Two monster home runs by Ryan Howard is more than enough runs support for Cliff Lee as he wins his fifth straight start since being traded to the Phils, as the Phillies defeated the depleted Mets, 6-2, winning the series, before they head off to Pittsburgh. They increase their lead in the NL East over the Braves to seven games.
In the first, the Phils took the lead as, with two men on, and with only one man out, Ryan Howard hits a three-run bomb to left field, his thirty-third home run of the season, as he scored Shane Victorino, who had earlier been hit by the pitch, stole second and then went to third on Mets’ catcher Omir Santos’ throwing error, and Chase Utley, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Mets got a run back in their half of the first as Angel Pagan hits a soft pop fly to Utley, who misplayed the ball, dropping it for a fielding error, allowing Pagan to reach first and then head on to second base for a two-base error. Utley then committed a throwing error as he tried to throw out Pagan at second base, but threw the ball past Phils’ shortstop Eric Bruntlett towards the left field foul area, which would eventually allow Pagan to score on the second two-base error of the play, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead. This is the first time in his career that Utley has committed two errors in a ballgame, as well as two errors on one play. Three batters later, with a man on third and with one out, Fernando Tatis hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Gary Sheffield, who had earlier tripled, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils added to their lead in the third as, with a man on base, and with one out, Howard hits his second home run of the game, his thirty-fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier walked, making it a 5-2 Phils lead. That would remain the lead until the top of the ninth as Phils’ starter Cliff Lee took control of the game from the second inning onwards, giving up only six hits, and two unearned runs, while he struck out five for seven strong innings. In the ninth, the Phils would add an insurance run as, with a runner on second, and with one out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Utley, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would end up being the final score as Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.
Cliff Lee got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five. His record is now 12-9 (5-0) with an ERA of 2.63 (0.68). Chan Ho Park pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he collected his eighth hold, striking out a batter. Brad Lidge also pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Bobby Parnell took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks, while he struck out three. His record is now 3-6 with an ERA of 5.08. Ken Takahashi, Elmer Dessens and Billy Wagner combined for three scoreless innings, giving up only a hit (Takahashi) and a walk (Wagner), while striking out four batters (Takahashi (2), Wagner (2)). Pedro Feliciano pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out a batter. Brian Stokes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up only a walk, as he struck out a batter.
The Phils had only seven hits, with Ryan Howard and Ryan Ibanez leading the way with two hits apiece, with both of Howard’s hits being home runs, knocking in five of the Phils’ runs, while one of Ibanez’s hits was a double, knocking in the Phils’ other run. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Eric Bruntlett had the other three Phils’ hits, with Utley’s hit being a double. Once again, the Phils’ had little offense, but got the big hit when they needed it, as they go on to Pittsburgh, after a successful start of their road trip in New York.
The Phillies (72-50, 1st National League East) continue their road trip with a three games series with the Pirates (51-71, 6th National League Central). The game will be played at PNC Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (8-6, 3.86), who is coming off a win against the D-backs on August 20, where he went eight innings, giving up three runs on ten hits, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 12-3 win. He will be trying to gain his ninth win, while starting the series against the lowly Bucos on a good note. The Pirates will counter with Ross Ohlendorf (11-8, 4.15), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on August 18, as he pitched seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Pirates’ 5-2 win. He will be going for his twelfth win, while hoping to slow down the Phils. The Phils will be trying to take advantage of one of the worst teams in the NL, while trying to put even further distance between them and the NL East rivals.