Oswalt, Polanco lead Phillies past Giants
PHILADELPHIA – Charlie Manuel couldn’t stop chuckling.
The Philadelphia Phillies, depleted by injuries to star players throughout the year, now are alone atop the NL wild-card standings.
What’s their manager think about that?
“We don’t care about the wild card,” Manuel said.
Roy Oswalt pitched seven sharp innings, Placido Polanco had four hits and Philadelphia beat the San Francisco Giants 9-3 on Tuesday night.
The Phillies took a one-game lead over San Francisco in the wild-card race. The two-time NL champions remained 2 1/2 games behind Atlanta in the East.
“We’re trying to win our division,” Oswalt said, shrugging off the wild card.
Pat Burrell homered in his first regular-season game at Citizens Bank Park since leading the victory parade down Broad Street after the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. Jose Guillen also connected for the Giants.
All-Star second baseman Chase Utley went 0 for 5 in his return to Philadelphia’s lineup after having thumb surgery on July 1.
“I felt pretty good,” Utley said. “Obviously, there’s room for improvement.”
Oswalt (8-13) allowed three runs and six hits, striking out seven. The three-time All-Star is 2-1 in four starts since the Phillies acquired him from Houston.
He came here to pitch in big games, and delivered with another strong outing. Oswalt was 0-3 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Giants with the Astros.
“This is what I miss,” he said about pitching in a playoff race. “In ’05, we got to do that in Houston. Hopefully something magical will happen this season and we get back to the World Series.”
Barry Zito (8-7) struggled after a strong start and ended up allowing four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.
“He was doing well,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He made a mistake on (Jimmy) Rollins’ hit then got a ball up the next inning.”
Burrell, who had a love-hate relationship with fans during nine seasons in Philadelphia, got a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning. Burrell tipped his helmet to fans before stepping into the batter’s box. But those cheers turned into boos while he circled the bases.
“I’ve received the full spectrum here,” he said before the game.
Utley also received a standing ovation when he came up in the first. He was expected to miss at least eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his right thumb.
Zito baffled the Phillies over four innings with an assortment of offspeed pitches, including a slow curve clocked at 70 mph. But the lefty couldn’t get out of the sixth.
Polanco led off the inning with a single and Jayson Werth lined a double to left. Shane Victorino followed with a two-run double to left-center, putting the Phillies up 4-2.
Guillen crushed a solo shot to left to cut it to 4-3 in the seventh.
Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double off Chris Ray during a five-run eighth that put the game out of reach.
Bochy was ejected for arguing a balk call by Ramon Ramirez that allowed the eighth run to score.
Rollins lined a two-run single to center to tie it at 2 in the fifth.
“There’s so much baseball to play,” Rollins said. “Only sure way in (the playoffs) is to win the division. Our goal is to win as many as we can. It’s still pretty early to focus on the wild card.”
Notes: Phillies All-Star 1B Ryan Howard is “getting close” to returning, Manuel said. Howard has been sidelined with a left ankle strain. … Burrell has 11 homers in 57 games with the Giants. He was released by Tampa Bay earlier in the season. … Polanco was 3 for 3 off Zito. He’s 12 for 16 lifetime against him. … A crowd of 45,401 was the 98th straight sellout at Citizens Bank Park. … Giants starters are 0-8 with a 5.97 ERA in the last 13 games.
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