PHILADELPHIA — Charlie Manuel couldn’t stop chuckling.
The Philadelphia Phillies, depleted by injuries to star players throughout the year, now are alone atop the National League wild-card standings.
What’s their manager think about that?
“We don’t care about the wild card,” Manuel said.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Roy Oswalt pitched seven sharp innings, Placido Polanco had four hits and Philadelphia beat the San Francisco Giants 9-3 on Tuesday night.
The Phillies took a one-game lead over San Francisco in the wild-card race. The two-time NL champions remained 21⁄2 games behind Atlanta in the East.
“We’re trying to win our division,” Oswalt said, shrugging off the wild card.
Pat Burrell homered in his first regular-season game at Citizens Bank Park since leading the victory parade down Broad Street after the Phillies won the 2008 World Series. Jose Guillen also connected for the Giants.
All-Star second baseman Chase Utley went 0 for 5 in his return to Philadelphia’s lineup after having thumb surgery July 1.
“I felt pretty good,” Utley said. “Obviously, there’s room for improvement.”
Oswalt (8-13) allowed three runs and six hits, striking out seven. The three-time All-Star is 2-1 in four starts since the Phillies acquired him from Houston.
He came here to pitch in big games and delivered with another strong outing. Oswalt was 0-3 with a 3.15 ERA in three starts against the Giants with the Astros.
“This is what I miss,” he said about pitching in a playoff race. “In ’05, we got to do that in Houston. Hopefully something magical will happen this season and we get back to the World Series.”
Barry Zito (8-7) struggled after a strong start and ended up allowing four runs and eight hits in five-plus innings.
“He was doing well,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He made a mistake on (Jimmy) Rollins’ hit then got a ball up the next inning.”
Burrell, who had a love-hate relationship with fans during nine seasons in Philadelphia, got a standing ovation when he came to the plate in the first inning.
Burrell tipped his helmet to fans before stepping into the batter’s box. But those cheers turned into boos while he circled the bases.
“I’ve received the full spectrum here,” he said before the game.
Utley also received a standing ovation when he came up in the first. He was expected to miss at least eight weeks after tearing a ligament in his right thumb.
Zito baffled the Phillies over four innings with an assortment of offspeed pitches, including a slow curve clocked at 70 mph. But the lefty couldn’t get out of the sixth.
Polanco led off the inning with a single, and Jayson Werth lined a double to left. Shane Victorino followed with a two-run double to left-center, putting the Phillies up 4-2.
Carlos Ruiz hit a two-run double off Chris Ray during a five-run eighth that put the game out of reach.