Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 9: Phillies lose to the Marlins, 14-8. Drops to Second in the East, Lead in the Wild Card by 2 games.

The Phillies seven games winning streak is snapped as they dropped a wild one to the presently hot Marlins, 14-8. With the Mets’ win over the Braves, the Phils are now a half game out of first in the National League East. Their lead in the Wild Card is now two games as the Brewers lose to the Reds.

The Phillies took a quick one run lead in the first as, with two men on, and one out, Ryan Howard would hit a sharp ground ball towards first that Marlins’ first baseman Mike Jacobs would be unable to play, becoming a fielding error, which would allow Chase Utley, who has gotten on base earlier with a walk and then went to second on Jayson Werth’s single, to score all the way from second, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead, and for Werth to go on to third. Werth would then make it a 2-0 Phillies’ lead as he would score on Marlins’ starter Josh Johnson’s wild pitch. The Marlins would then strike back on Phillies’ starter Brett Myers in their half of the first. Cameron Maybin, starting in place of the injured Hanley Ramirez, would start the inning off with an infield single. After Maybin steals second, John Baker would knock him with a RBI single, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Jorge Cantu would follow with a single, sending Baker to second. Jacobs would then follow with a two-run double, scoring both Baker and Cantu, giving the Marlins a 3-2 lead. Dan Uggla would then hit a two-run home run, his thirty-first home run of the year, scoring Jacobs, making it 5-2 Marlins. Myers would then get out of the inning by striking out Luis Gonzalez, getting Cody Ross to fly out to left and then getting Alfredo Amezaga to ground out, 4-3. The Phillies would cut the Marlins’ lead in the second as Greg Dobbs would start off the inning by hitting a solo home run, his ninth home run of the year, to make it 5-3 Marlins. Later, with two men on, and one out, Utley would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Chris Coste, who has earlier singled, went to second on Myers’ sacrifice bunt and then would go the third on Jimmy Rollins’ single, cutting the Marlins’ lead to 5-4. Then in the fifth, the Phillies would retake the lead as Howard would hit a two-run slam to right, his major league leading forty-sixth home run of the year, scoring Utley, who has earlier singled, making it 6-5 Phillies. Myers would try to put down the Marlins in the bottom of the fifth. Sadly, he would be unable to. After getting ahead of Maybin, 0-2, Howard would be unable to make the put out on a foul ball. The next pitch, a fastball, which the announcers thought was the wrong pitch to throw at the kid since he has a hard time with off-speed stuff, like the ball that he’d just pop up, would be hit into right for a single. Maybin would then steal second for his second steal of the night. Baker would then follow with a walk, putting runners on first and second. Cantu would follow him with a RBI double, scoring Maybin to tie the game at 6-6 and sending Baker to third. Myers would then intentionally walk Jacobs to load the bases. The next batter, Uggla, would then single to left, scoring Baker, to give the Marlins a 7-6 lead, while moving both Cantu and Jacobs up a base, as the bases remain loaded. That would be it for Myers as Charlie Manuel would come out of the dugout and replace him with Rudy Seanez. Seanez would get Gonzalez to hit into a force out, cutting down Uggla at second, while allowing Cantu to score, making it 8-6 Marlins, while Jacobs would move up to third. Ross would then pop up to Howard for the inning’s second out. It would seem that the Phillies would get out of the inning with manageable damage, but it was not to be as Amezaga would hit a surprising three-run home run to right, his third home run of the year, scoring both Jacobs and Gonzalez to give the Marlins an 11-6 lead. The inning would finally end when pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez, batting for Johnson, would ground out, 6-3. The Marlins would add to their lead in the sixth as, with runners on second and third, and one man out, Jacobs would hit a two-run single to right, scoring Maybin, who has earlier singled, his fourth hit of the night, moved to second on Baker’s walk and then moved to third on Les Walrond’s wild pitch, and Baker, who has walked and has moved up to second on the wild pitch, making it 13-6 Marlins. But Jacobs would then be thrown out by Werth when he tried to make it a double, being tagged by Rollins for the inning’s second out. The Phillies would get a run back in the seventh as, with two men on and one out, Howard would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Rollins who has earlier singled, would move to second on Utley’s single and was the lead runner on a double steal with Utley as Werth strke out for the inning’s first out, making it 13-7 Marlins. The Phillies would cut it down further in the eighth as Shane Victronio would hit a lead-off home run, his thirteenth home run of the year, cutting the Marlins’ lead down to 13-8. But the Marlins would get that run back as, with two men out, Cantu would hit a solo home run, his twenty-ninth home run of the year, making it 14-8 Marlins. That would end up being the final score as Joe Nelson would put the Phillies down in the ninth.

Brett Myers would take the lost, being able to go only four innings, plus five batters, as he would give up ten earned runs on nine hits and two walks while strking out only three. His record has now dropped to 10-12, while his ERA went up to 4.46. Rudy Seanez would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Les Walrond would go two innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, walking a batter while striking out one. Kyle Kendrick, pitching in his first game since his blow up against these same Marlins last week, would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Josh Johnson would get the win, as he pitched five innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on seven hits, as he struck out six. His record is now 6-1 with an ERA of 3.65. Mark Hendrickson would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Andrew Miller would pitch an inning, plus one batter, giving up two earned runs on one hit, walking two while striking out one. Logan Kensing would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up just one hit. Arthur Rhodes would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Joe Nelson would pitch a scorless ninth inning, giving up no hits, while walking a batter and striking out the side.

Brett Myers ran into the buzzsaw of the Marlins’ bat, getting hit hard in both the first and fifth inning, as he would give up hits to the first five Marlins’ batters in the first, ending with Dan Uggla’s two-run home run, and then being unable to get anyone out in the fifth, giving up two singles, a double and two walks, one of which was intentional, before being taken out. Myers didn’t seem to have it last night, although he might not have gotten bombed in the fifth if he has thrown off-speed pitches to Cameron Maybin, instead of the fastball that the rookie would hit off of him to right for a single, as the rookie seems to like hitting fastballs and not off-speed stuff. Whether it was Myers’ idea, or catcher Chris Coste’s, to throw it in that 0-2 situation, I have no idea, but it would end up leading into a lot of trouble right after the Phillies have just regained the lead. Sigh. Anyway, the team needs to forget about this game and just get back to doing what they have been doing during their seven games winning streak: scoring early, scoring often and keeping the opposition from doing the same to them. This means that both Joe Blanton and Jamie Moyer will have to do their best to make sure that the young Marlins’ bats don’t become their usual pesky selves, if for no other reason than to make Dan Uggla eat his words about the Marlins planning to take other teams with them if they don’t make the playoff. This team need to be kept from becoming the Colorado Rockies of ’08.

The now second place Phillies (86-68) will continue their three games series with the third place Marlins (81-72) with a night game tonight. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (7-12 (2-0), 4.82), who is coming off a no-decision against the Brewers on September 14 in the day half of the day/night doubleheader, as he would go seven innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 win. This was only his third start in which he would go more than five innings, but it would come at a good time for the Phils. He has faced the Marlins once before, recording his second win as a Phil since the trade, as he would defeat them on September 8, going five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 8-6 win. He will be going for his second straight long start while trying to improve on his previous start against the fish, while trying to snap their nine games winning streak. His opponent will be Anibal Sanchez (2-4, 5.87), who is coming off a no-decision against the Nationals on September 14, as he went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Marlins’ 8-7 win. He has faced the Phillies twice before, losing both starts, as he would go a combine total of only six and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on ten hits. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to finally defeat the Phils.

The second place Phils now trail the Mets by a half game, as they defeated the Braves to regain the lead in the East. The Phillies are ahead of the Marlins by four and a half games thanks to the lost. In the Wild Card chase, the Phillies are still leading the Brewers by two games as they lost to the Reds last night. They are ahead of both the Marlins and the Astros by four and a half games as the Astros defeated the Pirates. The Phillies will be trying to regain the lead in the East while trying to push back the challenge of the now hot Marlins while trying to bury the still slumping Brewers.


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