Major Leagues: Phillies 5, Brewers 2
By Rob Maaddi
PHILADELPHIA ó One more loss to the Phillies, and CC Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers will have all winter to rest.
Brett Myers rankled Sabathia with a pesky at-bat and dominated the rest of the Brewers from the mound, and Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 5-2 on Thursday behind Shane Victorino’s grand slam for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five NL playoff series.
Myers allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings, pulling the Phillies within one win of the NL championship series.
Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero worked the eighth, and Brad Lidge had a suspense-free ninth for a change.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the fourth consecutive start, Sabathia had his worst outing since joining the Brewers in a trade with Cleveland on July 7.
The burly left-hander allowed five runs and six hits ó all extra bases ó in 32/3 innings. He walked four, his second-highest total of the season.
“When you’ve got a guy like CC on the ropes you’ve got to take advantage,” Victorino said.
Now, Sabathia might have to wait six months for his next start. And, that might be in a different uniform. The 28-year-old will be one of the most sought-after free agents at the end of the season.
The Phillies are closing in on their first trip to the NLCS in 15 years. Game 3 is Saturday night in Milwaukee, with 45-year-old Jamie Moyer (16-7) pitching for the NL East champions against Dave Bush (9-10).
Sabathia was 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts for Milwaukee, almost single-handedly leading the wild-card Brewers to their first postseason berth since 1982.
But he struggled in the playoffs ó again. He’s lost his last three postseason starts, including two against Boston in last year’s ALCS. Overall, Sabathia is 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in the playoffs.
Sabathia had all his pitches working in the first. Victorino doubled with one out and stole third, but Sabathia struck out Chase Utley and Ryan Howard to end the threat. Utley couldn’t touch Sabathia’s off-speed stuff and Howard had no chance against a 96 mph fastball.
Sabathia was uncharacteristically erratic in the second and the Phillies took advantage. Pedro Feliz followed with an RBI double down the left-field line to tie it at 1.
After Carlos Ruiz grounded out, Sabathia walked Jimmy Rollins to load the bases.
That brought up Victorino, who had a career-high 14 homers this season. Victorino drove a hanging curve into the seats in left to give the Phillies a 5-1 lead.