PHILADELPHIA – With one more loss to the Phillies, CC Sabathia and the Milwaukee Brewers will have all winter to rest.
Brett Myers rankled Sabathia with a pesky at-bat and dominated the rest of the Brewers from the mound as Philadelphia beat Milwaukee 5-2 on Thursday night behind Shane Victorino’s grand slam for a 2-0 lead in their best-of-five NL playoff series.
“I don’t think starting on three days’ rest had anything to do with it,” Sabathia said. “I just didn’t make pitches when I needed to.”
Myers allowed two runs and two hits in seven innings, pulling the Phillies within one win of the NL Championship Series. Ryan Madson and J.C. Romero worked the eighth, and Brad Lidge had a suspense-free ninth for a change.
Pitching on three days’ rest for the fourth consecutive start, Sabathia had his worst outing since joining the Brewers in a trade with Cleveland on July 7.
The burly left-hander allowed five runs and six hits – all for extra bases – in 3 1/2 innings. He walked four, his second-highest total of the season.
“When you’ve got a guy like CC on the ropes you’ve got to take advantage,” Victorino said.
Now, Sabathia might have to wait six months for his next start. And, that might be in a different uniform. The 28-year-old will be one of the most sought-after free agents at the end of the season.
The Phillies are closing in on their first trip to the NLCS in 15 years. Game 3 is at 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Milwaukee, with 45-year-old Jamie Moyer (16-7) pitching for the Phillies against Dave Bush (9-10).
Sabathia was 11-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 17 starts for Milwaukee, almost single-handedly leading the wild-card Brewers to their first postseason berth since 1982.
But he struggled in the playoffs – again. He’s lost his last three postseason starts, including two against Boston in last year’s ALCS. Overall, Sabathia is 2-3 with a 7.92 ERA in the playoffs.
“I just didn’t finish at-bats, finish innings,” Sabathia said.
Myers kept the third inning going in the third by working a walk. Digging in, choking up and crouching, Myers drew cheers for fouling off a 1-2 pitch after wildly missing the first two pitches.
Myers, who batted .059 (4 for 58) this season with four walks, made Sabathia throw 10 pitches his second time up. During the at-bat, a fan reached over the railing down the right-field line and caught a foul ball with his cap. The guy got a standing ovation. So did Myers after he flied out.