The Phillies rally to score six runs in the top of the ninth inning off of a Billy Wagner-less Mets’ bullpen while new Phil Joe Blanton is unable to contain the Mets in his first start as a Phil as the Phillies defeat the Mets, 8-6. The Phillies would take a quick lead in the first as Jayson Werth would hit a two out RBI single off of Mets’ starter Johan Santana, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. That would remain the score until the bottom of the third when Phillies’ starter Blanton would give up a RBI double to David Wright, knocking in Jose Reyes, who has earlier walked, to tie the game at one all. But Endy Chavez, who has singled earlier, would try to score on the play, but is instead thrown out at home plate, Burrell to Jimmy Rollins to Carlos Ruiz, who would put the tag on Chavez for the first out of the inning. Two batters later, with Wright still on second base, and with two outs, Carlos Delgado would hit his nineteenth home run of the year, a two-run shot that would give the Mets a 3-1 lead. In between the third and fourth innings, Charlie Manuel would be ejected from the game for arguing balls and strikes with the third base umpire as the Phillies believed that Delgado had struck out on an 0-2 pitch while the umpire claimed that he had checked his swing. The Mets would increase their lead in the sixth, when, with a runner on first, Marlon Anderson, via a walk, and with two outs, Ramon Castro would hit his fifth home run of the year, giving the Mets a 5-1 lead. In the meantime, Santana would keep the Phillies off the scoreboard, until the seventh, when Shane Victorino would hit his sixth home run of the year, a solo shot, that would cut the Mets’ lead to 5-2. The Mets would try to break the game wide open in their half of the seventh as Rudy Seanez replaces Blanton on the mound. Seanez would give up a lead-off double to Chavez. Chavez would then attempt to score on a single to right by Wright. But, for the second time in the game, he would be thrown out at the plate, this time from Werth to Coste, who tagged him out for the first out of the inning. On the throw home, Wright would move to second. Seanez would then intentionally walk Carlos Beltran, putting runners on first and second. The Phillies would then replace Seanez with J.C. Romero. Romero would get Delgado to fly out to center for the second out. But he would then hit Damion Easley to load the bases. Romero would then get out of the inning as he would get pinch hitter Fernando Tatis to line out to Chase Utley. In the ninth inning, the Mets would replace Santana with Duaner Sanchez, thinking that the game was over. The Phillies would soon make them think otherwise. Werth would greet Sanchez with a single. Pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would follow with a single, sending Werth to second. Victorino would follow with a single, loading the bases. The Mets would then replace Sanchez with Joe Smith, as they hope that Ruiz would hit into a rally-killing double play. Ruiz would hit a ground ball to shortstop Reyes, but Reyes would somehow miss the second base bag as a hostling Victornio would reach second on the fielder’s choice ground ball. The bases thus remain loaded as Werth scores to make it a 5-3 game. The Phils would then send out Geoff Jenkins as a pinch hitter, but he would never reach the plate as the Mets would replace Smith with Pedro Feliciano, while the Phillies would counter with So Taguchi, who was so far 0-for-16 as a pinch hitter. Taguchi would this time connect as he would hit a two-run double, scoring both Dobbs and Victorino and sending Ruiz to third, as the game was now tied at five all. Rollins would then follow with a two-run double of his own, scoring both Ruiz and Taguchi, to give the Phillies a 7-5 Phillies. Utley would then ground out to first for the first out of the inning, moving Rollins over to third. Burrell is then intentionally walked, putting runners on the corners, and setting up the double play. Ryan Howard would hit a ground ball straight to Feliciano, who would then drop the ball, before picking it up and throwing out Howard, as Rollins scores to make it 8-5 Phillies, while Burrell would go to second. Aaron Heilman is then sent into the game to replace Feliciano. Heilman would walk Werth, the man who has started the inning off, putting runners on first and second, with two outs. Heliman would then get Dobbs to pop up to Reyes to end the inning. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would send out their closer Brad Lidge to end the game. He starts the inning off by walking Chavez. Chavez would then go to second on defensive indifference. Lidge would then strike out Wright for the inning’s first out. Chavez would then go to third on a Lidge’s wild pitch before finally scoring on a ground out to first by Beltran, for the second out, making the score 8-6 Phillies. That would be the final score as Lidge would get Delgado to ground out, third to first for the final out, as he records his twenty-second straight save, tying the team’s record for most consecutive saves in a row set a few years earlier by Billy Wagner.
Joe Blanton would get a no-decision, as he pitches six innings in his first start as a Phil, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on two hits. J.C. Romero would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Chad Durbin would get the victory as he goes an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 3-2 with an ERA of 1.78. Brad Lidge would record his twenty-second save, as he goes an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits. Johan Santana would also get a no-decision, going eight innings, giving up only two runs on eight scattered hits. The Mets bullpen would then take over and implode as the team’s closer, Billy Wagner, would be unavailable to pitch. Duaner Sanchez would face three batters, giving up three earned runs on three hits. Joe Smith would take the loss as he face only one batter, giving up an earned run on no hits. His record is now 1-2 with a 3.12 ERA. Pedro Feliciano would get his second blown save, as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Aaron Heilman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.
The Phillies have won the game by doing something that they haven’t been able to do too much of since May, come back from behind in the ninth inning to win a game while trailing by several runs. Of course, they did it after the Mets have taken out their starter, Johan Santana, who for the third time this season has pitched a quality start against the Phillies. The Phillies would be able to produce a rally in the ninth inning, because of the use of small ball, hustling on the part of Shane Victorino on Carlos Ruiz’s ground ball, luck (Jose Reyes missing second base on Ruiz’s grounder, and Pedro Feliciano’s bobbling of Howard’s ground ball to him with the chance for an inning ending double play), some situational hitting by Chase Utley to move Jimmy Rollins over to third, and, lastly, So Taguchi finally getting a pinch hit when the Phillies needed it the most. Whether this will be the turning point of the season, or just a temporary blip on the radar screen will be found out during the next two games of the series.
The Phillies (54-46) will continue their three games series with the Mets (53-47) tomorrow night at Shea Stadium. The game will begin at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies starter will be Brett Myers (3-9, 5.84), who is coming back from a minor league stint to recover both his fast ball and his confidence. His last start was back on June 27 in a no-decision against the Rangers, where he would only pitch two innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 8-7 lost. The Phillies will be hoping that his stint in the minor league has actually brought back both his fast ball and his confidence. The Mets will send to the mound John Maine (8-7, 4.22), who is coming off a lost to the Reds on July 18, as he goes four and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on five hits, in the Mets’ 5-2 lost. He will be going for his ninth win of the year while trying to help the Mets get over their previous night’s lost.
The Phillies, with their win, have regain sole control of first place, while they now lead both the Mets and the Marlins by one game and the Braves by seven, thanks to the Braves’ lost to the fish last night. The Phillies will now try to build momentum from their come from behind win as they attempt for either a series sweep or a series win before heading back home to meet the Braves at Citizens Bank Park for a three games weekend series.