Brett Myers might have won back Phillies fans with a solid performance in his first home start since June 21, but he didn't exactly please his manager with his exit.
Myers pitched the third consecutive strong outing by a Phillies starter, working into the eighth inning, and picked up the decision last night in his team's 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates. But Myers had words with Charlie Manuel after the manager went out to lift him from the game.
After giving up a ground-rule double to Chris Gomez, Myers retired Freddy Sanchez on a hard line drive to shortstop Jimmy Rollins for the second out in the eighth, but Manuel came out of the dugout to bring in left-hander J.C. Romero.
Myers turned his back and walked toward second base when he saw Manuel coming. When Manuel reached the mound, Myers was visibly upset and appeared to say, "This is my [expletive] game," before leaving to a standing ovation from the crowd of 45,060 at Citizens Bank Park.
Television cameras showed Manuel confronting Myers after returning to the dugout. The two exchanged words and Myers turned his back on his manager, who tried to grab him by the shoulder until Myers disappeared up the tunnel leading to the clubhouse.
Manager and player had a brief meeting after the game, however. Myers admitted to reporters, "It's my fault."
"I'm a competitor," Myers said. "I like competing and I wanted to stay in and finish the game. But sometimes your emotions get the best of you and you might do something irrational out there. He thought I did. That's part of the game. It's all patched up now, though. We're buddies."
Myers allowed five hits in 72/3 innings, and is now 2-0 with a 2.10 earned run average in four starts since being recalled from the minors on July 20.
"I missed a month without being here with the team," Myers said, "and I wanted to try to prove myself again that I can pitch in the big leagues - and I wanted to stay out there as long as I could. He made the decision and that's his decision."
Manuel called it a case of "just two strong-willed people disagreeing."
"He's fine," Manuel said. "He just wanted to stay in the game and I like that. There's nothing wrong with that. In fact, if he didn't want to stay in the game, I'd probably be mad.
"I'll tell you something: his confidence got back. That's why I took him out of the game. I wasn't going to let him lose the game. He was leaving on a high note, and there's four left-handed hitters standing there. I wasn't going to give him a chance to get hit. He already pitched a good game and did a good job."
The on-field and dugout drama overshadowed the fact that the Phillies broke their scoreless innings streak at 23 with a pair of first-inning runs and got four hits, including a pair of triples, from Rollins. It was Rollins' first four-hit game of the season.
Chad Durbin worked the ninth, allowing one run, for his first save of the season. Manuel said closer Brad Lidge reported a little arm stiffness after back-to-back 20-plus-pitch outings, but added that Lidge is all right.
The Phillies figured they would eliminate right away the suspense and conjecture over how high their streak of scoreless innings could go, ending the run only two batters into the game following Rollins' leadoff triple and an RBI double by Shane Victorino.
The Phillies had batted only .145 (11 of 76) during their scoreless drought but picked up three hits in their first four batters last night. After Victorino doubled home Rollins, Ryan Howard scored him with a single, Howard's 98th RBI of the season.
That really was all Myers would need.
"I felt pretty good the last three times out," Myers said. "This was about the same. I tried to locate my pitches. When you pitch ahead in the count, it's a little easier to go out there and do your job."