Tagged: Jeff Francoeur

A two-run shot by Chase Utley help lead J.A. Happ to his tenth victory of the year.

As J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings against the Mets, a two-run strike by Chase Utley help lead the Phils to a 4-1 win over New York, giving Happ his tenth win of the season. A Braves victory over the Marlins put the Phils back to being six-and-a-half games over both the Braves and the Marlins.

The Mets took the lead in the second as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Omir Santos hits an RBI single, knocking in Jeff Fancoeur, who had earlier doubled, and had gone on to third as Daniel Murphy hits into a 4-6-3 double play, as Fernando Tatis, who had just walked, was wiped out at second, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. The game then became a pitchers’ duel between Mets’ starter Tim Redding, who gave Phils’ batters fits for five innings, giving up only one hit, a single by Chase Utley with two outs in the third inning, and three walks, while Phils’ starter J.A. Happ refused to break, as the Mets would end up with eight scattered hits and two walks, before he finally leaves the game after pitching seven innings, giving up only the run in the second. The Phils’ bats, once Redding had left the game, then went to work. In the sixth, with a runner on base, and with noone out, Utley hits a two-run home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the year, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier walked, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. Four batters later, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Pedro Feliz hits an RBI double, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier doubled, making it 3-1 Phils. The Phils then added an insurance run in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Ryan Howard, a Jayson Werth double, which sent Howard over to third base, and a Feliz intentional walk, with one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard from third, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. That would be the final score as Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would get out the last six Mets’ batters, with Lidge recording his twenty-fourth save of the season.

J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one run on eight hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. His record is now 10-2 with an ERA of 2.59. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-first hold, as he struck out two batters. Brad Lidge also pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he recorded his twenty-fourth save of the year, also striking out two batters. Tim Redding received a no-decision as he pitched five strong innings, giving up only one hit and three walks, while he struck out four. Pat Misch took the lost as he threw his first blown save of the year, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, in one-thirds of an inning. His record is now 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA. Sean Green pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Pedro Feliciano pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Brian Stokes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up just a walk. Nelson Figueroa pitched a shut-out inning, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had only seven hits in the game, with Chase Utley and Jayson Werth leading the way with two hits each, with one of Utley’s hits being a two-run home runs, knocking in two runs, while one of Werth’s hits was a double. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz had the other three Phils’ hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, and Feliz’s hit being an RBI double. Carlos Ruiz knocked in the other run with a sacrifice fly. The Phils had few hits last night, but unlike Friday night, the hits came when they counted.

The Phils (70-50, 1st) continues their four-games series with the weaken Mets (57-66, 4th) with an afternoon game. The game will begin at 1:10 pm Eastern and will be played at Citi Field. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (1-0, 4.50), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on August 18, as he pitched just three strong innings before the rains came down hard, giving up just a run on two hits, as he struck out three, in the Phils’ 5-1 win. He will be trying to show that last Tuesday’s start was just the start of a strong run by him. He will be opposed by Oliver Perez (3-3, 6.06), who is coming off a win against the Braves on August 18, as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out  four, in the Mets’ 9-4 win. He will be trying to improve his record, while trying to pitch the Mets into at least a series tie. The Phils will be trying to win behind Pedro to set up a series win behind Cliff Lee tomorrow afternoon.

The Phils’ bullpen allows another one to slip away as the Phils fall to the Braves in 10 innings, 5-4.

The Phillies lose in extra-innings as the bullpen blows yet another lead in the late innings, as the Phils lose their first game in a year to the Braves in Atlanta, 5-4.

The Phils took an early lead in the third as, with two men on base, and two men out, Ryan Howard hits a ground-rule double, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled and had gone to third on Chase Utley’s single, making it 1-0 Phils, while sending Utley over to third. The Braves would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the third as, with a runner on third and nobody out, Martin Prado hits an RBI single, scoring Gregor Blanco, who had earlier tripled. The Phils regain the lead in the fifth as, with two men out, Utley hits a solo home run, his seventeenth home run of the year, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. The Braves would tie the game up with one swing of the bat in their half of the inning as Prado hits a lead-off home run, his fourth home run of the season. Five batters later, with the bases loaded, via singles to Chipper Jones and Garret Anderson and a walk to Casey Kotchman, and with one man out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI ground out, 4-3, for the inning’s second out, scoring Jones and giving the Braves a 3-2 lead, while moving both Anderson and Kotchman up a base. The Phils tied it in the eighth as, with two men out, John Mayberry, Jr., hit a pinch hit home run, his fourth home run of the season. The Phils then retook the lead as Pedro Feliz followed Mayberry with a solo home run of his own, his fifth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 4-3 lead. The Braves would tie the game up yet again in their half of the inning, as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Prado hits an RBI double, scoring Blanco, who had earlier reached base with a walk, and had then gone to second on Ryan Madson’s throwing error when he tried to pick off Blanco at first, while Prado would go on to third when Jayson Werth misplayed the ball for a fielding error. The Braves won the game in the tenth inning as, with runners on second and third, with one out, and with both the infield and outfield in to stop the winning run from scoring, Prado hits an RBI single over Mayberry’s head in left, scoring Matt Diaz, who had earlier singled and then went to third on Blanco’s single, beating Mayberry’s throw to third, giving the Braves a 5-4 extra-innings, walk-off win. 

Joe Blanton got a no-decision, as he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out three. Chad Durbin pitched two scoreless innings, giving up only one hit. Ryan Madson committed his fourth blown save, giving up a run on one hit and two walks, while striking out one. J.C. Romero pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Chan Ho Park took the lost as he gave up a run on three hits, as he struck out one, in one-third innings. His record is now 3-2 with a 6.04 ERA. Derek Lowe also received a no-decision as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on seven hits and three walks, striking out four. Eric O’Flaherty pitched an inning, getting his eighth hold, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Mike Gonzalez recorded his fourth blown save, as he gave up two runs on two hits, while striking out a batter. Rafael Soriano pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out one. Boone Logan pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Peter Moylan got the win, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the two men that he would face. His record is now 2-2 with an ERA of 4.15. 

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Pedro Feliz leading the way with three hits, including a solo home run, knocking in a run, as he raised his average to .295. Chase Utley and Ryan Howard both followed with two hits each, with both men knocking in a run, Utley via a solo home run and Howard with a ground-rule double. Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and John Mayberry, Jr. had the other three Phils’ hits, with Mayberry’s being a pinch hit home run. The Phils offense is still somewhat in neutral as they wait for Raul Ibanez to return from the disabled list and their lead-off man, Jimmy Rollins to get it in gear as his batting average continue to go low.

The Phillies (39-35, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (36-40, 4th) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and it will start at 7:00 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamel (4-4, 4.44), who is cioming off one of his worst starts this season, as he lost to the Blue Jays on June 26, as he went only four and two-thirds innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 6-1 lost. He will be going out to prove that he is indeed the Phils’ ace starter. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (5-6, 2.93), who is coming off a lost to the Red Sox on June 26, as he went eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 4-1 lost. He wil be trying to rebound from that lost. The Phils as a team now need to forget about June and try to put together a winning streak before the All-Star break, trying to put some serious distance between themselves and the rest of the division. But, they need to start it with a win tonight, and Hamels will have to lead the way by shutting the Braves down, no ifs, ands, or buts about it!!!!

Despite pitching eight innings, Blanton loses as he is done in by a pair of two-run home runs as the Phils lose to the Braves, 6-2.

In spite of becoming the first Phillies’ starter to pitch eight innings, Joe Blanton loses the game as he is the victim of a pair of two-run home runs as the Phils lose to the Braves, 6-2, falling into third place in the NL East as both the Mets and the Marlins win.

The Braves took a quick 1-0 lead in the second, as, with two men on, and one man out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI single, knocking in Garret Anderson, who had earlier walked, and had gone to second on Brian McCann’s single, while McCann, who had earlier singled, moved on to third. The Phillies tied the game in the fourth at one-all, as, with one out, Chase Utley hits a solo home run, his tenth home run of the year. The Braves regained the lead in the fifth, as, with one man out, Kelly Johnson hits an RBI double, scoring Braves’ starter Javier Vazquez, who had earlier doubled, making it 2-1 Braves. One batter later, with a runner on second and still one man out, Yunel Escobar hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the year, knocking in Johnson, making it 4-1 Braves. The Braves would add to their lead in the eighth, when, with a man on, and two men out, McCann hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the year, scoring Chipper Jones, who had earlier singled, giving the Braves a 6-1 lead. The Phils got a run back in their half of the eighth, as Raul Ibanez hits a lead-off solo home run, his ninth home run of the year, making it a 6-2 Braves’ lead. That would be the final score as a Phils threat in the ninth fizzled out.

Joe Blanton took the lost, as he pitched eight innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and one walk, as he struck out five. His record is now 1-3 with a 6.82 ERA. Scott Eyre pitched a scoreless ninth, giving up just one hit and a walk. Javier Vazquez got the win, as he pitched seven and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while he struck out seven. His record is now 3-3 with an ERA of 3.88. Eric O’Flaherty pitched a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Mike Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit, as he struck out a batter.

The Phillies had only five hits in the game, with Chase Utley having two hits, a double and a solo home run. Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Chris Coste had the other three hits, with Coste’s hit being a double and Ibanez’s being a solo home run. Blanton is the first Phils’ starter to pitch eight innings this season. Sadly, he didn’t have anything to show for it as a pair of two-run home runs did him in.

The Phillies (15-13, 3rd) will conclude their three-games series with the Braves (14-16) at Citizens Bank Park. The game is already in progress. The Phils are sending to the mound Brett Myers (2-2, 5.35), who is coming off a bad start against the Cardinals on May 5, where he went five and a third innings, giving up five runs on nine hits, while he struck out a batter, in the Phillies’ 10-7 win. He will be trying for his third win of the season while improving on his previous start. The Braves are countering with Kenshin Kawakami (1-4, 6.41), who is coming off a lost against the Mets, also on May 5, as he went five innings, giving up two runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out seven, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. The Phils will be trying to win the series this afternoon.

Cole Hamels wins his first start as the Phils beat the Braves, 10-6.

After being knocked out of two straight starts by freak injuries, Cole Hamels was able to stay on the mound long enough last night to pitch six strong innings against Atlanta, as he wins his first start of the year, as the Phils defeated the Braves, 10-6.

The Phils took the lead in the second inning, as, with the bases loaded via a walk to Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz reaching base on Braves’ shortstop Yunel Escobar’s fielding error, and a walk to Chris Coste, and two men outs, Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels hits a ground ball to Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes. Reyes, after picking up the grounder, threw it away for a throwing error, allowing both Werth and Feliz to score, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead, while allowing Coste to go to third, and Hamels to reach second base. Jimmy Rollins then followed with a two-run double, scoring both Coste and Hamels, making it 4-0 Phils. The Phillies added to their lead in the third, as, with one man on base, and one out, Werth hits a two-run home run, his sixth home run of the year, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier hit a ground-rule double, giving the Phils a 6-0 lead. The Braves would finally get on the board in the fourth, as, with runners on second and third, and two men out, Brian McCann hits a two-run single, scoring Chipper Jones, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Garret Anderson’s double, and Anderson, who had earlier doubled and had just beaten out Werth’s throw to the plate, cutting the Phils’ lead to 6-2. The Phillies would get one of the runs back in their half of the fourth as Coste hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year, making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils made it 8-2 in the fifth, as Chase Utley hits a lead-off home run of his own, his ninth home run of the year. The Braves made it an 8-3 Phils’ lead in the top of the eighth as Omar Infante hits a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year. The Phils would get that run back in their half of the eighth, as, with two men on, and one man out, Feliz hits an RBI double, knocking in Werth, who had earlier been hit by the pitch and had gone over to second on Raul Ibanez’s single, making it 9-3 Phils, while sending Ibanez, who had earlier singled, over to third. Two batters later, after Coste had walked to load the bases, with still only one out, pinch hitter Greg Dobbs hits an RBI single, scoring Ibanez, giving the Phillies a 10-3 lead, while moving both Feliz and Coste up a base, leaving the bases loaded. Then, in the ninth, the Braves made it a close game, as, with two men on, and nobody out, Casey Kotchman hits a three-run home run, his second home run of the year, knocking in McCann, who had earlier walked, and had gone on to third on Jeff Francoeur’s double, and Francoeur, who had earlier doubled, making it a 10-6 Phils’ lead. But that would be the final score as Brad Lidge would get out the next three batters to end the ballgame.

Cole Hamels got the win as he pitched six strong innings, giving up only two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out seven. His record is now 1-2 with an ERA of 6.17. Jack Taschner pitched a scoreless inning, giving up just a walk. Clay Condrey pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit. Brad Lidge would pitch the ninth, giving up three runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out two batters. Jo-Jo Reyes took the lost, as he went five innings, giving up eight runs, only four of which were earned, on five hits and two walks, while he struck out six. His record is now 0-2 with an ERA of 5.48. James Parr pitched a scoreless inning. Eric O’Flaherty also pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Jeff Bennett pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk.

The Phillies had eight hits in the game. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez, Pedro Feliz, Chris Coste and Greg Dobbs each had a hit, with Rollins, Howard and Feliz’s hits being doubles, while Utley, Werth and Coste’s hits were home runs. Rollins and Werth both knocked in two runs, while Utley, Feliz, Coste and Dobbs knocked in one run each. Hamels has pitched his best game, so far, this season, which could be an harbinger of things to come from the rest of the staff, if they can just follow up the other two quality starts that were thrown earlier this week.

The Phillies (15-12, 1st) continue their three-games series with the Braves (13-16, 4th) at Citizens Bank Park. The game will be nationally televised on Fox Sports and will start at 3:40 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Joe Blanton (1-2, 6.84), who is coming off a quality start against the Cardinals on May 4, when he went six strong innings, giving up just one run on four hits and two walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win. He win be trying for both his second straight win and quality start. The Braves will counter with Javier Vazquez (2-3, 4.19), who is coming off a lost against the Mets, also on May 4, as he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up six runs on seven hits and three walks, while striking out eight, in the Braves’ 6-4 lost. The Phillies will be looking for their second straight win, while looking for the second straight quality start from their starters.

Phillies’ eight-run seventh inning help lead to first victory of the season, 12-11, as Brad Lidge remains perfect in relief.

After trailing the Braves for the third straight game, the Phillies’ eight-run rally in the seventh inning lead to their first win of the 2009 season, as they defeat the Atlanta Braves, 12-11, ending the three-game series on a high note.

The Phillies began the afternoon by receiving their world series ring. After the ring ceremony, Joe Blanton started the game for the Phils, and right from the start was in for a long day as he gave up a two-out two-run home run to Brian McCann, his second home run of the young season, knocking in Yunel Escobar, who had earlier reached second base with a double, giving the Braves an early 2-0 lead. The Phils tied the game up in their half of the second as Raul Ibanez hit a two-run home run, his first homer as a Phil, and the team’s first home run of the season, scoring Ryan Howard, who had earlier doubled. The Braves retook the lead in the top of the third as they torched Blanton for five runs. After loading the bases via a single to Omar Infante, a walk to Kelly Johnson and another single to Escobar, with nobody out, McCann made the score 3-2 Braves by knocking in Infante with an RBI single, while moving Johnson and Escobar up to third and second respectively, leaving the bases loaded. After Casey Kotchman strikes out for the inning’ first out, Jeff Francoeur made it 5-2 Atlanta with a two-run single to center, knocking in both Johnson and Escobar, while McCann would move safely to third on Shane Victorino’s throw to home plate. Matt Diaz followed with a two-run double, scoring both Francoeur and McCann, giving the Braves a 7-2 lead. The Phils would get one of the runs back in the bottom half of the third, as Victorino, who had started the inning off with a triple, scored on an Infante throwing error of a Chase Utley ground ball to third base, making it 7-3 Atlanta. The Braves increased their lead to 9-3 in the fifth as rookie Jordan Schafer hit his second home run of his young career, a two-run shot to right, scoring Diaz, who had gotten on base earlier with a walk. Both runs came off of J.A. Happ, pitching in relief of Blanton, thus ending with one swing of the bat both the bullpen’s hitless and scoreless streak. The Braves added to their lead in the seventh, making it 10-3 Braves, as Chad Durbin gives up a bases loaded walk to Infante, forcing in Kotchman, who had earlier doubled and had moved over to third on Greg Norton’s walk, while moving Schafer to third, who had also walked, and moving Norton over to second base. Clay Condrey then came into the game in place of Durbin and got out of the inning by striking out Johnson. Now trailing 10-3, the offense decided to come to life. Victorino started off the Phils’ half of the seventh by grounding out, 5-3, for the inning’s first out. Utley followed with a single to center. Howard was then hit by the pitch, putting runners on first and second, as Utley moved up to second. The next batter, Jayson Werth, is then walked by Peter Moylan, who was pitching in relief of Eric O’Flaherty, loading the bases with still only one man out. Ibanez followed Werth with a single, knocking in Utley, as he collected his third RBI of the afternoon, making the score 10-4 Atlanta, while sending Howard over to third base, and Werth to second, leaving the bases loaded. Pedro Feliz then singled in Howard, making it 10-5 Braves, while Werth and Ibanez both moved up a base, leaving the bases loaded with Phils. Matt Stairs, pinch hitting for Carlos Ruiz, is given a four pitch walk, forcing in Werth with the third Phils’ run in the inning, reducing the Braves lead to 10-6, as the bases remained loaded. The next batter, pinch hitter Chris Coste, batting for Condrey, also walks, bringing home Ibanez, as the Phils now trailed 10-7, while the bases remained loaded for Jimmy Rollins, who became the ninth batter of the inning. Rollins received a four-pitch free pass, the third straight walk to a Phil batter, and the fourth walk of the inning, forcing in Feliz, as the bases stay loaded, making the score 10-8 Braves. The next batter, Victorino, followed with a single, scoring Stairs, making the score now 10-9 Atlanta, moving Coste and Rollins over to third and second base, respectively, as the bases remained loaded. The eleventh batter of the inning, Utley, walks, the fifth Phil to walk in the inning, tying the ballgame up at 10 all, as Coste crosses the plate, while Rollins and Victorino both moved up a base. Howard comes up to the plate, and with the count 1-1, hit the ball on a bounce towards Braves’ first baseman, Kotchman. Kotchman, having only one play, threw the ball over to relief pitcher Jorge Campillo, the fourth Braves reliever to pitch in the inning, who tagged the bag in front of Howard for the second out of the inning, as Rollins scored the go ahead run, giving the Phils their first lead of 2009, 11-10. Victorino and Utley both moved up a base on the play. Werth ended the inning by flying out to right. The Phils sent thirteen men to the plate, as they scored eight runs in the inning on four hits, five walks and a hit batter. Ryan Madson took over in the top of the eighth, pitching a strong 1-2-3 inning, throwing only seven pitches. The Phils added an insurance run in their half of the eighth, as Eric Bruntlett, pinch hitting for Madson, hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Ibanez, who had earlier walked and had gone to third on Feliz’s double, with nobody out, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge took the mound. Although he gave up a one-out solo home run to Diaz, his first home run of the season, Lidge recorded his first save of the 2009 season, as he struck out pinch hitter Garret Anderson for the final out, for the moment staying perfect in save opportunities as a Phil.

Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he got pummeled by the Braves, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out six in four innings of work. J.A. Happ pitched two innings, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, while he struck out two Braves. Chad Durbin pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and three walks. Clay Condrey received the win as he pitched a third of an inning, striking out the one man he would face. His record for 2009 is 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, as he held the lead. Brad Lidge recorded his first save of the season as he pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, as he struck out one. Javier Vazquez also received a no-decision, as he pitched six innings for the Braves, giving up just three runs on five hits and four walks, as he struck out five batters. Eric O’Flaherty followed him, pitching only a third of an inning, as he gave up two runs on one hit. Peter Moylan pitched to four batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up four runs on two hits and two walks. Blaine Boyer took the lost as he faced only two batters, with both of them scoring, as he gave up two runs on no hits and two walks. Jorge Campillo blew the save, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, in two-thirds of an inning. Jeff Bennett pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had eleven hits in the game, with Victorino, Utley, Ibanez and Feliz each getting two hits. Howard, Ruiz and Coste had the other three hits. Ibanez knocked in three runs, Utley brought home two, while Feliz, Stairs, Coste, Rollins, Victorino, Howard and Bruntlett each knocked in a run, with Bruntlett’s coming in on a sacrifice fly. The Phillies collected five extra-base hits in the game, three doubles (Howard, Utley and Feliz), a triple (Victorino) and a home run (Ibanez). After three games, Utley leads the team in hitting with a .364 batting average, followed by Ruiz with a pleasently surprising .333 average.

The Phils (1-2) are off today. Their next game will be on the road against the Colorado Rockies (2-1) in Denver, Colorado, at Coors Field. The game will start at 2:10 pm Mountain Time tomorrow afternoon. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace, Cole Hamels, who ended 2008 with a record of 14-10 in 33 starts with an ERA of 3.09 in the regular season. His record for this season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Rockies will oppose him with Jason Marquis, who last season had a record of 11-9 for the Chicago Cubs, with an ERA of 4.53 in 29 games (28 of which were starts). His record for this season is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phillies will be trying to even their season record tomorrow.

Phils have now dropped two in a row as the bats are unable to knock in a run as they lose to the Braves, 4-0.

The Phillies have lost their second straight game in the young season as the bats resurrect a major problem from last season, the inability to knock in runs after putting men in scoring position.

Jamie Moyer, starting the game for the Phils, ran into trouble early, as Braves’  lead-off man Kelly Johnson, hammers his first pitch, a cutter, into the right field seats, for his first home run of the season, giving Atlanta a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, Chipper Jones, who had earlier reached second on a double with one man out, scored from second base on a Chase Utley fielding error of a Brian McCann grounder, making it 2-0 Braves. The Braves added a run in the fourth inning, as, with runners on first and third, with two outs, Kelly Johnson singled in Jeff Francoeur, who had earlier singled and had reached third on an infield single by Casey Kotchman that Jimmy Rollins was unable to make a play on, increasing Atlanta’s lead to 3-0. The next batter, Yunel Escobar, followed with a single to left, but a strong throw from Raul Ibanez to home plate would cut down Kotchman, as Carlos Ruiz successfully blocked home plate before supplying the tag, for the inning’s final out. Then in the fifth, Jones knocked in the Braves’ final run of the evening as he hit Moyer’s first pitch, another cutter, deep into left field for his first home run of the year, and the Braves’ fifth homer of the young season. The Phillies’ bullpen then took over in the sixth, and, like it did on Sunday night, it would shut down the Braves’ offense for the rest of the night. Meanwhile, the Phillies were not having any luck with either Jair Jurrjens or the Braves’ bullpen. Although they would get a few men into scoring position, they would be unable to get the key hit that they needed to bring them home as they ended up being six-hit by Atlanta.

Jamie Moyer took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and two walks, as he struck out two. His record is now 0-1 with an ERA of 7.20. Chan Ho Park pitched an inning of relief, giving up no hits. Jack Taschner followed him, pitching two straight 1-2-3 innings. Clay Condrey also pitched a 1-2-3 inning, with two strike outs, as the bullpen has so far pitched seven shut out innings, giving up no hits or walks. Jair Jurrjens picked up the win for the Braves, as he went five and two-thirds shut out innings, scattering four hits, along with three walks, while striking out two. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Jeff Bennett then followed him in relief, giving up a hit to the only batter that he would face. Eric O’Flaherty then came in and pitched an inning and a third of shut out ball, giving up a hit. Rafael Soriano and Mike Gonzalez then came in to each pitch a scoreless inning, with Soriano striking out a batter.

Among the Phillies batters, Utley and Ryan Howard would each get two hits in the game, all singles. Ibanez and Ruiz had the Phils other two hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, the Phils only extra-base hit of the night. The Phils also had four walks, But, they were unable to knock in any runs, as they left eleven men on base, going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, a major problem for the team last season.

The Phillies (0-2) will conclude their short three-game home stand with the Braves (2-0) later this afternoon, as the Phillies receive their World Series rings. The game will begin at 3:05 pm Eastern time at Citizens Bank Park, with the ring ceremony to be performed at 2:15 pm. Starting for the Phillies will be Joe Blanton, who last year went 4-0 for the Phils (9-12 overall) with a 4.20 ERA. His record for the 2009 season is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. His opponent will be Javier Vazquez, who in 2008 went 12-16 for the Chicago White Sox with a 4.67 ERA. This season his record is presenty 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Phils will be looking to salvage a win at home before they go on the road for their first road trip of the young season, meeting the Rockies in Colorado for three weekend games and then going on to Washington, D.C. to face the Nationals for three games at the start of next week.

Opening Night falls flat for the world champs as they lose to the Braves, 4-1.

First, the answer to last week’s trivia question, which no one even attempted to answer. First, the question: Name the first ex-Phil to be elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame? And the answer is: Nap Lajoie is the first ex-Phil to be elected into the Baseball Hal of Fame, as he was elected as a member of the 1937 class, receiving 168 votes or 83.58% of the vote in the second Hall of Fame election, being that year’s highest vote getter. Nap was a member of the Phils for four years, 1896-1900. A new weekly trivia question will be asked at the bottom of this post.

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The 2009 regular season started last night as the 2008 World Champions Philadelphia Phillies faced one of their oldest rivals, the Atlanta Braves, in a night game at Citizens Bank Park, which included the raising of the 2008 banner and fireworks, as the Phils wore their special opening night uniforms with gold trim and the 2008 World Series patch.

Sadly, during the game itself, all of the fireworks were on the Atlanta Braves’ side as they torched Phils’ starter Brett Myers for four runs, via three home runs, in the first two innings. Things looked very promising for Myers as he easily got out the first two batters that he faced, via a fly out to center and a 6-3 ground out. Then Chipper Jones, with the count 3-2, hit a single to left, getting the first hit of the 2009 season. The next batter, Brian McCann then hit a 2-0 pitch into deep right field for a two-run home run, the first home run of the new season, as the Braves took a quick 2-0 lead. In the second, the Braves added to their lead as Jeff Francoeur hit his first home run of the year, a rocket into the left field seats, making it 3-0 Atlanta. One batter later, Jordan Schafer, in his first major league at-bat, made it 4-0 Braves as he slugged a 3-1 fastball into center field. Myers would settle down after that, giving up only five more hits as he pitched a total of six innings. While the Braves were raining on Myers’ parade, Derek Lowe was expertly handcuffing the Phils, giving up only two hits in his eight strong innings of work, a one-out ground-rule double to Carlos Ruiz in the third inning, the first Phillies’ hit of the season, who was then left stranded on second, and a two-out single to Jimmy Rollins in the sixth, who was then left on first as Jayson Werth lined out right to Lowe to end the inning. The Phils would finally score a run in the ninth inning, getting it off of reliever Mike Gonzalez. Pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett started the inning off with a pinch hit double. Rollins then flied out to right, sending Bruntlett over to third with one out. The next batter, Werth, then singled sharply to left, scoring Bruntlett, collecting the first Phillies RBI of the season, making it a 4-1 Braves’ lead. Chase Utley followed with a walk, sending Werth over to second, and bringing up the tying run to the plate in the person of Ryan Howard. Howard, who had been given a steady diet of off-speed pitches all night by Lowe, saw five straight sliders from Gonzalez, working the count full. Thus, Howard was caught off-guard when pitch no. six from Gonzalez was a fast ball, the first one he had seen all night, which was sent right down the pike, for a call third strike. Howard was followed by Raul Ibanez, who, like Howard, was looking for his first hit of the year, and seeing if he could help his new team out early in the season. Sadly, it was not to be, as he struck out, swinging, on a 3-2 fastball, ending the ballgame as a 4-1 Braves’ victory.

Brett Myers, in his six innings of work, gave up four runs on eight hits, including three home runs, and a walk while striking out six. His regular season record is now 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA. Jack Taschner, pitching in his first official game as a Phil, pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he struck out a batter. Scott Eyre followed him for two-thirds of an inning, recording a strikeout. Chad Durbin then pitched the final third of an inning, striking out the only batter he would face. Brad Lidge pitched the ninth for the Phils, pitching a 1-2-3 inning, including a strikeout. Derek Lowe pitched eight strong innings for the Braves, staying out of trouble all night, as he gave up only two hits to the Phils as he struck out four. His record is now 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA. Mike Gonzalez pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits and a walk, while getting two very important strike outs to end the game.

At this point, Eric Bruntlett is leading the team in batting with a 1.000 batting average, as he went 1 for 1 with a double. Carlos Ruiz follows at .333, as he went 1 for 3 on the night with a ground-rule double.  Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth follow with both men going 1 for 4 for a .250 batting average, with Werth having the Phils’, at the moment, only RBI of the season.

The short series will continued tomorrow night at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ageless wonder Jamie Moyer, who record is presently 0-0 with a -.– ERA. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens, who’s record is also 0-0 with a -.– ERA.

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Now, here is this week’s trivia question: Name the first ten Phillies’ Opening Day Pitchers? You all know where to find the answer. The answer will be posted on Thursday.