastballs and curveballs to most righties. We had a good idea Manny was looking curveball. They all were, but they weren't hitting them. He threw it, it wasn't a horrible one, but he squared it up and Werth made a good play. That was one of the bigger at-bats of the game, because it went from two to three runs scoring to nobody scoring."

That's the way it went all night. The Phillies recorded a 13-hit shutout for the first time in franchise history, and equaled a feat last accomplished by the Royals in a 1-0 win over the Twins on Aug. 31, 2005.

"I remember one night in Cleveland, we got 14 hits and one run, and I wasn't happy," manager Charlie Manuel said. "When you scatter 13 hits and don't score, that's not good. Better them than us."

Or as Condrey said, "How the heck did we do that? That's amazing. Yay for us."

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