NEW YORK - For the second game in two days, Phillies closer Brad Lidge gave up a lead in the ninth inning. This time, he gave up two ground-ball singles and the Yankees stole two bases to score the run that sent the game into extra innings.
Lidge, who was successful in all 48 of his save situations last season, has blown four saves. But after yesterday's 4-3, 11-inning win, he said he was closer to turning around his shaky season.
"Today was totally different than [Saturday]," he said. "I felt great. I threw the ball where I wanted to, but they got two ground balls that weren't necessarily hit that well, and the stolen bases. It's a recipe for a run."
The Phillies point to Lidge's 94- or 95-m.p.h. fastball and his biting slider as evidence that he still has good stuff. Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee said that Lidge can't effectively set up his slider while he's struggling to throw his fastball accurately and that hitters are taking more pitches against him.
"It's being committed to what he's doing," Dubee said before the game. "He's caught up in, 'Do I throw a slider or fastball there?' Instead of just being committed. 'Hey, I'm going to throw this here, and I'm going to throw it to a certain spot.' "
Lidge had been walking leadoff hitters, as he did Saturday, when he gave up three runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 Phillies loss. Yesterday, he pitched out of the stretch to the first batter, as he said he'd do after Saturday's game. The first batter he faced, Robinson Cano, hit a single that Chase Utley knocked down in the infield.
"He's just searching right now for the right way to go about it," Dubee said.
"Once his head gets cleared up and his attitude and his commitment to his pitches, Brad Lidge is going to be fine."
Cole Hamels said that when he hears a bat break while he's pitching, he expects something good to happen. Such as a pop-up or weak grounder.
But in the sixth inning yesterday, the Yankees' Mark Teixeira hit a broken-bat home run, an indication of the first baseman's remarkable strength.
"He's a strong guy, and he got the barrel of the bat on it and it took off," said Hamels, who struck out Alex Rodriguez three times. "I'm thinking it's definitely an out. I guess there's a first for everything."
John Mayberry Jr., who hit a three-run homer in his major-league debut Saturday, will remain with the Phillies, Charlie Manuel said yesterday.
"Mayberry's going to stay here a while," Manuel said. "How long is up to Big John."
The 6-foot-6 Mayberry, called up from triple-A Lehigh Valley for Saturday's game, went 0 for 5 yesterday. He gives the Phillies a needed righthanded batter.
Jamie Moyer, scheduled to start tonight against Chris Volstad and the Florida Marlins, is 12-1 with a 2.84 ERA in 821/3 innings against Florida. He has allowed two earned runs or fewer in 10 of his 13 career starts against Florida. . . . Shane Victorino has hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games, batting .342 during that stretch. . . .The Phils are 4-1 in extra-inning games.