BOSTON - Jamie Moyer had made 620 starts in 24 seasons before Friday night. Constantly, the 47-year-old lefthander has defied the logic of a game rooted in that very principle. So often has the pitcher continued when the game suggested otherwise.
But not until Friday night at Fenway Park had Jamie Moyer ever pitched this poorly.
Boston crushed the Phillies, 12-2. Moyer retired only three batters and allowed nine runs, statistically the worst start of his lengthy career.
The Phillies dropped to third place in the National League East, the latest they have been in third since Aug. 15, 2007.
In the 13 Red Sox batters he faced, Moyer allowed six doubles and a home run. Boston played pinball off the Green Monster in left field. With each shot off the wall, it became painfully obvious that Moyer had nothing on this night.
Finally, after David Ortiz doubled to score the eighth Boston run, Charlie Manuel had seen enough. He took the ball from Moyer, who briskly returned to the dugout and put his coat on. He stuck around to watch the rest of the inning and then headed for the showers.
For Moyer, it was his shortest start since July 4, 1998 (when he was a young buck at 35). It was the sixth time in his career he allowed nine runs or more. The disastrous start raised his ERA from 3.98 to 5.03.
He was only the fifth Phillies starter ever to retire three batters or fewer and allow nine or more runs, according to Baseball Reference. The last was Ryan Madson on April 20, 2006.
It was so bad that in the middle of the fourth inning, Manuel waved the white flag. And this was no spring training exhibition in Fort Myers, Fla.
He told Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Shane Victorino their nights were done. In came Greg Dobbs, Wilson Valdez and Ben Francisco. Howard had played every inning of every game to that point.
It's rare that Manuel will give up on a game that early, but with the way the Phillies have played of late, there was little the manager could do but throw up his hands.
These Phillies have reached another low point in 2010.
It got ugly. Real ugly.
With no outs in the third inning, the Red Sox had 13 hits. David Herndon, Antonio Bastardo and Kyle Kendrick (who could pitch in relief only because the Phillies are giving him an extra day in between starts) mopped up Moyer's mess.
The Red Sox fans, so bored with the game, loudly chanted "Beat L.A.!" in the seventh inning, an ode to the Celtics taking on the Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Before the rout even started, the matchup suggested it could be a long night for Moyer, who wouldn't have started this game if it wasn't for a rainout Wednesday in Philadelphia. In 26 career games at Fenway Park, Moyer had a 5.43 ERA. He hasn't won here since 1999.
In the first inning, Victor Martinez, Ortiz and Adrian Beltre hit back-to-back-to-back doubles to score three runs. Then, Mike Lowell, relegated to the end of the Boston bench and the subject of perpetual trade rumors, hit his first home run in 58 at-bats.
Moyer needed 41 pitches to finish the first. It looked like batting practice.
The lefthander entered Friday with a 2.76 ERA in his last six starts. Moyer was coming off a complete-game gem against San Diego and had been one of the team's more reliable pitchers in 2010.
But Friday night is one the ageless pitcher will want to soon forget.