Lieber's seven-inning perfection helps Phillies shut out Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Philadelphia's Jon Lieber slowly came to
realize Saturday night that he needed to be as close to perfect as
possible to beat Dave Williams and the Cincinnati Reds.

Lieber was up to the task. Williams allowed just two hits in his
first 6 2-3 innings, but Lieber took a perfect game into the
seventh and gave up two hits in 8 2-3 innings to help the Phillies
beat the Reds 2-0.

Lieber (3-4) didn't allow a walk and struck out six while
throwing 110 pitches, 83 for strikes.

"I knew after the fourth or fifth inning that I couldn't afford
to make a mistake," Lieber said. "When the other pitcher is
pitching like that, you need to step up your game. It puts pressure
on you."

The 36-year-old right-hander retired the first 20 batters he
faced before Adam Dunn lined a single up the middle past shortstop
Jimmy Rollins on an 0-1 pitch with two outs in the seventh inning.
Lieber regrouped to get Austin Kearns to fly out to right fielder
Chris Roberson in foul territory.

"We couldn't get anything going early," Reds manager Jerry
Narron said. "We haven't been able to for the last few games, and
when you face a pitcher like Lieber, it's tough. He throws

The only other hit Lieber gave up was a two-out single to
pinch-hitter Ken Griffey Jr. in the ninth inning. Tom Gordon got
the final out for his 12th save in 13 opportunities to close out
Lieber's third straight win.

"We were just talking about that," Phillies manager Charlie
Manuel said. "If he gets on a hot streak, he can reel off six or
seven like that. He threw strikes and kept the ball down good. We
wanted him to finish the game, but once Griffey got that hit, I
knew it was time to get him."

"He threw so many strikes, and he kept it off our barrels,"
said Reds first baseman Scott Hatteberg, who went 0-for-3. "We
were either early or late."

The Phillies have won 12 of their last 13 games and have handed
the Reds their first back-to-back losses at home this season. The
loss guaranteed Cincinnati its first losing series at home in seven
series this season.

Williams almost matched Lieber pitch for pitch. He allowed a
first-inning single up the middle by Shane Victorino and a
fifth-inning single to left by Sal Fasano. They were the only two
Phillies batters to reach base until center fielder Quinton
McCracken dropped Ryan Howard's routine fly ball with two outs in
the seventh inning for a two-base error. David Bell followed with a
run-scoring double to right field.

"I didn't secure it, and it just popped out," McCracken said.
"Unfortunately, it cost us a run there--Murphy's Law of baseball."

"If we make a couple of plays, maybe it's 0-0 and we're still
playing," Narron said. "In a close game, you have to make routine
plays, and tonight, we didn't."

Williams (2-3) hit Chase Utley to lead off the ninth inning.
Utley stole second, moved to third on Pat Burrell's single to right
and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Todd Coffey.

Williams allowed five hits and no walks with five strikeouts in
8 1-3 innings, his longest outing of the season.

"(Lieber) was putting up zeros, and I was just trying to put up
zeros, too," said Williams, who'd picked up both of his wins over
his last four starts after losing his first two of the season.

"I think Lieber really overshadowed how well Williams threw,"
Hatteberg said.
^Notes: Victorino's streak of hits in consecutive at bats ended at
seven with a third-inning foul popup to C Jason LaRue. Victorino
singled up the middle in the first. The Phillies club record is
nine, held by three players. ... Roberson's eighth-inning leadoff
single was his first career hit ... RHP Julio Santana was placed on
the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right elbow, and
RHP Geoff Geary was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
... RF Bobby Abreu was scratched from the original starting lineup
with back spasms.