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MIL@PHI: Victorino smokes a solo shot to put Phils up

PHILADELPHIA -- It was not a hit and run. It was a run and hit, and it worked out perfectly. But the bit of strategy that got the Phillies going in their 4-3 win over the Brewers on Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park was a move by the manager to push a struggling offense and try to create something for a team that seemed a little too lethargic.

With the Phillies down, 3-0, in the sixth inning, Wilson Valdez walked to lead off. After a flyout, Shane Victorino had worked a 3-2 count, and Phillies manager Charlie Manuel sent Valdez. It wasn't a hit and run; Valdez was stealing and Victorino was on his own. But Victorino saw Rickie Weeks break for second to cover and alertly slapped a single that way to put runners at first and third, and suddenly the Phillies had a threat.

"That was a big play in the game," Manuel said. "I just said, 'I'm going to send him.' At that point, what the heck -- you've got to try to make something happen."

Then Placido Polanco drilled his second homer of the season to left to tie it. Two innings later, Victorino followed his small ball with a long ball, hitting a homer in the eighth that gave the Phillies the lead.

While the Phillies have often conceded that they'll have to play some more aggressive small ball at times, Manuel was happy to see that the three-run homer is still in their arsenal.

"It's the quickest way I know to score runs," Manuel said. "Look, we have to hit. And we will hit some home runs, if we have good at-bats.

"Before that, we just weren't playing too good. We weren't ... energetic, that might be a word to use. It was like we were moving kind of slow. But we stayed with it, and [Cliff] Lee kept us close and gave us a chance. When you're not hitting, you look flat. You look like you're not doing anything."

After that kickstart in the sixth, the Phillies did what Manuel always wants -- they hung in there and played it out.

"I've spent a lot of years watching baseball, and I've seen teams jump out and get a lead," Manuel said. "But if you just keep an even keel, you'll always have a good chance to catch up and maybe win. You'll have a chance to crawl back in it. That's basically what happened today. We didn't play too good, but we crawled back in it."

The Phillies entered Wednesday in a 55-for-270 skid (.204) over their last eight games, scoring just 29 runs -- and never more than four in a game, and only twice more than three. And Wednesday began with 4 2/3 hitless innings against Brewers lefty Chris Narveson. John Mayberry Jr.'s double in the fifth finally broke up the no-hitter, but Carlos Ruiz followed with a line drive toward right that Rickie Weeks leaped to stab, ending the inning.

"That's why you play nine," Victorino said. "We've struggled a little at the plate, but it's never too late. You have to stay focused and try to find a way to win."

The pitch Polanco hit to tie the game was a cutter from Narveson, who until that point was pitching a gem.

"For the most part, I felt like I commanded the game," Narveson said. "It's unfortunate that it ended up the way it did."

"It was a good pitch," Polanco said. "It was down and in. I put a good swing on it, but it was probably what he wanted to do.

"The guy was pitching a great game. But in the dugout, we were just encouraging everybody, just 'Come on, let's go.'"

For the game-winner, Victorino was waiting for a fastball from Brandon Kintzler, and got it.

"He'd just beat me with a fastball in, and I told myself I wasn't going to let him do that a second time," Victorino said. "I was looking for a fastball in, and I got it."

Lee said he didn't have his best stuff Wednesday, but he battled through six innings and allowed just two earned runs (an unearned run scored in the third after a Valdez error). Lee walked one and struck out one, throwing 93 pitches (68 for strikes).

"They're swinging the bat well, and they've got a good offense," Lee said. "I had to battle; I didn't have my best stuff. I felt fine. I just wasn't as sharp as I'd like to be."

The Phillies averted what would have been their first sweep to the Brewers in Philadelphia. Ryan Madson picked up the win with a scoreless eighth inning, and Jose Contreras finished for his fourth save. Comments