A crazy game ended in dramatic fashion as Jeff Francoeur hits into an unassisted triple play, the first time it have ever happened in a National League ballgame and for the second time in Major League history, as the Phils hung on to defeat the Mets, 9-7. The Phils’ lead in the NL East still remains at six-and-a-half games going into this afternoon’s game, as the Braves defeated the Marlins.
The Phils took an early lead in the first as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into left field, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and Shane Victorino, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Phils then increased their lead to 6-0 as, with two men on, and now with two men out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run bomb of his own, also into left field, his eighth home run of the year, knocking in Pedro Feliz, who had earlier walked, and had gone to second base on Eric Bruntlett’s single, and Bruntlett, who was playing second base as Chase Utley was given the day off, who had earlier singled. Then, after Mets’ starter Oliver Perez had thrown three straight balls to Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel had seen enough of ‘Bad’ Perez, and replaced him with Nelson Figueroa, who then struck out Martinez on three pitches to end the inning. The Mets then came back as their lead-off man, Angel Pagan hits an inside-the-park home run, his fourth home run of the year, on a ball that got stuck under the rail in left-center field, which the umpires did not call a ground-rule double because of the stadium’s rule on those kinds of hit balls, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-1. Three batters later, the Mets made it 6-2 Phils as, with a man on base, and with one out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI triple, knocking in Daniel Murphy, who was earlier safe on a force out, 6-4. The Phils then increased their lead in the third as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Raul Ibanez, a single to Feliz, sending Ibanez up to second base, and a single to Bruntlett, sending Ibanez over to third, and Feliz to second, with only one man out, as Martinez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ibanez, and making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead, while sending Feliz on to third, and Bruntlett over to second. Rollins would then make it 8-2 Phils as he hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz from third. The Mets got a run back in their half of the third as Pagan hits a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the season, as he cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-3. Three batters later, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, Cory Sullivan hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier singled, and then went to third on Murphy’s double, making it 8-4 Phils. That would remain the score until the seventh, as Martinez finally settled down in the middle innings. In the seventh, the Mets made it 8-5 as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Murphy hits an RBI single, knocking in Castillo, who had earlier walked, and then stole second. In the eighth, the Phils got that run back as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Matt Stairs, who had earlier reached base on a pinch walk, move up to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third on Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted, scored on a second wild pitch, making it 9-5 Phils. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the eighth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Anderson Hernandez hits an RBI double, knocking in Sullivan, who had earlier singled, and then stole second, making it a 9-6 Phils’ lead. Then, in the ninth, things got even wierder. In the top of the inning, with two men out, Bruntlett hits a fly ball to center field, that Francouer caught as he dived for it, possibly hurting his hand as he did so, but was originally declared a trapped ball, with Bruntlett ending up on third with a triple. But, after Francoeur informed the umpires that he had in fact caught the ball, which would later be backed up by instant replay of the catch, the umpires, after a conference, would reversed the call as the third base umpire, Tim Timmons, had a better view of the play. But, when one of the umpires went to explain their ruling to Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel, it would lead to Charlie being ejected for disputing the call. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Castillo reached base on a Bruntlett fielding error, which allowed Pagan, who had reached base earlier on a three-base error by Ryan Howard on a ball that Howard never touched, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 9-7. The next batter, Murphy, then reached base on an infield single, on a ball that Bruntlett was only able to stop behind second base, allowing Castillo to reach second. Then with Francouer batting, and with the count 2-2, J. Manuel sent both Castillo and Murphy running on the pitch. Francouer then hit a line drive up the middle, pass Phils’ closer Brad Lidge. Bruntlett, who had gone over to second to cover the bag on the back end of the double steal attempt, caught Francouer’s line drive for the first out of the inning, before his momentum caused him to tag second base, doubling up Castillo. Then he went after Murphy, soon tagging him for the third and final out, preserving the Phils’ win, and becoming the first National Leaguer to perform an unassisted triple play which ended a ballgame, and becoming the second major leaguer to do so since Johnny Nuen of the Tigers did it back on May 21, 1927 against the Indians.
Pedro Martinez won the game, going six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 2-0 with an ERA of 5.14. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Ryan Madson also gave up a run, on two hits. Brad Lidge recorded his twenty-fifth save of the season, as he gave up an unearned run on a hit. Oliver Perez took the lost, as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks. His record is now 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA. Nelson Figuera pitched two and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. Pat Misch pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just a hit, as he struck out four. Sean Green pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, two walks and two wild pitches, while he struck out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with, of all people, Eric Bruntlett, leading the way with thre hits, raising his low average to .154. Next was Jayson Werth with two hits, with one of them being a three-run home run, raising his average to .271. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Martinez had the other five Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ hit being a double and Ruiz’s hit being a three-run home run. Besides the two three-run homers by Werth and Ruiz, Martinez knocked in a run, and Rollins plated a run with a sac fly. The offense took an early lead with a couple of three-run bombs, and then scored enough runs to hang on before Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play finally ended the game.
The Phils (71-50 1st) have just finished their four-games series with the Mets (57-68), with a 6-2 victory behind Cliff Lee, who is now 5-0 since coming from the American League. The Phils’ lead in the National League East is now at seven games as they head to Pittsburgh for a three-games series with the Pirates.