The wait is over.
It had been a long time since Adam Eaton had a W next to his name. It had been a little more than eight months, actually. That's a long time for a starting pitcher to wait for a W.
But Eaton finally earned one after he allowed four hits, a run and a walk in six innings last night in a 6-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park, which completed a three-game sweep of the team that swept the Phillies from the National League division series in October.
It also moved the Phillies within a half-game of the Florida Marlins in the National League East, with the Marlins coming to town for a three-game series beginning tomorrow night.
"It's been a while since I've been out there for a team victory, let alone my own," Eaton said. "Earlier in the year, we were 4-2 after my first six starts, so I really didn't care at that point. But now, getting close to June, it's nice to say, 'You know what? I can pitch in a game where we win.' It's probably a little bit of a psychological thing, but I really don't care if I get wins as long as we win the game."
Eaton (1-3, 4.99 ERA) hadn't picked up a win since Sept. 21 against the Washington Nationals at RFK Stadium. Last night's victory snapped a streak of 11 consecutive starts without one: his last start in 2007 and his first 10 starts this season.
Eaton is 11-13 with a 5.93 ERA in 41 career starts for the Phillies, but he has pitched well in his last two. He allowed three runs in seven innings Friday in Houston, which makes this the fourth time in his Phillies career he has had at least two consecutive quality starts.
Can he keep this up?
"If he can get into the sixth or seventh inning, I think he'll be OK," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I think that's big for him."
"Tonight I wasn't great getting ahead in the count, but I was able to get some pitches to get back to even," Eaton said. "I feel good about the way I've been throwing, really throughout the year, with some glimpses of not-so-good stuff. It's nice to have back-to-back games, really three games, where I've thrown the ball pretty well."
Eaton benefited from Chase Utley's monstrous three-run home run - he leads the majors with 17 homers - and Geoff Jenkins' two-run homer to right in the fifth inning.
But it wasn't over till it was over. Eaton knew that.
"I was nervous, to be honest with you," he said. "It was a weird feeling. I've got quite a few wins on my belt. I've pitched with leads before. But it was definitely nice to get that first one out of the way."
The Phillies just hope there are more.