Considering how much of the roster returned from last October's world f. champion, it's striking how different the 2009 Phillies seem from their immediate predecessor. Where the 2008 World Series winners got it done primarily with pitching, this year's model has relied on a potent lineup to outslug the mistakes of its hapless hurlers. So it was again on Tuesday night in St. Louis, as the Phils moved into first place in the NL East for the first time this season with a 10-7 win over the Cardinals.
Shane Victorino hit early and often, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead with a first-inning solo home run and finishing the night with four hits--lifting his batting average to .308 on the season--and three runs scored. But it was Jayson Werth's three-run homer in the fifth inning that stretched the visitors' lead from 4-3 to 7-3, giving starter Brett Myers some breathing room.
He needed it. Myers evened his record at 2-2, but gave up nine hits, including two more home runs, and five runs in 5 1/3 innings. He left with the bases loaded and the score 7-4, but got off the hook when Scott Eyre escaped the jam with a sacrifice fly that brought the Cards within two runs--on a nice running catch by Victorino--and a popup. The Phils scored two more runs in the seventh on RBI singles from Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz, and Clay Condrey gave one back in the bottom of the inning and let two more into scoring position before Ryan Madson came on to douse the fire. Madson pitched a scoreless eighth, recording four outs on ten pitches for his evening's work, and after the Phils tacked on another run in the ninth, a still-scuffling Brad Lidge surrendered a mammoth solo homer to old nemesis Albert Pujols before closing things out.
The win was only the team's third leading all the way, and the ten runs scored represented the fifth time in 24 games that the Phils broke double digits. The club also improved to 8-2 on the road this season. Up next: a two-game visit to the Mets' new Citi Field home, with New York ace Johan Santana tapped to pitch Wednesday.