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BOS@PHI: Ibanez's solo shot gives Phils the lead

PHILADELPHIA -- The record is nice, but the record is just a number.

The Phillies finished the first half of their season Wednesday with a 2-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Citizens Bank Park. They are 51-30, which puts them on pace to win a franchise-record 102 games.

"It just says we're winning," Jimmy Rollins said. "That's all."

The Phillies are not chasing a number. They are pursuing something much greater. Raul Ibanez, who went 3-for-3 with a double, home run and two RBIs, agreed. He would trade 102 victories and more disappointment in October for 90 victories and a World Series championship.

Of course, these Phillies can have both. They just need contributions from everybody.

Ibanez, Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo provided those contributions Wednesday, giving the Phillies their first series victory over Boston since 2003.

Ibanez entered Wednesday's contest an awful slump, hitting just .045 (1-for-22) with two walks and six strikeouts in seven games since June 18. But he had a couple things going for him Wednesday: First, the law of averages. Ibanez had to start hitting sooner or later, right? Second, he got a chance to face Red Sox right-hander John Lackey. He had hit .345 (19-for-54) with four doubles and six RBIs against him in his career.

"It definitely doesn't feel that way," said Ibanez, who was reminded about his previous success against Lackey.

Ibanez singled to center field in the second inning to score Shane Victorino from second base to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. It was Ibanez's first RBI since June 12. Ibanez, who doubled in the fourth, then hit a solo home run to right field in the seventh inning to give Philadelphia a 2-1 lead.

It was Ibanez's first homer since May 30.

"[I] tried a little something different, be more aggressive at the plate," he said.

Ibanez has had some remarkable peaks and valleys this season. He had a 0-for-35 slump earlier this season. He then hit .297 with 13 doubles, one triple, seven home runs and 22 RBIs in 43 games from May 3 to June 18 before his recent slump.

Worley allowed five hits, one run, two walks and struck out five in a career-high seven innings against a tough Red Sox offense. Boston added some pop to its lineup when it moved Adrian Gonzalez into right field and David Ortiz, who typically is the Red Sox's designated hitter, to first base. Gonzalez played in right for just the second time of his career, and the first since 2005. Ortiz had not played first base since June 27, 2010.

But Worley handled himself quite nicely, giving the Phillies the feeling they will be fine while Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton recover from their injuries on the disabled list.

"It's an achievement, yeah," Worley said. "It just shows I can compete at this level against one of the top talents."

The Red Sox were impressed.

"He looked like he's been around for a long time," said Ortiz. "He's got good command, you know, and, man, he looked like one of those big starters they have right there. He looked very comfortable, you know what I'm saying? I don't blame him. He's got the best pitching staff around him. A smart guy takes advantage of it, tries to learn, talks to those guys and sees what they're thinking when they're pitching."

"He was very good," Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. "We put up one run. I thought we had a couple of balls to hit and we missed them, and if he missed over the middle, he didn't miss again. He was down. His stuff was crisp. We didn't do much."

A depleted bullpen looked more than OK. Stutes pitched a perfect eighth and Bastardo pitched a perfect ninth to pick up his third save of the season. Bastardo officially became the team's fourth closer with Brad Lidge, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson on the disabled list.

"We stick together," Ibanez said. "We pull together when we need to. We pull together in hard times. It's a real team."

It's a team that is on pace to win 102 games. But that number doesn't matter to them. They'd rather win 11 games in the postseason, which would give them their second World Series championship in four years. Comments