The Phils’ magic number is now down to one as their offense wakes up long enough to defeat the Astros, 7-4, while the Marlins hold on to defeat the Braves. The Phils will be looking to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division title tonight behind veteran pitcher Pedro Martinez.
The Astros took an early 1-0 lead in the third as, with two men out, Lance Berkman hits a solo home run, his twenty-fifth home run of the season. The Phils would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with one man on, and with one man out, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Paul Bako, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Phils’ starter J.A. Happ’s sacrifice bunt. The Phils then took the lead in the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Ryan Howard and Raul Ibanez, and a walk to Jayson Werth, which sent Howard to third and Ibanez to second, with nobody out, Pedro Feliz hits a grand slam home run, his twelfth home run of the season, his seventh career grand slam, and the eleventh grand slam hit by the Phils this season, making it a 5-1 Phils’ lead. The Astros would get a run back in the fifth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Carlos Lee hits an RBI single, knocking in Miguel Tejada, who had earlier singled, and had moved up to second when Berkman reached base on catcher’s interference, cutting the Phils’ lead to 5-2, while sending Berkman, who had went to first on catcher’s interference, moved up to second. The Phils increased their lead in their half of the fifth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his thirty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. In the sixth, the Astros would get those two runs back as, with a man on, and with two outs, Kazuo Matsui hits a two-run home run, his ninth home run of the season, scoring J.R. Towles, who had earlier doubled, making it a 7-4 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score, as Jamie Moyer would come in to hold down the fort for an inning and a third, and then Ryan Madson would come in to pitch for two innings, recording his tenth save of the season, as he struck out Hunter Pence to end the game.
J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs, only three of which were earned, on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 12-4 with a 2.85 ERA. Jamie Moyer recorded his first hold as he pitched an inning and a third of scoreless relief, giving up only a walk, while he struck out one. Ryan Madson collected his tenth save of the year as he pitched two innings of shut out ball, giving up just two hits, as he struck out two. Wilton Lopez took the lost as he pitched three and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on six hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA. Wesley Wright pitched one and a third innings, giving up two runs on a hit and a walk, while he struck out two. Chad Paronto, Jeff Fulchino and Samuel Gervacio combined to keep the Phils off the board for three innings, giving up only one hit (Paronto), while striking out two batters (Fulchino (1), Gervacio (1)).
The Phils had eight hits in the game, with both Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth leading the way with two hits each, with one of Rollins’ hits being an RBI double, while one of Werth’s hits was a two-run home run. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz and Paul Bako had the other four Phils’ hits, with Feliz’s hit being a grand slam home run, which put the Phils ahead for good. The Phils’ offense will be trying to break the game open early tonight to finally end the pennant race.
The Phils (91-66, 1st East) continue their four-game set with the Astros (73-84, 5th Central) with a night game. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (5-1, 3.32), who is coming off a neck injury. His last start was a lost against the Braves on September 19, when he went only three innings because of tightness in his neck, as he gave up three runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out one, in the Phils’ 6-4 lost. Martinez will be trying to pitch the Phils into the playoffs tonight. The Astros will counter with Brian Moehler (8-11, 5.21), who is coming off a lost against the Reds on September 25, as he pitched two and a third innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and a walk, while striking out only two, in the Astros’ 10-4 lost. He will try to hold off the clinching party for at least one more night. The Phils will be trying to clinch their third straight NL Eastern Division crown tonight, so that they can use the final four games to set things up for the Divisional Series.