Phillies trounce Dodgers, 15-3

The team's 26-hit parade complemented righthander J.D. Durbin's performance.

Posted: July 18, 2007

LOS ANGELES - Charlie Manuel could stand to enjoy the relaxed Southern California atmosphere this week.

But these are stressful times. The Phillies manager knew that the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres had the two best pitching staffs in the National League, while his team was plodding along with the league's worst pitching staff.

Manuel had righthander J.D. Durbin on the mound Tuesday night at Dodger Stadium, after Los Angeles had shelled Jamie Moyer on Monday. Nobody really knew what to expect from Durbin, who has been with four organizations this season.

But Manuel enjoyed a stress-free night of baseball in a 15-3 victory over the Dodgers.

What was the best part for the manager?

The season-high 26 hits or the one run in six innings from Durbin, who picked up his first big-league win?

"Both," Manuel said. "If I had to pick one, I'd take both."

Ryan Howard hit a pair of two-run home runs. Shane Victorino tied a career high with five hits. Aaron Rowand set a career high with five hits. Chase Utley collected three RBIs. Pat Burrell hit his 200th career homer in the seventh inning.

But Durbin allowed six hits, a run and two walks, and struck out three in six innings. He also went 3 for 4.

"That was just an incredible feeling, going out there and throwing the way I want to throw," he said, "being in control. That's been one of my problems when I get up here. I let myself get ahead, get too quick and my mind starts racing. Just slowing the ball game down helped incredibly."

Durbin said he worked with pitching coach Rich Dubee on slowing down, breathing, and pacing himself to control his body.

"You can see how somebody would want him and want to take a chance on him," Manuel said in the visitors' dugout before the game. "He has a lot of potential, but now he has to harness that talent. His command has got to come together. He's got to command the strike zone. He's going to be OK if he does that. The first time I saw him was the first start against the Mets [on June 29], and he struck out the side. I said, 'I could see why somebody would want him.' He can strike people out, and there's always a place for somebody who can strike people out."

Durbin had given up one hit through the first three innings when he found trouble in the fourth. But after he allowed a run to score and loaded the bases, he worked out of the jam.

It should only help his confidence.

"I don't want to hand anything over, and I thank Manuel and the organization for giving me the ball again," Durbin said. "They had confidence I could throw for them. It felt great to have that confidence behind me."

And the run support. That helped.

The Phillies took a 3-0 lead in the first inning on hits by Victorino, Utley, Rowand, Burrell and Wes Helms. They scored five in the fourth inning to make it 8-0.

The fourth started with Durbin's second hit of the night, a single off the leg of Dodgers pitcher Mark Hendrickson. Jimmy Rollins followed with a single to left and Victorino tripled to make it 5-0. Utley singled to score Victorino. Lefthander Eric Stults replaced Hendrickson at that point.

His first pitch to Howard landed in the right-field bleachers for a two-run home run.

Utley's double in the fifth scored Rollins. Howard then crushed a two-run home run to left-center field to make it 11-1.

It was Howard's second multi-homer game of the season, the other having come May 27 against Atlanta. Howard is hitting .292 (52 for 178) with 18 home runs and 49 RBIs in 46 games.

Manuel would like to see Howard get on a roll the way he did last season when the Phillies made a run at the NL wild card. But he would prefer to see more efforts like the one Durbin produced Tuesday night.

The Phillies' 26 hits were one short of a franchise record 27 hits set June 11, 1985, in a 26-7 victory over the New York Mets. They tied a Los Angeles Dodgers record; the L.A. Dodgers last allowed 26 hits on May 13, 1958, against the San Francisco Giants.

The blowout also allowed the Phillies to send righthander Tom Gordon to the mound in the ninth, the first time he had pitched since May 1.

He allowed one hit in a scoreless inning.

"It's been a while," Gordon said. "I thought I felt pretty good and I thought I made some strides to get even better."


 

Todd Zolecki blogs on the Phillies' West Coast trip at


Contact staff writer Todd Zolecki at 215-854-4874 or tzolecki@phillynews.com.

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