Shortstop Jimmy Rollins had to come up big in his final plate appearance to extend his hitting streak on Opening Day.
Rollins came up big early in Wednesday night's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.
The longest consecutive-game hitting streak in 19 years reached 38 games when Rollins ripped a clean double down the left-field line off Mark Mulder to lead off the bottom of the first. He scored the game's first run.
That should have been a good sign for the Phillies, since they win about 75 percent of the games in which Rollins scores a run.
"I know that stat," Rollins said, "but we're playing against a good team, and one run isn't going to beat a good team."
"When he steps up and gets a hit down the line (in the first), that was great," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I guarantee you he feels the streak is important, but we need to win the game, too."
In his next at-bat in the third inning, Rollins laced another double off Mulder, this one short-hopping against the fence in left-center field.
Rollins had 17 multihit games while taking the streak to 36 games at the end of last season, including eight of his last 11 games and 12 of his final 17.
"I'm not there yet," Rollins said of the groove he had to end last season. "But I remember what I was doing at that point, so it's just a matter of finding it again."
THE GAME: Right-hander Tom Gordon opened his tenure as the Phils' closer the hard way Wednesday. He entered a tie game in the top of the ninth inning and gave up the go-ahead run when Yadier Molina dropped an RBI single into
left field to score Scott Rolen and give the Cardinals a 4-3 win.
Molina's hit came on a curveball that Gordon said was the best pitch he threw all night.
"It was low and away," Gordon said. "I have to tip my hat to him."
Right-hander Brett Myers had an erratic outing, walking five over five innings. Although none of the walks led to any of the three runs he allowed, it ran up his pitch count and forced manager Charlie Manuel to tap the bullpen early.
NEWS and NOTES:
|Jimmy Rollins took his consecutive-game hit streak to 38 games with
two doubles Wednesday. Next on the list is Hall of Famer Paul Molitor at 39 games. In fact, all seven of the players ahead of Rollins on the list are in the Hall of Fame: Ty Cobb (40), George Sisler (41), Bill Dahlen (42), Pete Rose (44), Willie Keeler (44) and Joe DiMaggio (56). "I know Molitor, Rose and DiMaggio," Rollins said, "but everyone else is a mystery."|
Brett Myers didn't think the cold weather Wednesday night bothered him physically, but he had difficulty throwing his off-speed pitches. "It was frustrating," said Myers, who walked five in five innings. "My curve and
changeup were giving me trouble. I don't know of it was the cold or the balls weren't rubbed down or what, but all I had was my fastball and cutter. It just wasn't working."
David Bell hit a two-run, game-tying homer off Cardinals LHP Mark Mulder in the seventh inning Wednesday. Bell got the start despite the fact that he had back trouble most of the spring and the temperature during the game dipped into the 30s.
C Sal Fasano will get about two starts per week this season. This week they likely will come Thursday afternoon with RHP Cory Lidle on the mound and Sunday when RHP Jon Lieber makes his second start of the season.
Ryan Franklin made his first relief appearance Wednesday, pitching two shutout innings. Franklin lost his starting role when RHP Gavin Floyd outpitched him in spring training.
THE NUMBERS GAME: .125 - Jimmy Rollins' batting average on opening days (3-for-24).