SAN FRANCISCO (ESPN.com news services) -- A humbled Brett Myers returned to a comfortable place yesterday. It took him some real thinking to get there.
In his first time back on a major league mound after being arrested by Boston police for domestic assault and battery three weeks ago, Myers pitched seven strong innings to help the Philadelphia Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 Sunday.
"I had some time to think about some things and put things in perspective," Myers told the Philadelphia Inquirer. "I think I was ready to come back and do my job. ... I think there's always going to be that in the back of my mind. But to go out there and just pitch is something that I want to do. I think it was time for me to go out and do it."
Myers (6-3) allowed Barry Bonds' 721st career home run but settled down to let up five hits and strike out seven after sitting out nearly three weeks.
Bonds, who went 1-for-4 with two strikeouts, has his own trouble, facing the imminent
possibility of indictment from a federal grand jury on charges of
perjury and tax evasion stemming from the BALCO probe.
They faced each other three times: Bonds flied out to the
warning track and struck out before homering in the sixth inning.
Myers knows that his ordeal isn't over. He must undergo court-mandated counseling and his next
court date is Aug. 4. He also has to face the tough fans in Philly. He pitches at Citizens Bank Park Saturday against Atlanta.
"I don't know," Myers told the Inquirer of that challenge. "I've got total respect for the fans. They come in, pay their hard earned money to do as they choose, so we'll just have to see what happens."
After the game, Myers echoed Bonds' familiar approach of sidestepping
his controversy and speaking only of moving ahead with his life.
"I've got to go out there and do my job regardless of
situations," Myers said. "It's something I'm paid to do. I felt
like the team needed today, needed to win this series."
While working out with minor leaguers in Class-A Clearwater and
following the Phillies' games on his computer, Myers longed for a
return to the normalcy of his major league routine -- and he got it
in a strong start.
But San Francisco's fans greeted him with the same reception
he's likely to get for the rest of the season: Myers was booed when
his name was announced in the starting lineup, and again before
each of his three at-bats.
Still, the boos weren't as vociferous as the jeers in Boston on
the day after the incident last month.
"I didn't even hear nothing," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel
said. "That isn't getting booed. You come to Philly. ... I talked
to him a little bit, [but] I think he got enough schooling. I think
he had a lot of people talking to him."
The right-hander kept Philadelphia in the game until a lengthy
eighth-inning rally keyed by Ryan Howard's tiebreaking RBI single.
Myers hadn't pitched since June 24 -- the day after he was
arrested for allegedly striking his wife, Kim, in the face on a
Boston street corner. He was placed on the temporary inactive list
after pleading not guilty to the charges. He returned to the
Phillies on Friday, making a brief statement of apology.
"The first one is always the toughest," Myers said of his
return. "I've just got to go out there and work."
Bonds hit his 13th homer of the season on a 3-2 pitch from
Myers, who became the major league-record 427th pitcher to allow a
homer to the San Francisco slugger. The solo shot barely reached
the stands in left-center, and the ball was fumbled back onto the
Bonds hit his first homer in nine days, but the slugger could
face more distractions if he is indicted -- something that could
happen as early as Monday, though nobody is certain of the status
of the grand jury's secret proceedings.
When asked his thoughts about the possible indictment, Bonds
replied: "Nothing. I'm not worried about it."
Bonds' homer put San Francisco ahead 2-1, but David Bell tied it
moments later with a solo homer, just his fifth of the year.
Bell added a run-scoring triple in the eighth for the Phillies,
who took two of three from the Giants to win consecutive series for
the first time since May. Aaron Rowand, who had two RBI doubles,
was pleased both by the Phillies' weekend play and Myers' rebound.
"We're being his teammate," Rowand said. "That's what we're
supposed to be on the baseball field and in life."
Myers had a rocky second inning, allowing Bonds' fly to the
warning track which might have reached the seats, but Pat Burrell
easily hopped up to grab it. Ray Durham then hit his 14th homer of
But the right-hander settled down in the third, eventually
retiring nine of 10 -- including five straight strikeouts with Pedro Feliz's single sandwiched in between. He struck out Bonds with a
high 91-mph fastball to start the string.
"[Bonds] was attacking the ball," Giants manager Felipe Alou
said. "He's been more aggressive. Therefore, he's been swinging at
bad pitches. Now I have to get used to that approach and let it
Matt Cain yielded just one hit and four walks in six strong
innings for the Giants, but got a no-decision for the third
Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to a career-best 18
games with a leadoff triple in the eighth off Steve Kline (2-2).
The Giants walked Burrell to get to Howard, who lined a single to
right -- and after Jonathan Sanchez relieved Kline, pinch-runner
Shane Victorino scored from third on a wild pitch.
Durham left the game in the sixth with a jammed right shoulder,
and Alou said his condition was "not good."
The Giants sent slumping 1B Lance Niekro to Triple-A Fresno
before the game. San Francisco recalled 1B Chad Santos, who made
his major league debut in a double-switch in the eighth -- and
Santos got his first career hit moments later.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.