The Phils’ offense returns to score nine runs in the first five innings, giving strong support to starter Joe Blanton as the Phils defeat the Twins, 9-5.
The Phils struck early as they took the lead in the first inning. With a runner on third, and with one man out, Chase Utley, who some folks believe might have a hurt knee, thanks to reports earlier in the day, instead of simply being mired in a long-term slump, answers his critics by hitting an RBI single, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier walked, stole second base and then went to third on Placido Polanco’s ground out, 6-3, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. One batter later, with Utley on first, and with one man still out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI triple, scoring Utley with ease, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Phils then made it 3-0 as, with Howard on third, and with still one out, Jayson Werth hits a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Howard. The Phils added to their lead in the second as, with two man on, and with two outs, Polanco hits an RBI single, knocking in Wilson Valdez, who had earlier singled, and then moved up to second on Victorino’s second walk in the game, giving the Phils a 4-0 lead, while sending Victorino up to second base. The Phils then made it 7-0 as, with two men on base, and still with two outs, Utley hits a three-run home run to right, his eleventh home run of the season, scoring both Victorino and Polanco. The next batter, Howard, followed Utley with a home run of his own to right, his twelfth home run of the season, making it an 8-0 Phils’ lead. In the top of the fifth, the Twins tried to get on the board as Jason Kubel, who had hit a lead-off triple to center, tried to stretch it into an inside-the-park home run. Instead, he is cut down at home plate by a strong throw to home by Utley, as Carlos Ruiz applied the tag, for an 8-4-2 put out. The Phils would then make it 9-0 in their half of the fifth as Howard hits a lead-off home run, his thirteenth home run of the season, and his second of the night. The Twins would finally get on the board in the sixth as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Michael Cuddyer hits an RBI single, scoring Joe Mauer, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Justin Morneau’s single, making it a 9-1 Phils’ lead, while sending Morneau up to second base. The Twins would cut the Phils’ lead down to 9-3 in the seventh as, with a man on base, and with no one out, Nick Punto hits a two-run home run, knocking in Delmon Young, who had earlier singled. In the ninth, the Twins would decrease the Phils’ lead to 9-4 as, with the bases loaded, via singles to Young, Punto and Denard Span, and with one man out, Scott Mathieson, who was pitching in his first major league game since his second Tommy John surgery, threw a wild pitch, scoring Young, while moving Punto to third and Span to second. One batter later, with two men on, and with still one man out, Orlando Hudson hits into an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Punto, while sending Span on to third. After Mathieson is replaced on the mound with Brad Lidge, he ends the ballgame by getting Mauer to line out to right.
Joe Blanton gets the win, coming back from his shelling at the hands of the BoSox almost a week ago, as he pitches six innings, plus two batters, as he ran out of gas in the seventh, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, while he strikes out one. His record is now 2-5 with a 6.96 ERA. Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero combined for two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Romero) between them, while striking out one batter (Durbin). Scott Mathieson pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs, on three hits and a wild pitch. Brad Lidge pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Nick Blackburn takes the lost as he last only one and two-thirds innings, giving up eight runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 6-4 with a 5.80 ERA. Jesse Crain pitches two and one-third scoreless innings, striking out two batters. Ron Mahay pitches an inning, giving up a run on three hits. Brian Duensing, Matt Guerrier and Alex Burnett combine for three shut out innings, giving up just two hits (Guerrier and Burnett one hit each) and two walks (also Guerrier and Burnett one each).
The Phils had eleven hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the way as he went four for four ending up a single short of hitting the cycle, as he had a double, a triple and four home runs, knocking in three runs, while scoring three, as he had a total of thirteen total bases, tying a career high, as he raised his average to .293. Placido Polanco and Chase Utley followed with two hits each, with Polanco’s hits being two singles, as he knocked in a run, while Utley’s hits were a single and a three-run home run, knocking in four runs. Jayson Werth, Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez had the other three Phils’ hits, all singles, with Werth knocking in the other Phil run, on a sac fly. The Phils hope that Ruiz is fine, as he was hit in the head by Jason Kubel’s broken bat in the top of the eight, being replace by Brian Schneider in the top of the ninth.
The Phils (35-30, 3rd NL East) continue their three-games series with the Twins (38-29, 1st AL Central) with a day game that will be nationally televised by Fox. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 4:15 pm Eastern. Cole Hamels (6-5, 3.74) will start for the Phils, hoping to continue on his previous gem against the Red Sox on June 13, where he pitched seven strong innings, giving up just one run on five hits and two walks, while striking out eight, as he picks up the win in the Phils’ 5-3 win. He will be trying to collect his seventh win of the season, while also going for his eighth quality start in his last nine starts. The Twins will counter with Kevin Slowey (7-4, 3.84), who is coming off a lost against the Braves on June 13, as he went only four and two-thirds inning, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on nine hits and one walk, while he struck out six, in the Twins’ 7-3 lost. He will be trying to recover from the lost. The Phils’ offense will be trying to continue its present hot streak, while hoping that Hamels will continue to pitch like the team’s no. two pitcher.