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Friday, May 07, 2010

The Old Dude Strikes: Moyer Superb In Phillies Opening Victory


Showing that older gentlemen can do anything, much like Julio Franco once did, Jamie Moyer pitched a complete game shutout just one day after Phillies legend Robin Roberts passed away. Philadelphia's offfense gave Moyer his usual support en route to a dominating 7-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

Derek Lowe, the Braves' starter, kept the Phillies off the board for the first two innings, leaving two men on base both times. However, with one out, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit consecutive singles; Howard hit one right past Prado, who was in short right according to the shift. Jayson Werth then followed with a bomb to left field, giving the Phillies a 3-0 lead. The team added four in the fifth with four singles, a walk and another single. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both scored two runs.

Lowe managed to finish the fifth inning so Cox didn't have to burn a reliever. (I wouldn't say Lowe pitched terribly. The Phillies offense is just that good). Derek allowed 11 hits in an outing for the sixth time in his career and 10 or more hits for the 25th time.

The Braves had two firsts occur in the later innings: Brandon Hicks batted for the first time in his career as a pinch-hitter for Lowe in the sixth, but he struck out swinging. Then, Craig Kimbrel, the fire-balling closer prospect whom the Braves called up to replace Jair Jurrjens on the roster, made his major league debut in the seventh inning. He gave up a leadoff double to Werth, but struck out Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz. He got shortstop Wilson Valdez to ground out to second to prevent Werth from scoring.

Kimbrel did exactly what his reputation says: he threw gas (95-97 miles an hour on his fastball) and was very wild (almost threw the ball to the backstop on his first major league pitch and threw a wild pitch during Ruiz's at-bat).

But the man of the hour was Jamie Moyer. He continued the streak of Phillies starters not allowing an earned run against the Braves (32 innings this season). Moyer allowed his first hit to Troy Glaus to lead off the second inning, but he erased him on the next pitch with a double play grounder. Ross then grounded out on the third pitch of the inning, proving once again that it doesn't usually pay to be hyper-aggressive at the plate. Moyer didn't allow another hit until Glaus singled to lead off the eighth, ending a streak of 17 batters retired in a row. Moyer came up in the ninth inning to bat. He was greeted with a standing ovation and chants of his name. He rewarded that with an 11-pitch battle with reliever Jesse Chavez before flying out into foul territory in left.

Moyer got the final three outs in the ninth, completing the game and setting a record for the oldest pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout in MLB history. He was the oldest to pitch a shuout against the Braves since Jerry Koosman, who was 41 years, 198 days old, shut out Atlanta on July 8, 1984. Ironically, Koosman was pitching for the Phillies and the team beat the Braves 7-0.

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