Tripling his Werth
Phillies rout Jays behind outfielder's three homers, eight RBIs
PHILADELPHIA -- A chilly, steady rain persisted during a 55-degree Friday night that grew colder with every pitch.The weather and lopsided score didn't matter to most of the 36,600 fans who remained at Citizens Bank Park, hungry for history. Jayson Werth knew they had stayed for him, and he tried to deliver a fourth home run and ninth RBI in the seventh inning. He popped up to end the drama, but his career night was plenty good in Philadelphia's 10-3 win over Toronto as the Phillies opened Interleague Play with a rout. Three homers. Eight RBIs. The fans still got their money's "Werth."
"I will not forget this night," Werth said. "It all happened so fast. It was one of those nights. I don't know what else to say."Really, he had said plenty. His performance tied franchise marks for RBIs in a game and homers in a nine-inning contest. Ryan Howard had the team's last three-homer game for the Phillies, coming on Sept. 3, 2006, against Braves right-hander Tim Hudson. The eight RBIs put Werth in a five-way tie for the franchise best with Kitty Bransfield, Gavvy Cravath, Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones and Mike Schmidt. "It's a great honor to be on that list," Werth said. "I never had a curtain call, and I had two tonight." Werth poured it on against Jays rookie lefty David Purcey, who was optioned to Triple-A Syracuse after the game, lacing two of his home runs to right field. Werth followed two back-to-back second-inning walks to Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell with a three-run homer, and he smacked a grand slam in the third off the Chrysler sign in right-center field, prompting his first standing ovation. RBI No. 8 came on a solo homer off Jays right-hander Jesse Litsch with two outs in the fifth, earning a second curtain call. Werth's eight RBIs on Friday bested his previous career high of four. "We had to throw him out there [on the curtain calls] a couple of times," Howard said. "That's a lot of fun, because you recognize that something special is taking place." Jamie Moyer, who witnessed Mike Cameron's four-homer game in 2002, never relinquished the hefty lead, rebounding from two rough starts to dance through 6 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs. "It was a typical Jamie Moyer game," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "Jayson was definitely the hero of the game." Werth had a way to go to tie or set a Major League record for RBIs in a game. Jim Bottomley and Mark Whiten each had 12 RBIs in a game while playing for St. Louis. Bottomley did it on Sept. 24, 1924, against the Phillies, while Whiten's came on Sept. 7, 1993, against the Reds. Yes, Werth was thinking about four. "It was on my mind, probably," Werth said. "I swung at some pitches I shouldn't have. It was a good night." After entering the season in a platoon situation, Werth is making the most of his chance to play regularly. He has nine homers already, more than all of last season. Though he's been playing predominantly against lefties, he'll likely start against Jays right-hander A.J. Burnett on Saturday. Burnett is the one who broke Werth's wrist in a 2005 Spring Training game that kept him out of baseball for nearly two years. Manuel said he's willing to stick with the hot-hitting Werth. "The one thing they said when I was coming up was that I had some power and I could possibly hit some home runs in the big leagues," Werth said. "Now that I'm healthy and getting the chance to play, hopefully, they'll continue to come." If they do, he'll continue to play. "They say that home runs are accidents," Werth said. "I hope that I have about 20 more accidents this year."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.