Thursday, May 06, 2004

Phillies 5, Cardinals 4 | The half-full interpretation of last night's win over the Cardinals (Inquirer; Daily News) is that the Phillies used timely hitting and solid pitching to earn the win. The half-empty view is that the whiff-happy Phils could scratch out just seven hits and desperately needed the long balls they got, from Marlon Byrd and David Bell, to eke out a W.

Either way, of course, it beats losing. Kevin Millwood labored for a couple of innings before he found his groove, and gave the Phillies seven-plus decent innings. Byrd connected for a first-inning bomb to left-center to knot the score at 1, and Bell's second-inning single plated Pat Burrell, putting the Phils up until the sixth, when St. Louis scored twice to take a one-run lead. Bell then crashed a line-drive homer close to the leftfield foul pole, and Larry Bowa, in a startling change, used his pitchers effectively to make the lead stand up. The ninth was marked by a Cardinal single and the appearance of a dopey fan who whizzed by Burrell, busy chasing down a fly, to slide into second, but otherwise was uneventful, with Billy Wagner earning an easy seventh save of the season.

Citizens Bank Park shimmers under the lights. The darkness outside helps to mask the unattractive stuff -- the Holiday Eyesore, the warehouses, the parking lots, and the like -- that surrounds the Park, rendering it even more intimate than in the daytime. The centerfield Liberty Bell is spectacular, and thank goodness the Phillies are ringing it often, given how ineffectively they play small ball. It's as if Earl Weaver is pulling the strings in South Philadelphia.

Randy Wolf gets the ball afternoon, and since a ticket dropped unexpectedly into my lap, I'll be at the Park, rooting for the Phils to take the series.


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