You might think the Phillies' doubling their best single-game run total of the last two weeks would be the big story of tonight's 6-2 win over the NL West leading Padres. Certainly it's happy news that Chase Utley had some good at-bats, Ryan Howard keyed a four-run (!) inning in the third with a two-run double, and Jayson Werth homered for the first time in two weeks. The ten hits the team banged out was nice too.
But nothing should overshadow what the amazing Jamie Moyer did against San Diego. The 47 year-old lefty turned in his second complete game of the season, lowering his season ERA to 3.98, and became just the third pitcher in baseball history to win 100 games after turning 40 years old. Showing hit-a-gnat-in-the-ass control, Moyer had the Padres in front and behind his offerings all night, utilizing their aggressiveness to finish the game with just 98 pitches on a sweltering night. After flirting with disaster in the second inning, when Chase Headley and Yorvit Torrealba started the inning with doubles and Jerry Hairston Jr singled to put men at the corners with no outs and a run in, Moyer induced an around-the-horn double play from Oscar Salazar that plated a second run but cleared the bases, then escaped with no further damage after allowing singles to Chris Denorfia and Jon Garland. San Diego wouldn't get a runner past second base again, picking up only two hits over the last seven innings after tallying five through the first two.
The Phillies broke through with their best inning in weeks in the home third. Shane Victorino--who had tripled to lead off the first inning, then was stranded as Philadelphia collectively bellowed OH NO, NOT AGAIN!--hit the first of three consecutive singles, with Placido Polanco and Utley following suit to score Victorino. Then Howard drove in two with a double to left center, moved to third on a deep flyout from Werth, and scored on a Raul Ibanez sac fly. Two innings later, Howard singled with two outs and came home on Werth's home run, a seeming flyout off the bat that carried into the first row just right of center field.
That was more than enough for Moyer, who has confounded every expectation since losing his rotation spot last summer and battling a succession of health problems through the last third of 2009 that had most of us cursing that two-year contract he received after the 2008 season. With 22 more wins, he'll overtake Hall of Famer Phil Niekro for most victories after turning 40; I'm not sure I'd bet against him.