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Loewer Lifts Phillies In MLB Debut


Carlton Loewer was even better than expected.

Loewer became the first pitcher to throw a complete game in his major-league debut since 1993, holding the Cubs to five hits Sunday and leading the Philadelphia Phillies over Chicago 4-2.

"My changeup has become my most important pitch and I got a lot of outs on it today," Loewer said. "I have a lot of confidence in my stuff, I just needed to keep the ball down and stay ahead of the hitters."

The 24-year-old right-hander walked none and struck out eight, retiring 14 straight batters at one stretch.

"It's a pretty nice day for this organization," Phillies manager Terry Francona said. "He pitched as advertised. It's only one start, but this performance certainly a bright spot for this team."

Loewer became the first pitcher to throw a complete game in his major-league debut since Boston's Nate Minchey beat Cleveland 11-1 on Sept. 12, 1993. The last NL pitcher to do it was Tim Wakefield, who led Pittsburgh over St. Louis 3-2 on July 31, 1992.

With his parents in town from Louisiana to watch, Loewer kept the Chicago lineup in check with a consistent fastball and an impressive changeup. He became the first Phillies pitcher to throw a complete game in his big league debut since Larry Christenson beat the New York Mets 7-1 on April 13, 1973.

At Class AAA Scranton, Loewer was 7-3 with a 2.87 ERA in 12 starts. He was recalled June 9 after going 6-1 with a 1.91 ERA and five complete games in his previous nine starts.

This year's performance was in total contrast to a 5-13 season he endured last season at Scranton.

"You learn a lot from losing, and I learned a lot from last season," Loewer said. "I feel I have a lot more concentration out on the mound this season."

Loewer gave up an RBI single to Henry Rodriguez in the second inning, then did not give up another hit until Mickey Morandini singled to start the seventh. He struck out six during that span.

"He wasn't afraid to throw changeups to right-handed hitters and that's something you don't see very often especially from rookies," said Jeff Blauser, who went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.

In the seventh, after the single by Morandini, Loewer retired Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace and Rodriguez with no further trouble. Jose Hernandez hit an RBI triple in the Cubs eighth.

In the ninth, Loewer surrendered a leadoff single to Brant Brown. He struck out Morandini and got Sosa to ground into a game-ending double play.

It was the Phillies' seventh complete game of the season, but first other than Curt chilling's major league-leading six.

"Carlton had good movement on all of his pitches, even in the ninth," Phillies catcher Mike Lieberthal said.

Mark Clark (4-7) allowed nine hits, including five doubles, in five-plus innings.

The Phillies broke a 1-1 tie in the fifth when Doug Glanville and Gregg Jefferies put together a pair of two-out, opposite-field doubles. Glanville, hitting in his 14th straight game, scored two runs and raised his season total to 56 in 65 games.

Philadelphia chased Clark in the sixth with four straight hits. Rico Brogna and Lieberthal each doubled to start the inning. Bobby Abreu singled Mark Lewis followed with a RBI single.

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the first as Glanville singled, stole second and scored on Brogna's single. Brogna, who missed Saturday's game because of an inflamed right shoulder, has 34 RBIs in his last 30 games.

Chicago tied the game at 1 in the second inning when Rodriguez singled home Grace, who opened the inning with a triple.

Notes

  • Chicago will play 15 of its next 20 games at Wrigley Field beginning with Monday's game against Milwaukee. Rookie Kerry Wood is scheduled to pitch Monday.
  • Glanville leads the NL with 32 multi-hit games and is hitting
    27-for-64 during his 14-game hitting streak.
  • Brogna and Abreu are a combined 16-for-30 (.533) including five homers and 17 RBIs against the Cubs in five games this season.
  • Desi Relaford's single in the eighth inning
    extended his hitting streak to a career-best nine games, tying him for longest by a rookie this season with Arizona's Travis Lee.

    © 1998 SportsLine USA, Inc. All rights reserved

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