Redding leads Nats past Phils
Righty goes 6 1/3 scoreless innings; Milledge drives in two
WASHINGTION -- The Phillies continue to have problems scoring against Nationals right-hander Tim Redding. On Monday night, Redding didn't give up a run in 6 1/3 innings and helped Washington blank Philadelphia, 4-0, at Nationals Park.
On April 2, Redding ended up having one of the best games of his career, pitching seven-plus innings and giving up just one hit, as Washington blanked Philadelphia, 1-0, at Citizens Bank Park. It marked just the second time the Phillies were shut out at the ballpark since it opened in 2004.
This time, Redding wasn't as sharp, giving up seven hits in 6 1/3 innings. In the first inning, Redding was trying to keep the Phillies off-balance with breaking balls, but he found himself falling behind in the count and Philadelphia had runners on first and second and one out.
Redding would eventually get out of the inning by striking out Ryan Howard with his fastball and inducing Pat Burrell to ground out. As Redding walked toward the dugout, bench coach Pat Corrales yelled, "Use your fastball. You got a good one. Use it."
"It felt dead," Redding replied.
"Dead? You just threw a fastball by a home-run hitter [Howard] on a fastball count. It ain't dead."
The Phillies had runners in scoring position in four out of the next six innings, but they were unable to score. It helped that Redding established his fastball during three of those innings.
"Any time you get out of that without giving up runs, it speaks volumes for the defense," Redding said. "I had guys missing balls and hitting them in the air or hitting them right at people on the ground. By no means do I think it was a quality effort as far as making good pitches, but the results were there."
Redding left the game with runners on first and second and one out in the seventh inning, but reliever Saul Rivera got him out of the jam when Shane Victorino grounded out to first baseman Dmitri Young and Chase Utley flew out to left fielder Willie Harris to end the threat.
Redding hasn't allowed a run to the Phillies in 13 1/3 innings this season. Asked why he has been so successful against Philadelphia, Redding joked, "By the grace of God."
Getting serious, Redding said, "There are not a lot of teams that throw shutouts against that offense. But to have the streak of innings that I have against them, it's one of those situations where you try and make good pitches. It sounds cliché and it sounds like the same old, same old. You make the pitches you want to make, you are going to have minimal damage against you. Most times than not, you come out on top."
Redding is now 6-3 with a 3.18 ERA for the season. He believes that he is pitching the quality innings that he did for the Astros in 2003. The difference is he is getting more run support.
"I'm getting for 4 1/2, 5 1/2 runs per game when I'm in there," Redding said. "It's not going to be like that day in and day out. The first couple of innings, we were only up 3-0 against this team. We all know that they can put up a 10 spot quick."
With Phillies right-hander Brett Myers on the mound, the Nationals gave Redding the lead in the first inning, when Young hit a sacrifice fly to drive in Cristian Guzman. Two innings later, Lastings Milledge drove in two runs with a double near the right-field line.
As he reached second base, Milledge was pretending that he was wiping sweat from his forehead. It was his way of saying that he was relieved to get a big hit.
"I need it more for the team than for myself. I know that I will hit eventually and I will come out of the funk that I've been in," he said.
Entering Monday's action, Milledge was in a 3-for-30 slump and acknowledged that he didn't have the bravado that he is known for.
"The swagger is part of my game since I broke in the big leagues. Every time I go out there, I feel I'm the best player out there," Milledge said. "It's gets rough when you don't play to your potential."
But hitting coach Lenny Harris was determined to get Milledge out of his slump.
"Back to the lab," Harris said to Milledge before the game.
During the session, Harris told Milledge to start using his hands and taking the ball to right field. The advice worked, as Milledge went 2-for-4 against the Phillies.
"He knows what I need to do. He knows my swing. You have to have an eye for that. He picks up my swing like that and I've only been here 2 1/2 months," Milledge said.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.