The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 to earn a split in the two-game series. Tom Gordon improved to 1-2, getting the win in relief of starter Jamie Moyer. Brad Lidge notched his fifth consecutive save with a scoreless ninth. David Riske (0-1) took the loss for the Brewers in relief.
Gordon was the reason the Phillies were able to win this game in the top of the eighth through his work in the bottom of the seventh. Moyer pitched well, allowing a lone run in six plus innings before faltering in the seventh.
Moyer was lifted after allowing a double to Bill Hall and a single to JJ Hardy to start the inning, and Gordon was brought in with runners at the corners in a tie game.
Gordon struck out the first hitter he faced, Tony Gwynn Jr., to set the tone for his outing. After loading the bases by walking Jason Kendall, Gordon struck out Rickie Weeks and induced Gabe Kapler to ground into a fielder’s choice and keep the Brewers off the scoreboard.
In the top of the eighth, the first two hitters struck out before the Phils launched a two-out rally against Riske. Greg Dobbs walked and Chase Utley singled to left before Pat Burrell launched a double to the left field, scoring Dobbs and Utley to give the Phils a 3-1 lead.
Burrell is the National League leader with 25 runs batted in, and is hitting over .500 with runners in scoring position. The 25 runs batted in is a Phillies record in the month of April. Burrell has started the season with something to prove as he prepares to enter the free-agent market after this season.
JC Romero, Ryan Madson, and Brad Lidge combined with Gordon on three scoreless innings from the bullpen. After enduring some early-season struggles, the bullpen owns the lowest relief ERA in the National League.
This effectiveness coupled with decent offensive production is what will help the Phillies hold their own in the upper tier of the National League East.
Most heartening for Phillies fans is that the team has gotten off to a better April than any of the previous four seasons. Time will tell if the improved start will translate to a better finish in September.