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Phillies Notebook: Stairs breaks up Brewers' no-hitter with pinch-hit home run


Phillies Notebook: Stairs breaks up Brewers' no-hitter with pinch-hit home run
As Matt Stairs strode to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning yesterday, destiny seemed to be wearing a Brewers uniform. Righthander Dave Bush, a Conestoga High product, had just watched Milwaukee third baseman Bill Hall make a spectacular play to corral a weak ground ball and throw across his body to beat Greg Dobbs by a step at first base, extending Bush's no-hit bid to 7 1/3 innings.

At that point in time, Stairs said he turned from the on-deck circle and looked into the dugout at Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins.

"I'm like, 'Uh-oh,' " Stairs said.

Five pitches later, however, Bush watched Stairs' 16th career pinch-hit home run bounce off the foul pole in rightfield, then dropped into a crouch on the mound as his bid for history ended.

While the Phillies may have avoided the dubious distinction of being no-hit for the first time since Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch did it on April 16, 1978, they did not take much solace in it afterward.

Until Stairs' home run, they were trailing 6-0 and had become the first team this season to allow a Brewers starter to pitch seven innings. The Phillies reached base five times against Bush in the first 7 1/3 innings, three times on walks and twice on hit-batsmen. But unlike their 3-1 loss to Milwaukee on Wednesday, they were unable to put many quality swings on the ball.

"I didn't like the way we hit," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I didn't like the way we were swinging the bats. [On Wednesday] we hit some balls on the nose. The first ball we hit hard today was Stairs' ball off the foul pole for a home run."

First baseman Ryan Howard complimented the movement on Bush's fastball, while Stairs said he felt that the righthander's off-speed pitches gave his teammates trouble.

"He just mixed it up," said Howard, who went 0-for-4. "Today was his day. He was doing what pitchers are supposed to do and that's miss the barrel [of the bat]."

The Phillies added one more hit off Bush in the eighth inning - a single through the right side of the infield by Shane Victorino - before he was pulled in favor of reliever Mitch Stetter.

Now, the Phillies will head to Florida to face the 11-4 Marlins and attempt to recapture some offensive rhythm. Since scoring 11 runs on 13 hits against the Brewers on Tuesday, they have managed just two runs on 10 hits.

"I don't know what I can do," Manuel said. "I can't hit. My hitting days are over."

Rehab for RuizCatcher Carlos Ruiz, on the disabled list with a right oblique strain, will begin a rehab assignment at Triple A Lehigh Valley on Sunday. Manuel said on Wednesday that the assignment would likely cover four games, during which he would catch two games and serve as a designated hitter for two games. Ruiz, who injured himself blocking a ball in the dirt against the Rockies on April 10, is eligible to be activated from the DL on Sunday, but likely will not be ready to rejoin the team until early next week.

PhillersLefthander Mike Zagurski, who has spent the last year-and-a-half recovering from hamstring and elbow surgery, was activated off the disabled list and optioned to Class A Clearwater . . . Righthander Brad Lidge made his first appearance since blowing his first save as a Phillie on Saturday, allowing one hit and striking out one in a scoreless ninth inning . . . Chase Utley went 0-for-4, snapping his 33-game on-base streak, which was the longest by a Phillie since he went 35 straight games in 2006 . . . Raul Ibanez' nine-game hitting streak was snapped . . . Lefthander J.A. Happ allowed three runs on three hits and three walks in 1 2/3 innings of relief. *


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 24, 2009

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