Phillies pull within 1½ games of Mets with win over Marlins

PHILADELPHIA -- Jayson Werth is nearing the day when he won't have to check if his name is on the lineup card.

Werth hit a three-run homer, Jimmy Rollins had three hits and three steals and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Florida Marlins 8-6 on Monday night.

The Phillies closed within 1½ games of the NL East-leading New York Mets. They remain two behind in the loss column.

"Every game is a must-win," manager Charlie Manuel said. "We have to win more games than they do."

Joe Blanton (2-0) pitched five shaky innings to earn his first win since Aug. 2. Blanton allowed four runs and five hits in his 10th start since Philadelphia acquired him from Oakland.

Chad Durbin tossed two scoreless innings to protect a one-run lead. Three relievers got outs in the eighth and Brad Lidge finished for his 35th save in as many chances. Lidge put the tying runs on base, before escaping the jam by striking out Wes Helms and Jorge Cantu to end it.

Werth drove reliever Joe Nelson's first pitch off the brick batter's eye in straightaway center to put the Phillies ahead 8-4 in the seventh. He earned a curtain call from an appreciative crowd for hitting his 22nd homer.

The right-handed hitting Werth began the season platooning with Geoff Jenkins in right field. He became an everyday player after Jenkins went on the disabled list last month, and has proven he can be an effective full-time player.

"My numbers against right-handers aren't that bad, but sometimes it's hard to shake a label," said Werth, a career .251 hitter against righties.

Werth is hitting .258 (54-for-209) with seven homers and 26 RBIs against right-handers this season. He's batting .304 (42-for-138) with 15 homers and 33 RBIs against left-handers.

"When he improves against right-handers, he'll be a very good everyday player," Manuel said.

Pinch-hitter Cody Ross connected off J.C. Romero in the eighth to slice the deficit in half, but a trio of relievers got the last five outs.

Mike Jacobs also hit a two-run homer for Florida.

The Phillies scored five runs off starter Anibal Sanchez (2-4) in the first two innings.

"To come out so early is not like me," said Sanchez, who lasted 1 2/3 innings.

Chase Utley had an RBI single and Ryan Howard hit a run-scoring double for a 2-0 lead in the first.

Blanton struggled with his control in the second, walking Jacobs and Dan Uggla to start the inning. After Josh Willingham blooped a single to load the bases, John Baker hit a sacrifice fly. Uggla scored on Alfredo Amezaga's grounder to first to tie it at 2.

At least Blanton helped himself at the plate in the bottom half of the inning.

After Carlos Ruiz doubled to put runners at second and third, Blanton lined a sacrifice fly to right for his first career RBI. Rollins and Howard had RBI singles to extend the lead to 5-2, but Jacobs hit his 31st homer to get the Marlins within a run in the third.

Game notes
Struggling LF Pat Burrell was on Philadelphia's bench for the second time in three games. Burrell is batting .175 (21-for-120) with four homers and 13 RBIs since Aug. 1. He has 30 homers and 77 RBIs overall. ... Rollins passed Larry Bowa for fourth place on the club's all-time list with 289 steals. He's tied with Jim Fogarty. Rollins is 41-for-43 this season. ... Utley was hit by pitch for the 25th time, tying his single-season team record set last year. ... Marlins LHP Mark Hendrickson pitched 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief to keep it close. ... Ross has four career pinch-hit homers.