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After long drought, Victorino finds extra-base magic

By Bob Brookover / The Philadelphia Inquirer


DENVER » For the second consecutive game, Shane Victorino served as an offensive trigger with an extra-base hit in the opening inning.

Victorino had gone 98 plate appearances and 89 at-bats before hitting a one-out double in the first inning of Saturday night's 8-5 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

That was the St. Anthony alum's first extra-base hit since June 13 in Minnesota, a remarkably long stretch for a player with his speed. He added an RBI triple in the ninth inning of that game.

The centerfielder returned to work Sunday by setting the tone again with a one-out triple off lefthander Drew Pomeranz before scoring on a single by Carlos Ruiz to help make a winner out of Cole Hamels (11-4), who threw eight innings in a 5-1 Phillies victory in the series finale at Coors Field.

Victorino was not oblivious to the fact that he had gone so long without an extra-base hit before Saturday.

"Yeah, I kind of had an idea," he said. "People talked about it ... but I don't dwell on those stats. I want to focus on winning as a team and go out and bring energy every night and be the best player I can be every night."

Victorino's two triples over the weekend doubled his total to four this season. A year ago, he led the National League with 16 triples.

"I put him in the two-hole," manager Charlie Manuel said. "I wanted to see him a few games before I did anything, and the last couple of days he's definitely swung the bat better. He looks a lot better."

Since he will be a free agent after the season and there is no indication the Phillies are going to sign him to a contract extension, it's quite possible that Victorino is in his final days with the team. He insisted he's not thinking about it.

"I can't control what goes on off the field," he said. "I can only control what is happening on the field. I never look at that and I never will look at that. I stay focused and I'm a Phillie. I'm focused on winning as a Phillie."

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