The Phillies regain first place from the Marlins, as their very potent offense crushes the fish in the first game of a three games weekend series between the two rivals, 12-3. The Marlins would score first though, when, in the first inning, Phils’ starter Brett Myers would give up a RBI single to Jorge Cantu, scoring Hanley Ramirez, who has earlier singled, to give the Marlins a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and one out, Luis Gonzalez would hit a RBI single, knocking in Jeremy Hermida, who has earlier walked, and Cantu, giving the Marlins a 3-0 lead. But that would be it for the Marlins, as Myers would finally get out of the innings, and he would then pitch a 1-2-3 second. In the Phillies half of the inning, the Phillies would pound Marlins’ starter Mark Hendrickson. Ryan Howard would start the inning off with a walk. Pat Burrell would then ground out, pitcher to first, moving Howard to second base. After Pedro Feliz singles Howard over to third, Chris Coste would tie the game by hitting his fifth home run of the year, making it a 3-3 ballgame. Three batters later, with two men on base and two outs, Shane Victorino would hit a two-run double, scoring So Taguchi, who has earlier singled, and Brett Myers, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 5-3 lead. Chase Utley would then follow with his major league leading eighteenth home run of the year, a two-run shot, making it 7-3 Phillies. The Phillies would add four more runs in the fourth. Jimmy Rollins would single in Taguchi, who has earlier walked, to make it 8-3 Phillies. Two batters later, with runners on first and third, and two outs, Howard would hit a three-run home run, his fifteenth home run of the season, off of Burke Badenhop, who was pitching in relief of the knocked around Hendrickson, scoring Victorino, who was safe on a force out, and Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, giving the Phillies a 11-3 lead. Meanwhile, something seems to have clicked with Myers, as he seems to have returned to his earlier form, as he would give up only three more hits to the Marlins after the first inning, while stirking out eleven. The Phillies would score just one more run, in the seventh inning, as Howard, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk, would score with the base loaded, as Taguchi is walked by Taylor Tankersley, making it 12-3 Phils. Clay Condrey would then take over in the ninth for Myers, putting down the shocked Marlins for a 1-2-3 inning.
Brett Myers is the winning pitcher, winning his first ballgame since April 17, when he defeated the Astros. He did it by going eight innings, giving up only three earned runs, all in the first inning, on six hits, while striking one eleven Marlins. His record is now 3-6 with an ERA of 5.52. Clay Condrey would pitch one shut out inning in relief, giving up no runs on no hits, while striking out two. Mark Hendrickson would suffer the lost as he gets pounded by the Phillies’ bats in three and a third innings of work, giving up ten earned runs on seven hits, while walking three. His record is now 7-3 as his ERA rises to 5.26. Burke Badenhop would pitch an inning and a third in relief, giving up an earned run on one hit. Taylor Tankersley would also pitch an inning and a third, also giving up an earned run on no hits. Justin Miller would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Joe Nelson would go an inning in relief, giving up no runs on no hits.
With the win, the Phillies regain first place, as they ride on their first five games winning streak of the season. The Phillies are also a season best eight games over .500. During their winning streak, the Phils have scored sixty runs, averaging twelve runs per game. During that span, they have also gotten sixty-one hits, of which 26 has been extra-base hits (15 (2B), 1 (3B) , 10 (HR)). In their last nine games, starting with the last game of their three games series with the Nationals, the Phillies have scored eighty-five runs, averaging about 9.45 runs a game, while getting 108 total hits, of which forty-five were extra-base hits (26 (2B), 1 (3B) and 18 (HR)). It is indeed hitting season. At the same time, Phillies’ starting pitching, during the five game winning streak, has given up only sixteen runs, which average out to 3.2 runs a game, while the relief staff has allowed only three runs, which average out to 0.60 runs a game. In their last nine games, the starters have given up twenty-eight total runs, for an average of 3.11 runs per game, while the relief core have given up only six runs, which average out to 0.67 runs per ballgame. As the offense is racking up the runs and hits, the pitching staff is giving up to their opponents very few runs in return. During those nine games, the defense has been almost flawless, committing only three errors, all occurring during the Rockies’ series, against seven for their opponents. It would appear that all aspects of the Phillies game are starting to come together at the same time, which might be a cause of alarm for the rest of the National League East.
The three games series between the now first place Phillies (32-24) and the second place Marlins (20-23) will continue tonight from Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be their ace, Cole Hamels (5-3, 3.18), who is coming off a no-decision, as he pitched poorly in his last start against the Astros on May 25, where he would only pitch four innings, giving up six earned runs on seven hits, in the Phils’ 15-6 crushing of Houston. Hamels has won three of his last six starts, with the other three being no-decisions, all won by the Phils, as he has gone a total of forty and a thirds innings, giving up only sixteen earned runs, which includes a period when he would give up no runs for nineteen and two-thirds innings, on thirty-three hits. His career numbers against the Marlins is 2-2 with a 4.13 ERA in four starts. He will be trying to get his first win in three starts, while trying to increase the Phillies’ lead in the National League East. The Marlins will be opposing him with Ricky Nolasco (4-3, 4.70), who is coming off a win, his second in a row, and third in his last four starts, against the Mets on May 26. He would go five innings in that game, giving up only three earned runs on nine hits, in the Marlins’ 7-3 win. He will be trying to stop the Phillies’ hitting juggernaut and put the Marlins back into first place.
The now first place Phillies lead the Marlins by half a game after their victory over the fish. They are leading the Braves by two and a half games, as the Braves lost their game with the Reds in extra-innings. The Phils are leading the Mets by four and a half games as the Mets lost their game to the Dodgers. The Phils will be trying to increase their respective leads over the other teams in their division, as they try to win their sixth game in a row and their ninth in their last eleven games.