When a team hits four home runs as the Phillies did in yesterday's 9-2 win over the visiting St. Louis Cardinals, it is easy to overlook a table-setter such as centerfielder Shane Victorino.
Then again, it's hard to miss the contribution this year and especially this month. Victorino entered yesterday with a major-league-leading 35 hits in July. Then he added two more while also scoring two runs in the win.
During the just-completed 5-2 homestand, Victorino batted .484 (15 for 31) with eight runs and four RBIs. After going 2 for 4 yesterday, he now has 37 multihit games.
"I don't think I'm doing anything different, I'm just going up there trying to get a good pitch to hit," said Victorino, who is batting .320 with seven home runs, 46 RBIs and 72 runs scored. "If you work hard, your confidence will come together, and this is no different than any other time."
Ryan Howard is from the St. Louis area, and it's obvious that he gets excited playing against the Cardinals. Yesterday he was 3 for 3 with a towering home run and three RBIs, and for his career he is batting .389 (44-113) with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs against the Cardinals.
About two hours before yesterday's game, Phillies reliever J.C. Romero was headed to the airport for a flight to Clearwater. Romero is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left forearm and is eligible to return Aug. 4.
"I don't have a schedule yet, but I am going down there and hopefully I will be back in a week," Romero said. "We have to use precautions and don't want to be dumb about it and do what we have to do."
Matt Stairs got the start yesterday in right field, although he was replaced by Jayson Werth in the top of the seventh inning. Stairs went 0 for 3.
"Jayson had a touch of the flu, and I also needed to get Stairs at-bats and keep him sharp," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He has to hit too, and get in games to face live pitching."
The Phillies did a good job keeping the best player in baseball, Albert Pujols, in check this weekend. Pujols went 3 for 13 with 1 RBI, giving him 92 this year. Yesterday Pujols went 1 for 4 with a first-inning single. He also flew out to right field, hit into a double play, and struck out.
Back in the hunt
St. Louis third baseman Mark DeRosa, the former quarterback at the University of Pennsylvania, isn't complaining about going from a floundering team in the American League Central Division to one that is battling for the National League Central.
DeRosa was acquired from Cleveland on June 27.
"It reenergizes you," said DeRosa, who hit a home run yesterday, his fourth as a Cardinal. "It puts you back in the hunt, and you are around people who are in a good spot mentally, playing good baseball, and for me it was an energy boost."
Shortly after being acquired, DeRosa missed 13 games with a left wrist strain.
"We will reevaluate it at the end of the season, and it's obviously not going to fix itself," he said. "Maybe I'll have surgery at the end of the year, but it feels good now and I will grind through it."
Yesterday's attendance was 45,271, the 44th sellout this year at Citizens Bank Park. . . . Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz is batting .414 (12 for 29 over his last seven games. . . . The Phillies are now 18-8 in their last 26 games against the Cardinals. . . . Jamie Moyer, who starts tonight in the opening of a three-game series in Arizona, is 2-0 lifetime with a 3.00 ERA in three games at Chase Field.