BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

Oh, what a feeling


Two days after Brett Myers and a Philadelphia newspaper reporter had a nasty verbal postgame confrontation, the Phillies are back on track. They've picked up two games on the Mets in the last two days, creeping to within five games of first place in the NL East after beating New York on Monday.

The Phillies still have a bit of an uphill climb, but their offense is coming alive at the right time. They were hitting just .209 at home against the Mets this season, but pounded Brian Lawrence and company for 18 hits in their latest victory. Pat Burrell, already well-established as a Mets killer, had a nifty night with a home run, and Jayson Werth has provided unexpected offense the last two days. Chase Utley also returned to the lineup and made a big impact, putting the Phillies in position to make a charge as the season enters its final month.

GETTING THEIR PHIL (LAST TWO GAMES)
• .438 BA, 23 runs, 35 hits, five home runs
• Werth has hits in nine straight at-bats, one shy of NL record.
• Burrell hit his 38th home run vs. Mets, 25th with two-strike count.

FORWARD THINKING: TUESDAY
• Red Sox at Yankees, 7:05 p.m. ET: The beasts of the AL East renew their storied rivalry. Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.69) gets the call in the opener for the pinstripes. He's been lights-out in August, going 5-0 with a 2.06 ERA. Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-10, 3.76) is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in his last three outings, but he's won both of this starts against New York this season.

• Mets at Phillies, 7:05 p.m. ET: Philadelphia needs to win these head-to-head matchups with New York to make up ground in the playoff standings. Adam Eaton (9-8, 6.36) comes off the DL to make his first start since Aug. 11. He is 5-0 with a 1.89 career ERA against the Mets. Tom Glavine (11-6, 4.32) has been leading by example. The veteran lefty is 4-0 with a 4.24 ERA in the second half and hasn't lost a start since July 2.

• Cardinals at Astros, 8:05 p.m. ET: Interim manager Cecil Cooper has 31 games to prove he's worthy for the full-time job in Houston. His first order of business is to get the Astros motivated to play spoiler down the stretch. Despite struggling most of the season, Woody Williams (8-12, 4.84) is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA over his last four starts. Braden Looper (10-10, 4.90) takes the bump for the Cards. Looper is 4-7 with a 6.51 ERA on the road.

• Tuesday's complete list of probable starters

NEWS AND NOTES
Gary Sheffield • The Tigers put Gary Sheffield on the 15-day disabled list because of a sore shoulder. The move was retroactive to Aug. 22, and the roster spot was filled by outfielder Timo Perez, who was recalled from Triple-A Toledo. Detroit also put right-hander Jair Jurrjens on the DL with right shoulder inflammation. They replaced him with right-hander Zach Miner from Triple A.

• Pedro Martinez is getting sharper, a sign that he could be getting closer to rejoining the Mets. The three-time Cy Young Award winner allowed an unearned run and five hits in six innings for the St. Lucie Mets against the Palm Beach Cardinals in a Class A Florida State League game. It was the fourth rehab start for Martinez, who is coming back from rotator cuff surgery. Martinez threw 52 of 88 pitches for strikes -- mixing his cutter, sinker and changeup with a fastball in the 84-88 mph range.

Chris Young • All-Star right-hander Chris Young had an encouraging bullpen session, and the Padres are cautiously optimistic he can start Thursday against the Diamondbacks or Friday against the Dodgers. The 6-foot-10 right-hander was forced to leave his start against the Mets on Aug. 21 after five innings because of lower back pain. He returned to San Diego to have his back checked and missed his scheduled start Aug. 26 at Philadelphia.

• Even though he has become a part-time player for the Rangers since joining the 600-homer club, Sammy Sosa still plans for his comeback to be longer than one season. "If it's not here, it will be somewhere else, believe me," said Sosa, who has started only 10 of the Rangers' last 26 games. "I feel great. Definitely, I want to play another year."

Aaron Boone • Marlins infielder Aaron Boone will undergo arthroscopic knee surgery and miss the rest of the season. Boone has been on the disabled list since June 25. Surgery is scheduled for Sept. 4. "I'm actually a little relieved that they're going to just go in there and clean it up," Boone said. "Just give me a clean bill of health to go into the offseason and rehab this thing properly."

• Giants right-hander Vinnie Chulk went on the 15-day disabled list with a blood clot in his right hand. Chulk complained of coldness in his fingers and will see a specialist for further evaluation. San Francisco purchased the contract of right-hander Tyler Walker from Triple-A Fresno to replace Chulk. To make room on the 40-man roster, pitcher Russ Ortiz was transferred to the 60-day DL.

• Charles Albert "Chuck" Comiskey II, grandson and namesake of the Chicago White Sox founder and a former front-office executive and co-owner during the "Go Go Sox" years in the 1950s, died in his sleep Aug. 26 in Hinsdale, Ill. He was 81.

EASY AS 1, 2, 3
Indians turn triple play in win over Twins.
IN THE ZONE
John Lackey John Lackey pitched his second straight shutout against the Mariners, and the Angels beat Seattle 6-0 to increase their AL West lead to three games. Lackey (16-8) struck out five and walked none to improve to 3-0 against the M's this season. He hasn't allowed a run in 24 innings against them, and all 18 of Seattle's hits have been singles.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Mark Avery/AP Photo
Dodgers closer Takashi Saito played Gumby against the Nats and picked up his 35th save.
NOTEWORTHY PERFORMANCES
GOOD
Jose Contreras Jose Contreras notched his first win as a starter in two months, allowing four runs and eight hits over seven innings in a 5-4 victory against Tampa Bay. He improved his career record to 5-0 against the Devil Rays. Contreras (7-16), who leads the major leagues in losses, had dropped nine straight starts since beating Florida on June 18 and had lost 13 of 14. His lone victory since beating the Marlins was in relief against Cleveland on Aug. 8.
BAD
Scott Olsen Scott Olsen allowed 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits in four innings as the Marlins lost to the Braves 13-2 -- Florida's fourth straight loss and 12th in 13 games. Olsen (9-12, 5.60) fell to 1-5 in seven starts since he was arrested July 21 for driving under the influence and resisting an officer.
UGLY
Mike Mussina Mike Mussina might've pitched himself out of the Yankees' rotation in a 16-0 loss to the Tigers. Mussina lasted just three innings and gave up six runs on nine hits. He's surrendered at least six earned runs in three straight starts and lasted three innings or fewer in back-to-back outings. Mussina has allowed 19 earned runs in 9 2/3 innings in his last three starts, raising his ERA from 4.50 to 5.53.
HIT THE ROAD
Astros fire Phil Garner and Tim Purpura.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT
"We want to be division champions, and we feel like we can do that."
-- Padres RHP Jake Peavy after trimming Arizona's lead in the NL West to two games


 

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