PHILADELPHIA — Jon Lieber is far more productive as a starter than reliever.
Lieber limited the Nationals to two runs in six innings, Chase Utley was 5-for-5 with three RBIs, and the Philadelphia Phillies beat Washington 9-3 Wednesday night for their fifth straight win.
Jimmy Rollins hit his NL-leading eighth homer and Ryan Howard added a two-run shot, helping the Phillies (9-11) move closer to .500 after a terrible start.
Lieber (1-0) gave up five hits, striking out five in his second start since moving into the rotation after ace Brett Myers was sent to the bullpen to bolster a struggling relief corps.
Lieber tossed 5 2-3 scoreless innings at Cincinnati last Friday. The veteran right-hander allowed three runs in 2 1-3 innings in the bullpen, but has a 1.54 ERA in his two starts.
Myers pitched a scoreless eighth to preserve a four-run lead before Rollins connected to make it 9-3 in the bottom half of the inning.
NEW YORK — Willy Taveras got five of Colorado’s season-high 20 hits and the Rockies snapped out of an offensive drought with a rout of New York.
Todd Helton had four hits and three RBIs and John Mabry added a three-run homer. The Rockies salvaged the victory after managing just one run in each of the first two games of the series against the Mets.
Jose Reyes had two doubles and two singles for New York. He would’ve had a fifth hit, too, but Taveras sprinted into the left-center field gap and caught Reyes’ first-inning drive near the wall.
CHICAGO — Derrek Lee and Cliff Floyd each got four hits and the Cubs broke loose after Brewers ace Ben Sheets was hurt.
Sheets pitched three scoreless innings before leaving with a strained right groin. In the bottom of the third, he reached down to tag out Ryan Theriot at third base.
MIAMI — Miguel Olivo scored on a passed ball to cap a four-run rally in the ninth inning against Tim Hudson and Bob Wickman, and Florida beat Atlanta.
Hudson had a career-high 12 strikeouts and took a six-hit shutout into the ninth, but Miguel Cabrera, Cody Ross and Aaron Boone singled to load the bases starting the inning. Wickman (1-1) came on, and Olivo hit his first pitch for a two-run double.
ST. LOUIS — Albert Pujols hit a two-run, tie-breaking double to spark a four-run eighth inning and help St. Louis beat Cincinnati for only its second victory in nine home games.
Cardinals starter Braden Looper and three relievers combined on a five-hitter as the Reds wasted another strong start by Bronson Arroyo, who gave up one run on five hits in seven innings. Arroyo has worked seven or more innings in four of his last five starts, but the Reds are 0-5 with him on the mound while scoring 10 runs.