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Myers outduels Prior for win

7/24/2002

CHICAGO (AP) -- Brett Myers got control of his nerves early and
then made quick work of the Chicago Cubs in a marvelous major
league debut.

"In the bullpen and the first inning I had some jitters. That
went away. I tried to calm down and pitch my game,'' Myers said
Wednesday after allowing just two hits over eight innings, pitching
the Philadelphia Phillies to a 4-2 win.

"I tried to pitch the best I could. I didn't try to put any
pressure on myself. I tried to play catch with (Mike) Lieberthal,''
he added.

Myers, who said he could hear four or five family members as
they cheered him from the stands, outpitched fellow first-round
pick Mark Prior in a meeting of 21-year-old rookies at windy
Wrigley Field.

"Two young guys who are going to be around baseball for a long
time and do good things,'' said Phillies' Marlon Anderson, who hit
a tiebreaking homer off Prior in the seventh.

Myers left with a 4-1 lead. But Sammy Sosa hit his 31st homer
with two outs in the ninth off Jose Mesa, who then gave up singles
to Fred McGriff and Moises Alou before striking out Corey Patterson
for his 27th save.

Myers (1-0) allowed a third-inning homer to Mark Bellhorn, then
retired 14 straight before Todd Hundley hit a one-out double in the
eighth. Myers, the 12th selection in the 1999 amateur draft, was
called up from Triple-A before the game.

"He really knows how to pitch. He didn't seemed dazed at all,''
said Lieberthal, the Phillies catcher.

"I can't say enough about what the kid did,'' Phillies manager
Larry Bowa said. "He lived up to his reputation. But he's going to
take some lumps. Don't let anyone think this is going to be a
smooth ride. He's going to go through some growing pains''

Myers struck out five and walked just one -- Bill Mueller in the
first. He followed the walk by retiring Sosa and McGriff.

The only other Cubs batter to reach base in the first seven
innings was Bellhorn, who hit his 14th homer through a 14-mph wind
in the third.

"If you haven't seen a guy before, you don't know what he does
or how he works,'' Bellhorn said. "He just pitched well.''

Prior (4-3), the No. 2 pick overall in the 2001 draft, walked a
career-high five while striking eight in seven innings. He gave up
just four hits and said he wasn't worrying too much about Myers.

"I'm not sitting there and watching him too much,'' Prior said.
"The time for that is when I'm not pitching.''

The Phillies had tied the game in the sixth on two walks, a
double steal and Travis Lee's sacrifice fly.

Reliever Tom Gordon walked Abreu and Pat Burrell in the eighth,
and Lee and Mike Lieberthal hit RBI singles that made it 4-1.

Game notes
Philadelphia has used a starter in his major league debut
in eight straight seasons. Myers was 13-4 two years ago at Double-A
Reading and 9-6 this season at Scranton. ... Alou returned to the
Chicago lineup for the first time since leaving Sunday's game with
a bruised right elbow. ... The Phillies placed right-hander Robert
Person on the 15-day disabled list with an inflamed right shoulder.
He lasted two innings Monday against the Cubs.