The wait is over. Five weeks after securing win number 249, Jamie Moyer finally reached the big round number, and nobody could say he didn't do it on merit: six innings, one run, three hits, no walks, four strikeouts against a decent Washington lineup. Moyer held the first four hitters in that lineup--Anderson Hernandez, Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam Dunn--hitless in nine at-bats. It was his third straight start of six innings, and probably ensured that the 46 year-old lefty will keep his spot in the Phillies' suddenly lefty-heavy rotation for the indefinite future. If Moyer delivers performances like today's, nobody will complain.
Offensively, the team did just enough against Nationals starter John Lannan and three relievers. Chase Utley got another measure of payback against the pitcher who broke his hand two years ago with an RBI double in the second inning, and Chris Coste hit a solo homer an inning later. After two Josh Willingham solo home runs sandwiched around a Pedro Feliz RBI on a fielder's choice brought the Nats within 3-2, Ryan Howard drove in Utley with a seventh-inning triple off Joe Beimel. Ryan Madson, working for the third straight day, pitched around some eighth-inning trouble, and Brad Lidge notched his third straight save with a 1-2-3 ninth punctuated by a superb play from Utley, who ranged behind the second-base bag on a hard-hit grounder from Josh Bard and fired to Howard at first to secure the win.
The Phils improved to 28-20 on the season and stayed a half-game ahead of the Mets, who won earlier. Sadly, today marked the last time they'll see the Nationals--against whom they've put up a 10-2 record through four early-season series--until September. The team begins a West Coast trip in San Diego tomorrow night.