Lack of offensive punch, and a bullpen implosion in the eleventh inning, leads to another lost as the Phils drop one to the Braves in eleven innings, 6-3. They are once again trailing the Braves by five games in the NL East.
The Braves took the lead in the top of the first as, with the bases loaded, via singles to Martin Prado and Omar Infante and a walk to Chipper Jones, which moved both Prado and Infante up a base, and with nobody out, Troy Glaus hits into a doubleplay, 4-3, allowing Prado to score from third, as Jones was wiped out at second, to give the Braves a 1-0 lead, while Infante moved up to third. The Phils took the lead in their half of the first as, with one man on, and with one man out, Raul Ibanez hits a two-run home run, his seventh home run of the year, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier walked, and then stole second base as Shane Victorino struck out, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Braves tied the game up at two-all in the fourth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, David Ross hits an RBI single, knocking in Matt Diaz, who had just doubled. The Braves took the lead in the eighth as, with two men out, Prado hits a solo home run, his tenth home run of the season, to give the Braves a 3-2 lead. The Phils came back to tie it up at three-all in their half of the seventh as, with a runner on first, and with nobody out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI triple, just missing a home run, knocking in Ibanez, who had earlier walked. The Phils then blew an opportunity to take the lead with a runner on third, and nobody out, as Jayson Werth is called out on strikes for the inning’s first out, then pinch hitter Ben Francisco hits a fly ball to center which is not deep enough to score Howard from third for the second out of the inning, and then Wilson Valdez grounded out, 5-3, on a sensational play by Jones, to end the inning. The Braves then took the lead for good in the eleventh as, with a runner on base, and with nobody out, Diaz hits an RBI double, scoring Yunel Escobar, who had earlier singled, to make it a 4-3 Braves’ lead. Three batters later, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Erick Hinske hits a two-run home run, his sixth home run of the season, scoring Diaz, to give the Braves a 6-3 lead. That would be the final score as Billy Wagner records his eighteen save of the year by getting Ibanez to strike out with a man on second base, for the game’s final out.
Cole Hamels received a no-decision as he went seven innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out eight. Jose Contreras pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two hits. J.C. Romero pitches a third of an inning, getting out the only man whom he would face. Brad Lidge pitches a scoreless inning, striking out two. David Herndon took the lost as he pitches an inning, plus two batters, giving up two runs on two hits. His record is now 0-2 with a 4.08 ERA. Mike Zagurski pitches an inning, giving up a run on one hit, while striking out three. Jair Jurrjens also receives a no-decision, as he pitches six innings, plus two batters, giving up three runs on two hits and three walks, while striking out four. Peter Moylan pitches a third of an inning, striking out the only man whom he would face. Jonny Venters pitches two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men whom he would face. Takashi Saito and Eric O’Flaherty combined for two scoreless innings, striking out a batter between them (O’Flaherty). Jesse Chavez gets the win as he pitches a scoreless inning, walking a batter. His record is now 1-1 with a 5.63 ERA. Billy Wagner records his eighteenth save of the year as he also pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter.
The Phils had only three hits in the game, a two-run home run by Raul Ibanez, an RBI triple by Ryan Howard and a single by Shane Victorino. The Phils hurt themselves last night by not being more patient at the plate, after getting Jurrjens pitch count up to 28 pitches in the very first inning. This seems to be their major problem. Although they were called an American League team early in the season, they have a bad habit to not act like an AL team, i.e. show patient at the plate, and especially not swing at the pitcher’s junk. Of course, some of the key cogs in their hitting machine is out of commission, but that is still no excuse for the piss poor way they are playing right now. Guys, if you are going to try to run up the pitcher’s pitch count, stop swinging at the first and/or second pitch he throws at you. Wear him out. Sheesh. Is that too much to ask for?
The Phils (43-39, 3rd) will conclude their series with the Braves (49-35, 1st) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Jamie Moyer (9-7, 4.13), who is coming off a lost against the Pirates on July 2, as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits and two walks, while he struck out eight, in the Phils’ 2-0 lost. In his last three starts, he is 2-1, as he pitched twenty-one innings, giving up five runs, only four of which were earned, on thirteen hits and three walks, while he struck out twenty. He will be going for his tenth win of the season, hoping that the Phils’ bats will actually hit behind him. The Braves will counter with Kris Medlen (5-1, 3.01), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on July 2, as he pitched six and a third innings, giving up a run on six hits and a walk, while he struck out five, in the Braves’ 4-3 win. In his last three starts, he is 1-0 with two no-decisions, as he pitched nineteen and one-third innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on seventeen hits and four walks, while he struck out fifteen. He will be going for his sixth win of the year. The Phils will be going for the series win, to put themselves four games behind the Braves in the pennant chase.