Myers, Abreu lift Phils past Nats for third straight win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Brett Myers is pitching and acting like an ace.

Myers tossed eight strong innings and Bobby Abreu hit a
three-run homer to lead the Philadelphia Phillies over the
Washington Nationals 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Myers (4-2) allowed two runs and three hits, helping the Phillies win their third straight after losing nine of 11. Myers struck out six and walked two to lower his ERA to 2.80. He hasn't
allowed more than three earned runs in any of his 11 starts.

"He's mixing his pitches real well and keeping his composure on the mound," manager Charlie Manuel said. "He's matured. He has more self-confidence. He doesn't talk like he used to. He's come a long ways."

Myers hasn't received much run support this season, but he hasn't criticized his teammates or shown any frustration. The Phillies have averaged 3.2 runs when Myers pitches, but Abreu's drive in the fourth inning was all he needed.

"I don't care for personal stats as long as the team wins," Myers said.

Tom Gordon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 15th save in 16 chances.

Marlon Byrd hit a two-run homer for Washington, which has lost three of four since winning four in a row.

"When he's on, he's tough to hit," Byrd said of his former teammate, Myers. "He's just a bulldog out there."

Tony Armas Jr. (5-3) allowed four runs and five hits in 6 1/3 innings. He retired the side in five of the first six innings but unraveled in the seventh.

Armas set down the first nine batters he faced before Jimmy Rollins singled leading off the fourth. Chase Utley followed with a single and Abreu hit a 3-1 pitch into the second deck in right field.

Abreu's seventh homer was estimated at 434 feet. It was the first homer off Armas since May 3 and just the fourth he has allowed this season.

"It was a bad pitch," Armas said. "It was right down the middle."

Armas left after walking Myers to force in a run in the seventh. Aaron Rowand singled with one out, David Bell walked and Mike Lieberthal was hit by a pitch to load the bases for Myers. Mike Stanton entered and got Rollins to hit into an inning-ending double play.

A once-promising player with the Phillies, Byrd ended Myers' shutout bid with one out in the eighth inning. After Brian Schneider walked, Byrd hit a drive into the left-center field seats to cut Philadelphia's lead to 4-2.

Abreu made an outstanding throw to prevent a run in the second inning. His perfect, one-hop strike to the plate nailed Nick Johnson, who was trying to score on Marlon Anderson's single to right field. Lieberthal, catching his first game since coming off the disabled list, made a good block, forcing Johnson to slide past the plate.

"I like my catchers to play solid defense," Manuel said. "He did a nice job."

Game notes
The Nationals were without relievers Joey Eischen and
Santiago Ramirez. Both pitchers went back to Washington for medical evaluations. ... Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard had his streak of games with at least one RBI end at nine. ... Abreu had no walks, ending his streak at 12 games. ... Myers fanned Alfonso Soriano three times.