The Phillies would spend less than a full day back in first place as the Mets rally past the Phillies’ bullpen to defeat the Phillies, 6-3. The Mets would get the game’s first run in the first, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Carlos Delgado would hit a RBI single, scoring Jose Reyes, who has earlier singled and has gone to second on a ground out, to give the Mets a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would take the lead in their half of the first, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Ryan Howard would hit a two-run home run, his thirty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled and then stole second, to make it 2-1 Phils. The Phillies would increase their lead in the second, as Jayson Werth would hit a lead off home run, his eighteenth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a 3-1 lead. That would remain the score until the sixth, when Delgado would hit a solo home run, his twenty-ninth home run of the year, to make it a 3-2 Phillies’ lead. After a Carlos Beltran single, Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick would be taken out of the game, and the game would be handed over to the Phillies’ bullpen. Scott Eyre would take care of the five men that he would face in two innings of work, which would include a double play ball that would erase Beltran. At the same time, the Phillies’ offense would squander opportunities to score some more runs in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. That would soon come back to haunt them, as Rudy Seanez would come in to pitch the top of the eighth. Seanez would quickly take care of the first two batters, but with Delgado coming up, Rich Dubee would come out to the mound to talk with Seanez about how to pitch to him. That might have turned out to be a big mistake, as the talk might have either disrupted Seanez’s rhythm, or made him think too much about Delgado, who had already hit two career home runs off of him, as with a 1-0 count, Delgado would hit his second solo home run of the game, his thirtieth home run of the year, tying the game at three all. After that, the wheels would come off for the Phils. Beltran would get on base with an infield single to third. Seanez would then be replaced with Brad Lidge, who would be brought out to try and keep the game at three all. Sadly, he would be unable to do so. Beltran would steal second, getting into scoring position. Lidge would then intentionally walk Ryan Church, putting two men on base. Daniel Murphy would then follow with a single, scoring Beltran, giving the Mets a 4-3 lead, and sending Church to third. Brian Schneider would then hit a two-run single over the head of the third basemen, scoring both Church and Murphy, making it 6-3 Mets. Lidge would finally get out of the inning by getting Damion Easley to hit into a force out, 4-6, but by then the damage has already been done. The Phillies would this night be unable to rally in the last two innings as the Mets’ bullpen would get out the last six Phillies’ batter, as Luis Ayala would this time be able to get the save, his second of the year.
Kyle Kendrick would get a no-decision, as he pitches five innings plus two batters, giving up two earned runs on eight hits. Scott Eyre would pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out three. Rudy Seanez would get the lost, while also blowing his first save of the year, as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. His record is now 5-4 with a 3.82 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs on on two hits and a walk. Andrew Carpenter would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit and a walk. Johan Santana would also get a no-decision, as he goes six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Brian Stokes would get the win as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up only one hit. Pedro Feliciano (2/3) and Joe Smith (1/3) would combine for a scoreless inning, with neither man giving up a hit. Luis Ayala would pitch a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he records his second save of the year.
The Phillies’ offense would once again do in the Phils as they would be uable to score a run in either the fifth, sixth or seventh innings, a situation that is sadly all too familiar this year. Because of it, they would be unable to sweep the Mets and thereby increase their lead to a game and a half. Instead, they will be heading off to Chicago, a half game behind the Mets. But the bigger problem last night was the reasoning behind sending out Rich Dubee to talk to Rudy Seanez, after Seanez has very easily taken care of the first two Mets batters in the eighth. If the Phillies were so concerned about the possibility of Carlos Delgado hitting a home run off of Seanez, they should’ve just gone ahead and replaced him with a warm-uped Brad Lidge. Otherwise, leave the man alone, since he was obviously in the zone, and probably not even worrying about Delgado doing any damage against him. Sadly, Dubee would talk to Seanez, slowing down his rhythm, let Lidge stay in the pen, and then watch Delgado tie the ballgame with a home run. Sigh, some times you just have to wonder about the thinking behind some of these moves by Charlie Manuel.
The Phillies (73-60) will now go to Chicago to face the major league leading Cubs (83-50, 1st National League Central) for the first of four games. The first game will be played tonight at Wrigley Field and will begin at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central).The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (11-8, 3.20), who is coming off his second straight gem before a nationally televised audience, as he defeated the Dodgers on August 23, going seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, while striking out five, in the Phillies’ 9-3 win. Lifetime against the Cubs, he is 3-1 with a 3.00 ERA in four starts. He will be going for his twelfth win of the year while trying to keep the Phils close to the Mets. The Cubs’ starter will be Ryan Dempster (15-5, 2.85), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on August 23, as he went seven and a third innings, giving up only an earned run on eight hits, in the Cubs’ 9-2 win. Dempster has won his last three starts. He will be going for his sixteenth win of the year, while trying to put the Phillies’ bats back to sleep.
The Phillies are now back in second place, trailing the Mets by half a game, who will have tomorrow off. They are five games ahead of the Marlins who had won their game with the Braves, planning to end their series with the Braves before heading back to Miami to face the Mets. The Phillies will be trying to retake first place, starting with trying to win tonight’s game so that they can end up being tied with the Mets for first place.