A crazy game ended in dramatic fashion as Jeff Francoeur hits into an unassisted triple play, the first time it have ever happened in a National League ballgame and for the second time in Major League history, as the Phils hung on to defeat the Mets, 9-7. The Phils’ lead in the NL East still remains at six-and-a-half games going into this afternoon’s game, as the Braves defeated the Marlins.
The Phils took an early lead in the first as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into left field, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and Shane Victorino, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Phils then increased their lead to 6-0 as, with two men on, and now with two men out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run bomb of his own, also into left field, his eighth home run of the year, knocking in Pedro Feliz, who had earlier walked, and had gone to second base on Eric Bruntlett’s single, and Bruntlett, who was playing second base as Chase Utley was given the day off, who had earlier singled. Then, after Mets’ starter Oliver Perez had thrown three straight balls to Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel had seen enough of ‘Bad’ Perez, and replaced him with Nelson Figueroa, who then struck out Martinez on three pitches to end the inning. The Mets then came back as their lead-off man, Angel Pagan hits an inside-the-park home run, his fourth home run of the year, on a ball that got stuck under the rail in left-center field, which the umpires did not call a ground-rule double because of the stadium’s rule on those kinds of hit balls, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-1. Three batters later, the Mets made it 6-2 Phils as, with a man on base, and with one out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI triple, knocking in Daniel Murphy, who was earlier safe on a force out, 6-4. The Phils then increased their lead in the third as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Raul Ibanez, a single to Feliz, sending Ibanez up to second base, and a single to Bruntlett, sending Ibanez over to third, and Feliz to second, with only one man out, as Martinez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ibanez, and making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead, while sending Feliz on to third, and Bruntlett over to second. Rollins would then make it 8-2 Phils as he hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz from third. The Mets got a run back in their half of the third as Pagan hits a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the season, as he cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-3. Three batters later, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, Cory Sullivan hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier singled, and then went to third on Murphy’s double, making it 8-4 Phils. That would remain the score until the seventh, as Martinez finally settled down in the middle innings. In the seventh, the Mets made it 8-5 as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Murphy hits an RBI single, knocking in Castillo, who had earlier walked, and then stole second. In the eighth, the Phils got that run back as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Matt Stairs, who had earlier reached base on a pinch walk, move up to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third on Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted, scored on a second wild pitch, making it 9-5 Phils. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the eighth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Anderson Hernandez hits an RBI double, knocking in Sullivan, who had earlier singled, and then stole second, making it a 9-6 Phils’ lead. Then, in the ninth, things got even wierder. In the top of the inning, with two men out, Bruntlett hits a fly ball to center field, that Francouer caught as he dived for it, possibly hurting his hand as he did so, but was originally declared a trapped ball, with Bruntlett ending up on third with a triple. But, after Francoeur informed the umpires that he had in fact caught the ball, which would later be backed up by instant replay of the catch, the umpires, after a conference, would reversed the call as the third base umpire, Tim Timmons, had a better view of the play. But, when one of the umpires went to explain their ruling to Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel, it would lead to Charlie being ejected for disputing the call. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Castillo reached base on a Bruntlett fielding error, which allowed Pagan, who had reached base earlier on a three-base error by Ryan Howard on a ball that Howard never touched, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 9-7. The next batter, Murphy, then reached base on an infield single, on a ball that Bruntlett was only able to stop behind second base, allowing Castillo to reach second. Then with Francouer batting, and with the count 2-2, J. Manuel sent both Castillo and Murphy running on the pitch. Francouer then hit a line drive up the middle, pass Phils’ closer Brad Lidge. Bruntlett, who had gone over to second to cover the bag on the back end of the double steal attempt, caught Francouer’s line drive for the first out of the inning, before his momentum caused him to tag second base, doubling up Castillo. Then he went after Murphy, soon tagging him for the third and final out, preserving the Phils’ win, and becoming the first National Leaguer to perform an unassisted triple play which ended a ballgame, and becoming the second major leaguer to do so since Johnny Nuen of the Tigers did it back on May 21, 1927 against the Indians.
Pedro Martinez won the game, going six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 2-0 with an ERA of 5.14. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Ryan Madson also gave up a run, on two hits. Brad Lidge recorded his twenty-fifth save of the season, as he gave up an unearned run on a hit. Oliver Perez took the lost, as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks. His record is now 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA. Nelson Figuera pitched two and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. Pat Misch pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just a hit, as he struck out four. Sean Green pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, two walks and two wild pitches, while he struck out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning.
The Phils had ten hits in the game, with, of all people, Eric Bruntlett, leading the way with thre hits, raising his low average to .154. Next was Jayson Werth with two hits, with one of them being a three-run home run, raising his average to .271. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Martinez had the other five Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ hit being a double and Ruiz’s hit being a three-run home run. Besides the two three-run homers by Werth and Ruiz, Martinez knocked in a run, and Rollins plated a run with a sac fly. The offense took an early lead with a couple of three-run bombs, and then scored enough runs to hang on before Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play finally ended the game.
The Phils (71-50 1st) have just finished their four-games series with the Mets (57-68), with a 6-2 victory behind Cliff Lee, who is now 5-0 since coming from the American League. The Phils’ lead in the National League East is now at seven games as they head to Pittsburgh for a three-games series with the Pirates.
One of the rarest of hitting accomplishments is batting .400 during the regular season. Not done since 1941, when Hall of Famer Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox hit .406 that season, batting .400 has been done only twenty-eight times since 1876. All but six of the men to reach .400 are now members of the Hall of Fame. The first player to do it would be Ross Barnes of the Chicago White Stockings (now the Chicago Cubs), who would bat .429 in the first National League season of 1876, winning the batting title for that year. Hall of Famer Hugh Duffy of the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) would have the highest .400 average, as he would hit .440 in 1894. Fellow Hall of Famer Ty Cobb of the Detroit Tigers would have the lowest .400 batting average, hitting .401 in 1922. Cobb is tied with fellow Hall of Famers Ed Delahanty and Rogers Hornsby for the most times a player would have hit over .400 in his career, with all three men doing it three times a piece.
In the history of the Phillies, four Phils have officially hit .400 or better six times, three times by the above mentioned Delahanty, and once each by fellow Hall of Famers Billy Hamilton and Sam Thompson and Tuck Turner. Delahanty would hit .400 for the first time in 1894, as he would hit .407 that season. Hamilton would also reach .400 for the only time in his carrer that same year as he would bat .404, along with fellow outfielders Thompson (.407) and Turner (.416), being the only outfield in baseball history that would bat over .400 during the same season. None of them would win the batting title that year, as they would all be outhit by Duffy’s .440. Delahanty would hit .400 again in 1895, hitting .404 in 1895. Delahanty would become the last Phil batter to hit over .400, as he would hit .410 in 1899, winning his first batting title in the process. Although Delahanty is listed as the Phil with the highest batting average in the team’s history (his .410 in 1895), Turner’s .416 is recognized by major league baseball as a .400 batting average, although he only played part-time in 1894.
Among the 28 .400 hitters, Phillies are ranked at number 9 (Turner, 1894), 11-T (Delahanty, 1899), 16-T (Thompson, 1894), 18 (Delahanty, 1894), 20 (Hamilton, 1894) and 21 (Delahanty, 1895).
Will another Phil ever reach .400? I seriously doubt it, as such a person would have to avoid running into a major slump during the entire season.
Like hitting for the cycle, pitching a no-hitter, or pitching a perfect game, another rare feat in baseball is hitting four home runs in one game. Even rarer is hitting four home runs in four consecutive at bats. In baseball history, hitting four home runs in one game has been done only fifteen times, making it one of the rarest feats to be performed by a ballplayer. Of those fifteen, three of them have played for the Phillies, one of only two teams, the other one being the Dodgers, to have more than one player in their organization’s history to have perform that particular feat.
The first Phillie player to perform the deed would be the second man to do it in major league history. On Monday, July 13, 1896, Ed Delahanty would have five hits that day, four of which would be home runs, with all of them being inside-the-park home runs, as the Phillies would lose to the Chicago Colts (now the Chicago Cubs), 9-8, at West Side Park (II) in Chicago. In peforming his feat, Delahanty would become the first and, so far, the only player in major league history to hit four inside-the-park home runs. He would also become the first player to hit four home runs in a losing cause, a feat that would not be equalled until Bob Horner of the Atlanta Braves would equal it on Sunday, July 6, 1986, as the Braves would lose to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), 11-8. The second Phil to hit four home runs in one game would be the fourth major leaguer to do the deed. Chuck Klein would hit four home runs on Friday, July 10, 1936, as he would lead the Phils to a 9-6 extra-innings (10) victory over the Phillies’ cross-state rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The third, and last Phillie batter to perform the dead would be the tenth player to do the deed, as well as also being the fourth player in major league history to hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats. At Wrigley Field in Chicago, on Saturday, April 17, 1976, Mike Schmidt would lead the Phillies to a wild extra-innings (10) victory over the Cubs, leading the team back from a 12-1 defecit to an 18-16 victory over their old rival, as his fourth and final home run, a three-run shot, would seal the win. (Here’s the boxscore of that game, with the play-by-play, courtesy of retrosheet.org: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1976/B04170CHN1976.htm.
All three Phils would perform their deeds on the road, twice in Chicago and once in Pittsburgh. Of the three, Delahanty would be the only one who did not perform his deed in an extra-innings game. In those three games, the Phillies are 2-1. Also, the deed has so far never been performed against the Phillies. And lastly, all three Phillies who have performed the feat are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sources: Wikipedia, Retrosheet.org
As mentioned in a previous article, there are several feats in baseball which is rare for baseball players to accomplish. Hitting for the cycle is one. Another is throwing a no-hitter. Throwing a perfect game is rarer still. In Major League Baseball History, as of 2008, there has been thrown only 256 no-hitters, of which only 1 has been perfect games. Four teams have so far not been able to throw a no-hitter, those teams being the New York Mets, the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies and the Tampa Bay Rays. In Phillies’ team history, Phil pitchers have thrown only nine no-hitters, including one perfect game, while being the victim eighteen times, as well as being the victim in five other games that are now no longer considered no-hitters because of a rule change made in 1991 in which a no-hitter is now considered, “An official no-hit game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings.” The five that are no longer considered no-hitters were games that were stopped before being able to reach the now official nine innings, mainly because of either rain (or pre-1930s, because of the game being called because of darkness.) At this moment, I will concentrate on the nine no-hitters thrown by Phillies’ pitchers.
The first Phillies’ no-hitter would be thrown on Saturday, August 29, 1885, by Charlie Ferguson, as he would defeat Dupee Shaw of the Providence Grays, 1-0, at Recreation Park. The second Phillies’ no-hitter would occur on Friday, July 8, 1898, as Red Donahue would defeat the Boston Beaneaters, 5-0, at National League Park, aka Baker Bowl. The next Phillies’ no-hitter would be the first one thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 20th century as Chick Fraser would no-hit the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, 10-0, on Friday, September 18, 1903, at the second ballpark that the Cubs would name West Side Park, in the second game of a doubleheader split between the two old rivals. No-hitter number four would occur on Tuesday, May 1, 1906, in Brooklyn, as Johnny Lush would defeat the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) at the second part that Brooklyn would call Washington Park, 6-0. The fifth Phillies no-hitter would not occur until Sunday, June 24, 1964 when Hall of Famer Jim Bunning would throw his father’s day perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, winning 6-0. This would be the junior senator from Kentucky second no-hitter, as he threw an earlier one in 1958 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. The next no-hitter recorded by a Phillies’ pitcher would occur over seven years later, on Wednesday, June 23, 1971, as Rick Wise would help his own cause by hitting two home runs in a 4-0 defeat of Ross Grimsley of the Cincinnati Reds, in Cincinnati, at Riverfront Stadium. Phillies no-hitter number seven would be the first no-hitter to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Terry Mulholland would defeat Don Robinson of the San Francisco Giants 6-0, on Wednesday, August 15, 1990. No-hitter number eight, the last Phillies’ no-hitter of the 20th Century, would be the only no-hitter so far pitch outside of the U.S. by a Phillies’ pitcher as Tommy Greene would throw a no-no against the Montral Expos at Olympic Stadium, on Thursday, May 23, 1991, defeating Oil Can Boyd, 2-0. The Phillies’ ninth and most recent no-hitter, would also be the first no-no to be thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 21st Century, as well as the second and last one to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Kevin Millwood would defeat the Giants and Jesse Foppert, 1-0, on Sunday, April 27, 2003.
Phillies’ pitchers have thrown two no-hitters in the 19th Century, six in the 20th and one so far in the 21st Century. Of the nine no-hitters, four have been thrown in Philadelphia, one each has so far occurred in Chicago, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Two no-hitters were thrown at Veterans Stadium, with one each being thrown at Recreation Park, National League Park (Baker Bowl), West Side Park (II), Washington Park (II), Shea Stadium, Riverfront Stadium and Olympic Stadium. The main victim has so far been the San Francisco Giants, who have been no-noed twice, with the now defunct Providence Grays, Braves (as the Boston Beaneaters), Cubs, Dodgers (as the Brooklyn Superbas), Mets, Reds and the Nationals (as the Montreal Expos) being the victim one time each. Only one of the pitchers to throw a Phillies’ no-hitter, Jim Bunning, is now a member of the Hall of Fame.
Who will be the next Phillies’ pitcher to no-hit an opponent? No idea at this point in time, although the most likely person to do it would be Cole Hamels, the team’s present ace.
Sources: Wikipedia, Phillies.com, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org
There are several things that are rear to do in Baseball. One is to pitch a no-hitter, whether its ends up being a perfect game or not. The other is hitting for the cycle. Of the two feats, hitting for the cycle is a very rare thing to do while being a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, as it has been accomplished only eight times by a Phil, with one player actually doing it twice.
For those of you who might not know what hitting for the cycle is, hitting for the cycle means that in one game, you have hit a single, a double, a triple and a home run, in at least four official at-bats. To date, hitting for the cycle has occurred only 248 times in Major League History. Players playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates have done it the most times with 23, while no players have so far done it for either the San Diego Padres, the Florida Marlins or the Tampa Bay Rays. The last major leaguer to have hit for the cycle has been Adrián Beltré of the Seattle Mariners, who had accomplished the feat on September 1, 2008, just hours after Stephen Drew of the Arizona Diamondbacks had done it.
Among the Phillies, the first one to hit for the cycle would be Lave Cross, who would perform the feat on April 24, 1894, in a 4-1 win over the Brooklyn Bridegrooms (now the Los Angeles Dodgers). Several months later, on August 17, Sam Thompson would become the second Phillie player to accomplish the feat, doing it during a 29-4 rout of the Louisville Colonels (Yes, Louisville, Kentucky, actually had a major league franchise before the start of the 20th Century.). It would be 33 years before the third Phillie to hit for the cycle, Cy Williams, who would win the National League home run title that same year, would do the deed, performing it on August 5, 1927, in a 9-7 victory over the Pirates. The fourth Phillie to hit for the cycle, Chuck Klein, would perform it on July 1, 1931, in a 11-6 win over the Chicago Cubs. Less than two years later, Klein would become the only Phillie player to perform the deed twice, as he would hit for the cycle again on May 26, 1933, during the year he would win the NL triple crown (batting average, home runs, RBIs), doing it in a 5-4 lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. The sixth Phil to join the club would be Johnny Callison, who would accomplish the deed on June 27, 1963, over 30 years after Klein’s second performance, doing it in a 13-4 rout of the Pirates. It would be another 32 years before the next Phil, Greg Jefferies, would hit for the cycle, doing it on August 24, 1995, during a 7-6 win over the Dodgers. The most recent Phillie player to do it, David Bell, would did it on June 28, 2004, in a 14-6 victory over the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Senators).
In the eight times that a Phil has hit for the cycle, the Phillies have won all but one of those games. The team that the cycle has been done against the most has been the Dodgers and the Pirates, who have both been on the wrong end twice, while the Louisville Colonels, the Cubs, the Cardinals (the only team to win when a Phil hit for the cycle) and the Nationals (as the Expos), have been the other four. Two Hall of Famers, Sam Thompson and Chuck Klein (who did it twice) have both hit for the cycle while being a Phil.
When will another Phil hit for the cycle? Your guess is as good as mines.
Sources: Wikipedia, Baseball Almanac.com