Phillies beat Red Sox again

Red Sox rightfielder Adrian Gonzalez leaps but can't catch a ball hit by Chase Utley for a triple in the eighth inning.
Red Sox rightfielder Adrian Gonzalez leaps but can't catch a ball hit by Chase Utley for a triple in the eighth inning. (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: June 30, 2011

A few days ago, manager Charlie Manuel was thankful that Raul Ibanez could muster only a single. It was Sunday and an off day awaited Monday, which meant the fidgety Ibanez was saddled with the possibility of contemplating an 0-for-19 hitless streak for 51 hours.

But Ibanez singled in the eighth, and 1 for 19 offered some solace. "He might not have slept tonight," Manuel said Sunday. Minor victories fuel Ibanez, the 39-year-old nearing the end of a long career.

He is always tinkering, and on his drive to Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday before a 2-1 Phillies victory over the Boston Red Sox, Ibanez decided he would be aggressive.

"I tried something a little different," Ibanez said.

He saw six John Lackey pitches and rapped three for hits. Ibanez drove home both Phillies runs with a single and home run. He belted a Lackey curveball deep into the breezy night in the seventh inning to break a 1-1 tie with his first home run in 90 at-bats and 30 days.

And the Phillies secured their first series win against Boston since 2003 by throwing three pitchers age 25 or younger. Vance Worley, 23, started it and lasted seven innings. Michael Stutes, 24, twirled a perfect eighth. Antonio Bastardo, 25, induced three infield pop-ups for his third career save.

"They gave me a chance to close the game," Bastardo said, "and I did it."

With the win, Manuel assumed sole possession of third place in victories by a Phillies manager. He passed Danny Ozark with win No. 595. Now his team can sweep mighty Boston on Thursday afternoon with Cole Hamels on the mound.

On Wednesday the young pitchers kept a powerful offense stale and the old man provided the offensive firepower. Ibanez's single Sunday may have salvaged some sleep, but the sight of Lackey created excitement.

The two had faced each other 59 times before Wednesday, and 24 times Ibanez had reached base successfully. He had hit .352 (19 for 54) off Lackey.

"It definitely doesn't feel that way," Ibanez said of his success.

In three at-bats against Lackey on Wednesday, Ibanez singled, doubled and homered. He scored Shane Victorino with a single on a first-pitch fastball in the second. That was his first RBI in 17 days. His home run in the seventh on Lackey's second pitch of the at-bat made a winner of Worley.

Ibanez is a streaky hitter - and that could qualify as an understatement. In April, Ibanez hit .161 with a .466 OPS. Ibanez was scorching hot in May with a .315 batting average and .941 OPS. Before Wednesday, June brought a .193 batting average and .497 OPS.

"You still stress out about it," Ibanez said. "You'd think it would get easier."

Lackey lugged a 7.36 ERA into Citizens Bank Park, the worst in the majors among pitchers who had thrown at least 50 innings. He limited the Phillies to two runs but could not contain Ibanez.

For a few innings, Lackey, not Ibanez, was the offensive star. Worley was sharp early, but he encountered trouble in the fifth when he allowed a run-scoring double to Lackey.

Even then, Manuel displayed a great deal of trust in his young righthander. Worley started the seventh at 96 pitches. He issued a leadoff walk to Jarrod Saltalamacchia but escaped with two groundouts and a fly ball.

The phone rang in the bullpen and Mick Billmeyer answered. The bullpen coach has deemed himself "Head Hog," the man overseeing the Pig Pen crammed with young relievers formerly of the triple-A IronPigs.

First he pointed at Stutes. An inning later, he looked at Bastardo. They faced six batters. All six made outs.

Afterward in the winning clubhouse, Bastardo wore a white hat backward as he discussed his brimming confidence. Across the room, Ibanez relayed a story his wife told him about remaining calm during a slump.

"You do everything in your power," Ibanez said.

On pace for 102 wins at the halfway point of 2011, these Phillies have no shortage of poise.


Biggest Winners

Most victories by a manager in Phillies history:

Gene Mauch 645

Harry Wright 636

Charlie Manuel 595

Danny Ozark 594


Elite Company

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Cliff Lee can tie a 100-year-old team record with another shutout Sunday against Toronto.

The Phillies' longest consecutive scoreless streaks:

41.0 innings - Grover Alexander, 1911

32.2 innings - Larry Andersen, 1984 (relief)

32.0 innings - Cliff Lee, 2011

32.0 innings - Ken Heintzelman, 1949

32.0 innings - Robin Roberts, 1950


Contact staff writer Matt Gelb at mgelb@phillynews.com or @magelb on Twitter.

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