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.
For only the third time at home this season, the Phils have swept a series, doing it for the first time against a team not named the Nationals as they defeated the Mets with a 2-0 win over their ace Johan Santana.
The Phils took the lead in the bottom of the first as, on a 1-0 fastball, Jimmy Rollins hits a lead-off home run into the left field seats, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. The game then developed into a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Joe Blanton, who would give up only a single and a walk during his first five innings, while Mets’ starter Johan Santana would give up only one more hit, a single to Rollins, and a walk, after giving up the solo shot to Rollins, in five innings. The Mets then threathen to score in the sixth as they loaded the bases on a walk to Luis Castillo, a single to Santana, moving Castillo up to second base, a sacrfice bunt by Alex Cora, 5-4, moving both runners up a base, and a walk to Daniel Murphy, with only one man out. But Blanton was able to get out of the inning by getting the next batter, David Wright, to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Murphy at second, to keep it a 1-0 ballgame. Then, in the Phils’ half of the sixth, with two men out, Chase Utley made it a 2-0 Phils’ lead by hitting an 0-2 fastball into the right field seats for a solo home run, his eighteenth home run of the year. After putting the Mets down in the seventh, although giving up a single, Blanton started off the eighth by giving up a single to Castillo. After striking out pinch hitter Gary Sheffield for the inning’s first out, Charlie Manuel replaces Blanton with J.C. Romero, to face Cora. Sadly, the move did not work as Romero hits Cora with his second pitch, moving Castillo up to second base, putting the tying run on base, with still one man out. Manuel then replaces Romero with Chan Ho Park, to face pinch hitter Fernando Tatis. Park got the job done as he got Tatis to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, the Phils’ third double play of the game, wiping out Cora at second, and keeping it a 2-0 Phils’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge threw his sixteenth save of the season, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side as he preserves the shut out.
Joe Blanton got the win as he pitched a strong seven and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up just four hits and three walks, while striking out five. His record is now 5-4 with his ERA reduced to 4.69. J.C. Romero pitched to one batter, hitting him. Chan Ho Park recored his fifth hold, as he pitched to one batter, getting a double play ball, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning. Brad Lidge recorded his sixteenth save of the season as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side. Johan Santana took the lost, as he went seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out three. His record is now 9-7 with an ERA of 3.29. Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless inning, walking a batter, while striking out one.
The Phils had only three hits in the game, with a resurging Jimmy Rollins collecting two of the three hits, a home run and a single, raising his average to .217, as he has gotten seven hits in his last four starts. Chase Utley has the Phils’ other hit, a solo home run. The win keeps the Phils a game ahead of the Marlins and four games ahead of both the Braves and the Mets.
The Phillies (42-37, 1st National League East) continue their ten-games home stand with a four-games series with the Reds (40-40, 4th National League Central). The first game of the series will start at 7:05 pm tonight and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound Coel Hamels (4-5, 4.98), who is coming off his worst start of the season, as he was pummeled by the Braves on July 1, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out only one batter, in four innings of work, in the Phils’ 11-1 lost. The Phils will be looking for Hamels to act like their ace again, while he will be looking to stop his own three games losing streak. The Reds will counter with Johnny Cueto (8-4, 2.69), who is coming off a win against the D’backs on July 1, as he pitched six strong innings, giving up no runs on only one hit and four walks, while striking out eight, in the Reds’ 1-0 win. He will be trying for his ninth win of the season. The Phils will be looking for Hamels to pitch the fourth straight quality start from a Phils’ starter, while trying to increase their present winning streak at home to four games.
Shane Victorino’s patient at home plate with the bases loaded leads to a walk-off win for the Phillies over their main rival in the East, the Mets, in extra-innings, 6-5, leaving them just a game behind the 1st place Marlins.
The Phillies took a quick lead in the first inning, as, with a runner on third, and no one out, Raul Ibanez hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier tripled, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with two men on base, and one man out, Jimmy Rollins hits an RBI single, scoring Jayson Werth, who had earlier walked, and had gone to third on Ryan Howard’s single, making it 2-0 Phillies, while sending Howard, who had earlier singled, to second base. In the second, the Mets cut the lead to 2-1 Phils, as, with runners on the corners, and one man out, Daniel Murphy hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Gary Sheffield, who had earlier walked, had moved up to second on David Wright’s walk, and had gone over to third on Fernando Tatis grounder to Rollins, who threw over to second, forcing out Wright, 6-4. The Phils got the run back in their half of the second, making it 3-1 Phillies, as with a runner on second, and two men out, Werth hits an RBI double, knocking in Victorino, who had earlier doubled. The Mets cut the lead once again, this time making it 3-2 Phils, as, with two men on and one man out, Wright hits a sacrifice fly to Howard in foul territory, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier walked, and had moved over to third on Sheffield’s double. The Phillies got that run back in the bottom of the third, making it 4-2 Phillies, as, with the bases loaded via walks to Rollins, Eric Bruntlett and Carlos Ruiz, who had been reactivated by the Phils, and one man out, Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer received an RBI walk, scoring Rollins, while Bruntlett and Ruiz would both move up a base. That would be the game for Mets’ starter Oliver Perez, who was replaced by reliever rookie Ken Takahashi. Takahashi ended the inning by getting Victorino to hit into a very wierd double play, as the ball stopped in front of the mound, which Takahashi picked up and threw home. Catcher Ramon Castro touched home plate in front of Bruntlett for the inning’s second out, then threw the ball to second base upon seeing that Moyer hasn’t yet reached second. The throw would beat Moyer to the bag, as shortstop Jose Reyes touched second for the inning’s final out for a 1-2-6 double play. The score would stay 4-2 Phils until the sixth, when, with two men out, Murphy hits a solo home run to right, his third home run of the season, making it 4-3 Phils. The next batter, Castro, tied the game up at four-all as he hits a solo home run to center, his second home run of the year. After Moyer gives up a triple to pinch hitter Alex Cora, Moyer is replaced by Scott Eyre. Two batters later, with runners on the corners, as Eyre gave up a walk to Reyes, Castillo gave the Mets the lead, 5-4, with an RBI single, scoring Cora, and sending Reyes over to third. Eyre then loaded up the bases by hitting Carlos Beltran. Eyre was then replaced with Clay Condrey, who ended the inning by getting Sheffield to ground out, 4-3. The Phils would tie the game up at five-all, as, with one out, Ibanez hits a solo home run, his eighth home run of the season. The score would remain 5-5 for the next three innings, although the Mets threathen to score in the eighth. With runners on first and second, with pinch runner Omir Santos on second, after replacing Castro, who had gotten to first base with a walk, while Santos had moved on to second on a Cora sacrifice bunt, and pinch hitter Carlos Delgado walk, who in turn was replaced on first by pinch runner John Maine, and two men out, Santos tried to score on a single to right by Beltran. Right fielder Werth made a good throw to the plate, which was caught by Ruiz, who then tagged out a sliding Santos for the inning’s final out. In the tenth, the Phils loaded up the bases, with two outs, via a single by Pedro Feliz, Matt Stairs being hit by the pitch, and a walk to pinch hitter Chris Coste. Victorino took the count up to 3-2 before taking a sinker low for ball four, scoring Feliz and giving the Phils a walk-off 6-5 win in extra-innings.
Jamie Moyer received a no-decision as he pitched five and two-thirds innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and four walks, while he struck out two. Scott Eyre faced three batters, getting none out, as he gave up a hit a walk and hit a batter. Clay Codrey pitched one and one-third scoreless innings. Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out one. Brad Lidge pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two walks. Jack Taschner got the win as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while striking out a batter. His record is now 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA. Oliver Perez also got a no-decision as he pitched only two and one-third innings, giving up four runs on five hits and six walks, striking out only two. Ken Takahashi followed, pitching two and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up just one hit and a walk, while striking out one. Pedro Feliciano blew the save as he gave up one run on one hit, while he struck out a batter. Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. J.J. Putz pitched two scoreless innings, giving up no hits, while he struck out two. Sean Green took the lost, as he only pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit, two walks and a hit batter. His record is now 0-2 with a 8.76 ERA.
The Phillies had nine hits in the game. Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz lead the team with two hits each. Victorino’s hits were a double and a triple, Ibanez’s hits were a home run and a double, while Feliz had two singles. Jayson Werth, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins had the other three hits, with Werth’s hit being a double. Ibanez had two RBIs in the game, while Victorino, Werth, Rollins and Jamie Moyer had the other four RBIs.
The Phillies’ (12-10, 2nd) game with the Mets (10-13, 4th), scheduled for this afternoon, has just been postponed because of rain. The Phillies’ next game will be against the Cardinals in St. Louis tomorrow night.
They Phillies have announced that they will be giving the final two spots in the bullpen to J.A. Happ and Jack Taschner while they send Gary Majewski down to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. They will also be giving the final bench spot to infielder Miguel Cairo. With that, your 2009 defending World Champions Philadelphia Phillies look like this:
Chan Ho Park
…plus J.C. Romero, who will be returning later in the season from his stupid 50-game suspension, to retake his roster spot in the bullpen.
Although the team looks good and appear ready to defend the title, I still have this nagging question in the back of my head. Why are they putting Happ into the bullpen, where he has not done too well so far at the big league level, instead of Majewski? Let’s be honest, folks. Happ is a starter, no more, no less. He’s better off pitching some more at Lehigh Valley until something bad happens to one of the five starters, knock on wood, instead of the bullpen. I can only think that he’s up here just in case someone in the starting rotation blows it big time real early in the season. I am so hoping that I’m wrong and that Charlie Manuel and the brain-trust knows exactly what they are doing.
In other Phillies-related news, the Mets have just signed outfielder Gary Sheffield to a one-year, $400,000 deal. If Gary’s attitude is as bad as I’d been reading about during the past few days, our team has just bit the bullet by him signing elsewhere. As for the Mets, I hate to be in their clubhouse when he starts becoming disruptive.