A ninth-inning rally falls short as the Phils lose to the Astros, 5-3. They will now play the Marlins for three games as they try to get past the Dodgers for the best record in the National League for home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Astros took a quick 2-0 lead in the first as, with two men on, and with one man out, Lance Berkman hits a two-run double, scoring Kazuo Matsui, who had earlier singled, and then went to second as Miguel Tejada reached base on catcher’s interference, and Tejada, who had gotten on base on Paul Bako’s catcher’s interference-error. The Phils would cut the lead in half in the fifth as, with the bases loaded, via a double by Ben Francisco, an infield single by Jimmy Rollins, which sent Francisco to third, and a walk to Ryan Howard, which moved Rollins to second, and with two men out, when Raul Ibanez hit an infield single, scoring Francisco, making it a 2-1 Astros’ lead, while moving Rollins to third, and Howard up to second. The Astros increased their lead in the sixth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, Tejada hits a two-run home run, his fourteenth home run of the season, scoring Matsui, who had just walked. The Phils tried to rally in the ninth. With two men on, and with two out, Pedro Feliz hits a two-run double, scoring Matt Stairs, who had earlier received a pinch hit walk, and then went to third on Jayson Werth’s single, and Werth, who had just singled, and then moved up to second on defensive indifference, making it a 5-3 Astros’ lead. Pinch hitter Andy Tracy then followed with a pinch single, sending Feliz to third, bringing up the winning run to the plate. But, that would be it as pinch hitter Miguel Cairo hits the first pitch deep into center field for the final out.
Cliff Lee took the lost as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on seven hits and a walk, as he struck out four. His record is 14-13 (7-4) with an ERA of 3.22 (3.39). Clay Condrey pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Brett Myers pitched an inning, giving up a run on three hits. Tyler Walker and Sergio Escalona together pitched two 1-2-3 innings, striking out a batter between them (Walker). Felipe Paulino got the win as he pitched five innings, giving up just one run on six hits and three walks, as he struck out five. His record is now 3-11 with an ERA of 6.27. Jeff Fulchino recorded his twelfth hold as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Wesley Wright and LaTroy Hawkins combined for two scoreless innings, giving up three hits (Wright (1), Hawkins (2)), while striking out 2 batters (Hawkins). Jose Valverde pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.
The Phils had thirteen hits in the game, with Ben Francisco leading the team with three hits, with two of them being doubles, as he raised his average to .257 (.281). He was followed by Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz, who had two hits each, with one of Feliz’s hits being a two-run double. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Paul Bako, Miguel Cairo and pinch hitter Andy Tracy had the other six Phils’ hit, with Ibanez’s hit knocking in the Phils’ other run. The Phils were once again unable to knock in runs, mainly because they could not string together their hits.
The Phils (92-67, 1st) will play their final home stand of the regular season with a three-games series with the pesky Marlins (85-74, 3rd). The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (12-7, 3.95), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on September 27, where he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 6-5 win. He will be trying to win his thirteenth start, which would place him as the team leader in that category. The Marlins will counter with Rick VandenHurk (2-2, 4.44), who is coming off a no-decision against the Phils on September 23, when he went six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out five, in the Marlins’ 7-6 win. He will be trying for his third win of the season. The Phils will once again try to add another win as they now try to get the best record in the NL to have home field advantage during the playoffs.
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.
The Phillies lose the nightcap of the day/night doubleheader as Johan Santana gets the better of Cole Hamels as the Mets defeat the Phillies, 6-3. The lost would push the Phillies back to being two games behind the Mets with 19 games left to go. The Phillies would strike first in the first inning, as with two men on and one out, Ryan Howard would hit a RBI single, knocking in Chase Utley, who has earlier singled and has gone to second on Jayson Werth’s walk, giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead, while sending Werth to second. But Mets’ starter Johan Santana would get out of the inning by first striking out the heavily slumping Pat Burrell and then getting Shane Victorino to fly out. The Mets would strike back in their half of the first. After Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels would get the first batter out, he would give up a single to Ryan Church. David Wright would then reach base on catcher’s interference, putting runners on first and second, while leading into a long argument over the call between Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel and home plate umpire Jerry Meals, before Meals finally ejects Manuel for arguing the call. After Manuel finally leaves, Carlos Beltron would hit the first pitch thrown to him into left field for a single, scoring Church, and tying the score at one all. Wright would try to go to third on the play and would be called safe at third by the second base umpire Paul Emmel, although ESPN’s instant replay would show that not only was he tagged out before he has touched the bag with his hands, but he was also tagged out when he has slid off the bag, thus missing the play twice. In the meantime, Beltron would move up to second, putting Mets’ runners on second and third with still one out. Carlos Delgado would then follow with a RBI single, scoring both Wright and Beltran, to give the Mets a 3-1 lead. After getting Fernando Tatis to hit into a force out, 6 to 4, wiping out Delgado, for the inning’s second out, Hamels would finally get out of the inning by striking out Damion Easley. The Phillies would cut the Mets’ lead to 3-2 in the third as Ryan Howard would hit a solo home run, his fortieth home run of the year, and setting a Phillies’ record as he becomes the first Phillies to hit 40 or more home runs in three consecutive seasons. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the third as Delgado would hit a lead-off home run, his thirty-second home run of the year, to make it 4-2 Mets. Two innings later, Delgado would strike again as he would hit his thirty-third home run of the year, giving the Mets a 5-2 lead, helping to further ruin Hamels’ night. Santana, in the meantime, was ruining the Phillies’ batters’ night, as he kept them off-balance, in spite of being a bit wild in the early innings, as he got the batters once again swinging early in the pitch count, before finally being taken out in the top of the eighth inning. After keeping the Phillies off of the scoreboard in the top of the eighth, the Mets would add one more run in their half of the eighth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Brian Schneider would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Easley, who has earlier tripled, to give the Mets a 6-2 lead. The Phillies would get a run back in the ninth, when, with runners on the corners and one out, Andy Tracy would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Victorino who has earlier reached base on an infield single, has gone to second on Schneider’s throwing error, and has gone to third on pinch hitter Matt Stairs’ single, making it 6-3 Mets. But that would be the final score as Mets’ reliever Luis Ayala would strike out Jimmy Rollins to end the game.
Cole Hamels would take the lose, as he pitches five ineffective innings, giving up five runs, four of which were earned, on nine hits. His record is now 12-9 with a 3.12 ERA. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Rudy Seanez would go two innings, giving up an earned run on one hit. Johan Santana would get the win as he goes seven and one third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits. His record is now 13-7 with a 2.70 ERA. Pedro Feliciano and Brian Stokes would both pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. Luis Ayala would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.
The Phillies’ offense would do itself in once again by not being patient enough against Mets’ starter Johan Santana, as Santana, who would give up three walks in the game, was somewhat wild in the early innings. After being unable to bust the game open in the first thanks to a heavily slumping Pat Burrell, Santana would find a way to keep the Phillies under control before taking full control in the middle innings. Cole Hamels, on the other hand, would be unable to take control of the Mets’ thanks to a pair of long arguments; one between Charlie Manuel and home plate umpire Jerry Meals over whether Chris Coste’s glove actually did interfere with David Wright’s bat on what would have been strike three, which would end with Manuel being ejected from the game, and then one between third baseman Pedro Feliz and second base umpire Paul Emmel on whether Feliz has tagged out Wright at third before he has reached the bag when Wright tried to go to third on Carlos Beltron’s RBI single, which the instant replay would show that not only did Feliz tag Wright before he has reached the bag, but he has tagged him out when he has slid past the bag, both of which would be missed by Emmel. Both arguments would help to disrupt Hamels’ rhythm and lead to the Mets taking first the lead and then the ballgame. End result, Hamels would not stay calm enough to push back the Mets and allow the Phillies to sweep their way back into a first place tie.
The Phillies (78-65) will start an important three games series with the Marlins (72-71) tonight. The first games of the three game set will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm. The Phillies’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-12 (1-0), 4.79), who is coming off yet another no-decision, this time against the Nationals on September 3, where he went only four innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 9-7 lost. Blanton has never faced the Marlins. He will once again try to win his second start as a Phil, while trying to do better than his last start. The Marlins’ starter will be Anibal Sanchez (2-3, 5.54), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 2, where he went only three innings, giving up six earned runs on eight hits, in the Marlins’ 16-14 lost. In his previous start against the Phillies on August 6, he took the lost as he went five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Marlins’ 5-0 lost. He will be trying to even his record, while trying to keep the Marlins from falling any further back in the pennant race.
The Phillies trail the Mets by two games as the Mets take the day off. They are ahead of the Marlins by six games. The Phillies prepare to gain some ground on the Mets at the Marlins’ expense. In the wild card race, they are four games behind the slumping Brewers, as the Brew Crew prepare for a three games home stand with the Reds. The Phillies are a game ahead of the Cardinals, as the redbirds take the day off, while they are two games ahead of the Astros as they start a three games series with the Pirates. The Phillies hope to gain ground in both the Eastern Division and in the Wild Card chase, although at the moment they are more concerned with winning their division, although the Brewers will soon be coming into Philadelphia for four games.