After trailing the Braves for the third straight game, the Phillies’ eight-run rally in the seventh inning lead to their first win of the 2009 season, as they defeat the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, ending the three-game series on a high note.
The Phillies began the afternoon by receiving their world series ring. After the ring ceremony, Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils, and right from the start was in for a long day as he gave up a two-out two-run home run to Brian McCann, his second home run of the young season, knocking in Yunel Escobar, who had earlier reached second base with a double, giving the Braves an early 2-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up in their half of the second as Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his first homer as a Phil, and the team’s first home run of the season, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled. The Braves retook the lead in the top of the third as they torched Blanton for five runs. After loading the bases via a single to Omar Infante, a walk to Kelly Johnson and another single to Escobar, with nobody out, McCann made the score 3-2 Braves by knocking in Infante with an RBI single, while moving Johnson and Escobar up to third and second respectively, leaving the bases loaded. After Casey Kotchman strikes out for the inning’ first out, Jeff Francoeur made it 5-2 Atlanta with a two-run single to center, knocking in both Johnson and Escobar, while McCann would move safely to third on Shane Victorino’s throw to home plate. Matt Diaz followed with a two-run double, scoring both Francoeur and McCann, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third, as Victorino, who had started the inning off with a triple, scored on an Infante throwing error of a Chase Utley ground ball to third base, making it 7-3 Atlanta. The Braves increased their lead to 9-3 in the fifth as rookie Jordan Schafer hit his second home run of his young career, a two-run shot to right, scoring Diaz, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk. Both runs came off of J.A. Happ, pitching in relief of Blanton, thus ending with one swing of the bat both the bullpen’s hitless and scoreless streak. The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, making it 10-3 Braves, as Chad Durbin gives up a bases loaded walk to Infante, forcing in Kotchman, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Greg Norton’s walk, while moving Schafer to third, who had also walked, and moving Norton over to second base. Clay Condrey then came into the game in place of Durbin and got out of the inning by striking out Johnson. Now trailing 10-3, the offense decided to come to life. Victorino started off the Phils’ half of the seventh by grounding out, 5-3, for the inning’s first out. Utley followed with a single to center. Howard was then hit by the pitch, putting runners on first and second, as Utley moved up to second. The next batter, Jayson Werth, is then walked by Peter Moylan, who was pitching in relief of Eric O’Flaherty, loading the bases with still only one man out. Ibanez followed Werth with a single, knocking in Utley, as he collected his third RBI of the afternoon, making the score 10-4 Atlanta, while sending Howard over to third base, and Werth to second, leaving the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz then singled in Howard, making it 10-5 Braves, while Werth and Ibanez both moved up a base, leaving the bases loaded with Phils. Matt Stairs, pinch hitting for Carlos Ruiz, is given a four pitch walk, forcing in Werth with the third Phils’ run in the inning, reducing the Braves lead to 10-6, as the bases remained loaded. The next batter, pinch hitter Chris Coste, batting for Condrey, also walks, bringing home Ibanez, as the Phils now trailed 10-7, while the bases remained loaded for Jimmy Rollins, who became the ninth batter of the inning. Rollins received a four-pitch free pass, the third straight walk to a Phil batter, and the fourth walk of the inning, forcing in Feliz, as the bases stay loaded, making the score 10-8 Braves. The next batter, Victorino, followed with a single, scoring Stairs, making the score now 10-9 Atlanta, moving Coste and Rollins over to third and second base, respectively, as the bases remained loaded. The eleventh batter of the inning, Utley, walks, the fifth Phil to walk in the inning, tying the ballgame up at 10 all, as Coste crosses the plate, while Rollins and Victorino both moved up a base. Howard comes up to the plate, and with the count 1-1, hit the ball on a bounce towards Braves’ first baseman, Kotchman. Kotchman, having only one play, threw the ball over to relief pitcher Jorge Campillo, the fourth Braves reliever to pitch in the inning, who tagged the bag in front of Howard for the second out of the inning, as Rollins scored the go ahead run, giving the Phils their first lead of 2009, 11-10. Victorino and Utley both moved up a base on the play. Werth ended the inning by flying out to right. The Phils sent thirteen men to the plate, as they scored eight runs in the inning on four hits, five walks and a hit batter. Ryan Madson took over in the top of the eighth, pitching a strong 1-2-3 inning, throwing only seven pitches. The Phils added an insurance run in their half of the eighth, as Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked and had gone to third on Feliz’s double, with nobody out, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge took the mound. Although he gave up a one-out solo home run to Diaz, his first home run of the season, Lidge recorded his first save of the 2009 season, as he struck out pinch hitter Garret Anderson for the final out, for the moment staying perfect in save opportunities as a Phil.
Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he got pummeled by the Braves, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six in four innings of work. J.A. Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, while he struck out two Braves. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and three walks. Clay Condrey received the win as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the one man he would face. His record for 2009 is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as he held the lead. Brad Lidge recorded his first save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out one. Javier Vazquez also received a no-decision, as he pitched six innings for the Braves, giving up just three runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out five batters. Eric O’Flaherty followed him, pitching only a third of an inning, as he gave up two runs on one hit. Peter Moylan pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. Blaine Boyer took the lost as he faced only two batters, with both of them scoring, as he gave up two runs on no hits and two walks. Jorge Campillo blew the save, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, in two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Bennett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit while striking out a batter.
The Phillies had eleven hits in the game, with Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Feliz each getting two hits. Howard, Ruiz and Coste had the other three hits. Ibanez knocked in three runs, Utley brought home two, while Feliz, Stairs, Coste, Rollins, Victorino, Howard and Bruntlett each knocked in a run, with Bruntlett’s coming in on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies collected five extra-base hits in the game, three doubles (Howard, Utley and Feliz), a triple (Victorino) and a home run (Ibanez). After three games, Utley leads the team in hitting with a .364 batting average, followed by Ruiz with a pleasently surprising .333 average.
The Phils (1-2) are off today. Their next game will be on the road against the Colorado Rockies (2-1) in Denver, Colorado, at Coors Field. The game will start at 2:10 pm Mountain Time tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace, Cole Hamels, who ended 2008 with a record of 14-10 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.09 in the regular season. His record for this season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Rockies will oppose him with Jason Marquis, who last season had a record of 11-9 for the Chicago Cubs, with an ERA of 4.53 in 29 games (28 of which were starts). His record for this season is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to even their season record tomorrow.