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Philadelphia lefty Moyer defies time

Sun., May 9, 2010

PHILADELPHIA – Dillon Moyer securely placed the ball inside the front pocket of his hooded sweatshirt. Dad didn’t look overly excited on the field after becoming the oldest pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout, but he made sure to take the ball from catcher Carlos Ruiz, and gave it to his eldest son.

This was history Friday. Jamie Moyer, 47 years and 170 days old, two-hit the Atlanta Braves with ease. The Phillies won 7-0.

“I had fun,” the Phils’ left-hander said. “I probably had forgotten what that’s like. It hasn’t happened a whole lot in my career.”

When informed he had made history, Moyer was nonchalant about it. “Cool,” he said. “Just doing my job.”

These are the kinds of nights when it’s reasonable to wonder how long Moyer can actually keep pitching. He has defied almost every age boundary of modern baseball – the oldest to do that, the oldest to do this.

“I never really thought about it that way,” Moyer said. “This kind of stuff pushes me. I enjoy this. This is what it’s about.”

The previous oldest pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout was Phil Niekro, who was 46 years, 188 days old with the Yankees when he shut out the Blue Jays in 1985.

Moyer passed him by nearly a full year.

It was Moyer’s first nine-inning complete game since June 30, 2006, when he was a member of the Seattle Mariners. He pitched a seven-inning complete game for the Phillies in an outing shortened by rain on July 27, 2007.

He is the first pitcher in baseball history to throw shutouts in four different decades. The first one was 24 years ago on Aug. 16, 1986. (“Hmm. That’s a few years ago,” Moyer said.)

On Friday, Moyer faced one batter more than the minimum. He allowed just two singles – both to Troy Glaus.

“That’s impressive regardless of how old you are,” Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay said. For the record, Halladay said he will be fishing when he is 47 years old.

Moyer began the ninth with 96 pitches thrown. Nate McLouth popped out to third. Pinch-hitter Eric Hinske grounded out to first.

The sellout crowd rose and began chanting, “Jamie! Jamie! Jamie!”

Omar Infante grounded out to shortstop to end the game on Moyer’s 105th pitch of the night. Ruiz raised his fist in the air, but Moyer barely flinched. He hugged Ruiz and patted the catcher on the head.

After Moyer threw 14 pitches in the first two innings – including a three-pitch second inning, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel thought he was in for a good night.

“I said, ‘Hey man, he has a chance to get through seven innings tonight,’ ” Manuel said. “He fooled me. He went nine.”


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