Tagged: Rick Ankiel

Countdown to the Playoffs, Game # 11: Roy Halladay gets his twentieth victory of the year, as the Phils decrease their magic number to 6, as they defeat the Braves,  5-3.

Roy Halladay becomes the first Phils starter, since Hall of Famer Steve Carlton won 23 in 1982, to win 20 games in a season, as the Phils defeat the Braves, 5-3. The Phils’ lead in the NL East increases to five games, while their magic number falls to six games.

The Phils took the lead in the third as, with two men on, and with one man out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run home run, his twenty-fifth home run of the year, knocking in Placido Polanco, who had earlier walked, and had moved up to second on Chase Utley’s single, and Utley, who had earlier singled, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Braves got a run back in the fifth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Eric Hinske hits an RBI force out, 4-6, knocking in Alex Gonzalez, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Rick Ankiel’s single, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while Ankiel, who had earlier singled, was wiped out at second base. The Braves scored again in the sixth as, with runners on second and third and with nobody out, Derrek Lee hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Martin Prado, who had earlier singled, and had gone to third on Brian McCann’s double, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead, before McCann, who has earlier doubled, is thrown out at third, 8-5, trying to move up to third, on a sacrifice fly-double play, for the second out of the inning. The Phils got the runs back in their half of the sixth as, with two men on base, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits a two-run double, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier walked, and moved up to second on Werth’s single, and Werth, who had just singled, giving the Phils a 5-2 lead. The Braves got a run back in the seventh as, with two men out, pinch hitter Freddie Freeman hits a pinch hit solo home run, the first of his major league career, making it a 5-3 Phils’ lead. That would be the final score as the bullpen would hold down the Braves in the eighth and in the ninth, with Brad Lidge collecting his twenty- fifth save of the year, as he got Ankiel to end the game by poping up to the shortstop for the final out.

Roy Halladay gets the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and two walks, striking out three. His record is now 20-10 with an ERA of 2.53. Ryan Madson collects his fourteenth hold as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out one. Brad Lidge gets his twenty-fifth save of the season as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter. Mike Minor took the lost as he pitches only two and one-third innings, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk. His record is now 3-2 with a 6.18 ERA. Cristhian Martinez and Kyle Farnsworth combines for two and two-thirds scoreless innings, giving up  a hit (Martinez) and two walks (Martinez), while striking out four (Martinez (3), Farnsworth (1)) between them. Michael Dunn pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Peter Moylan, Craig Kimbrel and Jonny Venters combine for two and a third scoreless innings, giving up two hits (Kimbrel (1), Venters (1)), while striking out three (Kimbrel (1), Venters (2)) between them.

 The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Placido Polanco, Chase Utley, Jason Werth, Raul Ibanez and Wilson Valdez leading the team with two hits each, with Polanco, Utley and Valdez’s hits being all singles, with Werth’s hits being a single and a three-run home run, knocking in three runs, and Ibanez’s hits being a pair of doubles, knocking in two runs. Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay had the other two Phil hits, both singles. The Phils’ offense left twelve men on base, failing to cash in on several scoring opportunities, but scoring enough runs to win once again.

The Phils (91-61, 1st) will conclude their series with the Braves (86-66, 2nd) 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 Roy Oswalt (13-13 (7-1), 2.90 (1.94)), who is coming off a win against the Nats on September 17, as he went six innings, giving up a run on six hits and a walk, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 9-1 rout. In his last three starts, his record is 3-0 as he had pitched twenty-two innings, giving up five runs on sixteen hits and three walks, while striking out twenty. He will be trying to lead the Phils to a sweep of the Braves. The Braves will counter with Tommy Hanson (10-11, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Mets on September 17, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out four, in the Braves’ 6-4 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-1 with a no-decision, as he had pitched nineteen innings, giving up twelve runs, nine of which were earned, on fourteen hits and three walks, while striking out thirteen. He will be trying to help the Braves avoid the sweep. The Phils will be trying to sweep the Braves, to extend their lead in the NL East to six games and set things up for an early clinching.

A late explosion leads to a Phils win as the Phillies crushed the Cardinals, 14-6

One day after seeing J.A. Happ lose his first game because of a lack of offense, the Phils’ bats had a late innings uprising as the Phils crush the redbirds, 14-6, winning the season series and evening the present series at one win apiece. The Phils increased their lead to six and a half games over both the Marlins and Braves as both teams lose their games.

The Phils took a quick lead in the first as, with two men on, and two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled and had gone to second on Chase Utley’s walk, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Utley, who had just walk, over to third. Two batters later, with the bases loaded, as Jayson Werth was walked, moving Ibanez up to second base, Pedro Feliz hits a two-run single, scoring both Utley and Ibanez, making it a 3-0 Phils’ lead, while sending Werth over to third. The Cardinals then began to chip away at the lead. In the second, Ryan Ludwick made it a 3-1 Phils’ lead by hitting a lead-off home run, his seventeenth home run of the season. The Cards would then make it 3-2 in the fourth as, with runners on the corners and nobody out, Rick Ankiel hits a grounder to first for the inning’s first out, 3-unassisted. After he had looked Matt Holliday, who had earlier doubled and had gone to third on Ludwick’s single, back, Ryan Howard tried to throw to Jimmy Rollins so that he could double up Ludwick with a tag. Unfortunately, because of how Ludwick was running on the inside of the base path, Howard threw it too far to avoid hitting him, thus committing a throwing error, allowing Ludwick to be safe at second and Holliday to score. The Cardinals then tied the score up at three-all in the fifth as, with a runner on second, and one man out, Julio Lugo hits an RBI double, knocking in Skip Schumaker, who had earlier doubled. In the sixth, the Cardinals took the lead as, with one man out, Ankiel hits a solo home run, his seventh home run of the season, making it 4-3 Cardinals. The Phils then struck back in their half of the sixth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Werth, a single by Feliz, moving Werth up to second, and a walk to pinch hitter Greg Dobbs, moving up a base both Werth and Feliz, and with two men out, Jimmy Rollins hits a grand slam home run, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Werth, Feliz and Dobbs before him, giving the Phils a 7-4 lead. Victorino followed him with a solo home run, his seventh home run of the year, making it an 8-4 Phils’ lead. The Cardinals would get a run back in the seventh as, with two men on, and two men out, Holliday hits an RBI double, knocking in Schumaker, who had reached base earlier on Howard’s second error of the game, and then moved up to second on Albert Pujols’ single, making it an 8-5 Phils’ lead, while sending Pujols, who had singled earlier, over to third. The Phils then proceeded to put the game away in their half of the seventh. With two men on, and one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, knocking in Werth, who had earlier singled, moved up to second as Feliz was hit by the pitch, and then stole third, making it 9-5 Phils, while Feliz moved up to second. Two batters later, now with two men out, Rollins hits an RBI double, knocking in Feliz, who had gone to third on pinch hitter Matt Stairs’ force out, 4-6, wiping out Ruiz at second, giving the Phillies a 10-5 lead, while sending Stairs on to third. Victorino followed with a two-run single, scoring both Stairs and Rollins, making it a 12-5 Phils’ lead. Two batters later, with two men on, as Utley got on base with a walk, moving Victorino up to second, Howard joined the hit parade by hitting a two-run double, scoring both Victorino and Utley, as the Phils batted around. The Cardinals scored one last run in the ninth as, with a runner on third and noone out, Pujols hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Lugo, who had earlier tripled. That would be the final score as Steven Register finally ended the game by getting Mark DeRosa to pop out to Rollins with runners on the corners and two men out.

Rodrigo Lopez got the win, as he pitched six innings, giving up four runs, three of which were earned, on ten hits and a walk, while he struck out only two batters. His record is now 3-0 with a 3.09 ERA. Chan Ho Park pitched a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits, while he struck out two. Steven Register pitched two innings, giving up a run on three hits and a walk, as he struck out a batter. Kyle Lohse pitched a no-decision, as he gave up three runs on four hits and three walks, while he struck out three, in only four innings of work. Trever Miller pitched an inning and a third, giving up only a hit, as he struck out a batter. Jason Motte committed his third blown save of the year as he took the lost, as he pitched only a third of an inning, giving up five runs on four hits and two walks. His record is now 3-4 with an ERA of 5.70. Dennys Reyes pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Josh Kinney pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on four hits and a walk, as he struck out one. Brad Thompson pitched an inning and a third, giving up only one hit.

The Phillies’ bats erupted for fourteen hits, with Shane Victorino leading the way with four hits, with one of them being a solo home run, as he knocked in three runs, raising his batting average to .318. Jimmy Rollins, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz followed with two hits apiece, with one of Rollins’ hits being a double, while another was a grand slam home run, as he knocked in five runs, his career high, while Ibanez plated an RBI, and Feliz knocked in two. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Carlos Ruiz each had a hit, as Howard’s hit was a double, knocking in two runs. Ruiz knocked in the Phils’ other run, as the offense erupted for eleven runs in the sixth and seventh innings. They will now be going for the series win this afternoon.

The Phillies (55-40, 1st National League East), will conclude their home stand with an afternoon game against the Cardinals (53-47, 1st National League Central). The game will start at 1:35 pm Eastern and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils’ starter will be Joe Blanton (6-4, 4.24), who is coming off a no-decision against the Cubs on July 21, as he pitched seven innings, giving up only one run on five hits, while he struck out five, in the Phils’ 4-1 win. He will be going for his seventh win while trying to end the present home stand on a winning note. The Cards will counter with Todd Wellemeyer (7-8, 5.68), who is coming off a lost against the Astros on July 21, as he pitched only four and one-third innings, giving up five runs, four of which were earned, on seven hits and a walk, as he struck out four, in the Cards’ 11-6 lost. He will be trying to even up his record while trying to keep the Cardinals in first place in the NL Central. The Phils will be going for the series win, and end a successful home stand on a high note before they head out west.

Happ is saddled with first career loss as the Phillies are outslugged by the Cardinals, 8-1.

J.A. Happ loses his first career start, thanks to the Cardinals’ hitter being lucky with their hits as the Phils lose to the redbirds, 8-1. Their lead over the Braves and the Marlins is now at five and a half games as both teams win their games.

The Cardinals took a 1-0 lead in the second as, with a runner on third, and two men out, Rick Ankiel hits an RBI single, scoring Matt Holliday, who had earlier hit an infield single, stole second base and then moved on to third on Ryan Ludwick’s ground out, 6-3. The game, after a rain delay, became a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter J.A. Happ and Cardinals’ starter Joel Pineiro until the sixth inning, when the Cardinals were able to beat up on Happ with bleeders. The Cardinals increased their lead as, with two men on, and nobody out, Holliday hits an RBI single, knocking in Mark DeRosa, who had earlier singled, and had gone to second on Albert Pujols’ single, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead, while sending Pujols to third. One batter later, Ryan Ludwick made it 3-0 Cards as he hits an RBI single, knocking in Pujols. On the play, Holliday is thrown out at third for the inning’s first out, 7-5, as he tried to move up to third, while Ludwick would move up to second base on the throw. Yadier Molina would make it a 4-0 Cardinals’ lead with an RBI single, scoring Ludwick. Ankiel made it a 5-0 Cards’ lead with an RBI double, knocking in Molina, before Ankiel would move up to third on the throw to the plate. The redbirds would make it 6-0 in the seventh as, with a man on third, and noone out, DeRosa hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Julio Lugo, who had earlier tripled. The Cards made it 7-0 as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Pujols, a double by Holliday, that sent Pujols to third base, and a walk to Molina, with two men out, Ankiel hits an RBI single, knocking in Pujols, while moving both Holliday and Molina up a base. The Phils would finally score in the bottom half of the seventh, as, with a runner on third and two men out, Jayson Werth, who had earlier singled, had moved up to second on Pedro Feliz’s single, and had gone to third on Carlos Ruiz’s double play ball, 6-4-3, wiping out Feliz at second base, would score on a wild pitch, with Matt Stairs batting, making it 7-1 Cardinals. In the eighth, Lugo, with one man out, would make it 8-1 Cards by hitting a solo home run, his second home run of the year. That would be the final score as the Phils would be unable to do anything in their last two times at-bat.

J.A. Happ took the lost, the first one of his young career, as he pitched six innings, giving up five runs on ten hits, while he struck out six. His record is now 7-1 as his ERA rises to 2.97. Tyler Walker pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks. Andrew Carpenter also pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, while he struck out one. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Joel Pineiro got the win as he also went six innings, giving up just four hits and a walk, while striking out three. His record is now 9-9, with an ERA of 2.95. Kyle McClellan pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits, a walk and a wild pitch, as he struck out three. Dennys Reyes pitched a third of an inning, giving up two hits. Jason Motte pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out the two batters that he would face. Brad Thompson pitched a scoreless inning, as he hit a batter and another reached base on an error before he recorded the game’s final out.

The Phils had eight hits in the game, with Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard and Carlos Ruiz leading the team with two hits each. Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz would get the other two Phils’ hits. The Phils had no RBIs as their only run came in on a wild pitch. The Phils were unable to knock in a run, although they had several scoring attempts.

The Phillies (54-40, 1st National League East) will continue their three-games series with the Cardinals (53-46, 1st National League Central) with an afternoon game that will be televised nationally by Fox Sports. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 4:05 pm. Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Rodrigo Lopez (2-0, 2.60), who is coming off a win against the Cubs on July 20, as he pitched six innings, giving up a run on five hits and three walks, as he struck out five, in the Phils’ 10-1 win. He will be trying for his third win, hoping to make things difficult for the Phils when Pedro Martinez has finished with his rehab assignment. The Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse (4-6, 4.21), who is coming off a lost against the Astros, as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on five hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Cards’ 3-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record and end his personal three games losing streak, while trying to continue his good record against the Phils. The Phils will be out to tie the series, while putting up a winning home stand before they go out once more onto the road.

Howard’s second grand slam of the year help to propel the Phils to a 6-1 win over the Cardinals.

Ryan Howard hits his second grand slam of the season, which placed him in a first place tie with Mike Schmidt for the most career grand slams hit by a Phil with seven each, help propel the Phils to a 6-1 win over the Central Division-leading Cardinals, as Joe Blanton collected his first victory of the 2009 season.

The Cardinals took a quick 1-0 lead in the third, as, with a runner on second, and two outs, Joe Thurston hits an RBI ground rule double, scoring Cardinals’ starter Kyle Lohse, who had earlier reached first base after being hit by the pitch, and had moved on to second on Skip Schumaker’s ground out, 1-3. The Phils took in the lead in the fourth, as, with one man on, and nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a two-run home run, his third home run of the year, knocking in Ryan Howard, who had earlier singled, making it 2-1 Phillies. In the fifth, with the bases loaded, via singles to Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino and Chase Utley being hit by the pitch, and with only one out, Howard drilled a 1-1 slider into right field for a grand slam home run, his fifth home run of the year, his second grand slam of the season, and the seventh of his career, knocking in Rollins, Victorino and Utley, as the Phils took a 6-1 lead. The Cardinals would threathen to get back into the ballgame in the bottom of the sixth, as they loaded up the bases via a walk to Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel being hit by the pitch and Yadier Molina reaching base on a fielder’s choice grounder to Pedro Feliz, who was unable to throw out Ankiel at second base, with only one man out. But Blanton would get out of the jam by first striking out Tyler Greene swinging on a 3-2 fastball for the inning’s second out, and then getting pinch hitter Brian Barden to hit into a 6-4 force out at second base, wiping out Molina. That would be it for the Cardinals as the Phillies’ bullpen would take over and allow only two Cardinals’ batters to reach base during the last three innings. Meanwhile, in the eighth, Ankiel would be taken out of the game, after having make a catch of a fly ball hit by Feliz, as he tripped on his feet and ended up slamming into the outfield wall, head first. He would be driven out of the ballgame, giving a thumbs up to the fans signalling that he was okay. Hopefully, he is, as X-rays and a CT scan taken later has both proven negative.

Joe Blanton took the win, as he pitched six strong innings, giving up a run on four hits, two walks and two hit batters, while striking out three. His record is now 1-2 with an ERA of 6.84. Scott Eyre, Ryan Madson and Chad Durbin then came in to pitch three scoreless innings, giving up only one hit (Eyre) and a hit batter (Durbin). Kyle Lohse took the lost, as he was able to go only four and a third innings, giving up six runs on seven hits, two walks and a hit batter, while he struck out four. His record is now 3-1 with a 3.22 ERA. Trever Miller pitched a third of an inning, giving up no hits, while he struck out a batter. Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Denny Reyes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit, as he struck out two. Kyle McClellan pitched a third of an inning, striking out the only man he would face. Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson would each pitch a scoreless inning, with each pitcher striking out a batter.

The Phillies had eight hits in the game, with Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard both leading the team with two hits each. Werth’s hits would be a double and a two-run home run, raising his batting average to .262, while Howard’s hits would be a single and a grand slam home run, raising his average to .293. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz would get the other four Phillies’ hits, all singles. Werth (2) and Howard (4) would collect the Phils six RBIs.

The Phillies (13-10, 2nd National League East) will conclude their two-games series with the Cardinals (17-9, 1st National League Central), in St. Louis. The game will be played tonight at Busch Stadium (III) and will begin at 8:15 pm Eastern (7:15 pm Central). The Phils will send to the mound Brett Myers (1-2, 4.83), who is coming off a lost to the Nationals on April 29, where he went six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Phillies’ 4-1 lost. He will be trying to even up his record, while also going for his fourth straight quality start. His opponent will be Adam Wainwright (3-0, 2.76), who is coming off a win against the Braves, also on April 29, as he pitched six innings, giving up just two runs on seven hits and five walks, while striking out two, in the Cardinals’ 5-3 win. He will be going for his fourth win of the year. The Phillies will be trying to leave St. Louis with a series sweep, before going on to New York for their first visit to the new Citi Field. 

Phillies rally late, hang on to beat the Cardinals,  5-4.

Brett Myers pitches his second straight strong outing, while the Phillies rally late to score four runs in the eight to take the lead, then they would hang on to win, as the Phillies defeat the Cardinals, 5-4. With the win, they would increase their lead in the East to two and a half games as the Marlins lose to the Rockies. The Cardinals would score the first run in the second, as Troy Glaus would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Ludwick, who has doubled earlier, to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. The Cardinals would increase their lead to 2-0 when Ludwick would hit a solo home run in the fourth, his twenty-seventh home run of the year. The Phillies would cut the Cardinals’ lead to 2-1 in the sixth, as Chase Utley would hit a solo home run of his own, his twenty-eighth home run of the year. The Phillies would finally light up the Cardinals’ bullpen in the top of the eighth. With one out, and Kyle McClellan pitching, Jayson Werth would get on base with a single. McClellan would be replaced by Jaime Garcia. He would get Utley to hit into a force out, first to the shortstop, wiping out Werth at second for the second out. Ryan Howard would follow him with a single, sending Utley to second. Garcia is then replaced by Russ Springer. The Phillies would then go to work. Pat Burrell would greet Spriger with a single, scoring Utley and sending Ryan to second to make it 3-2 Cardinals. Shane Victornio would then take Garcia deep with a three-run home run, his tenth home run of the year, to give the Phillies a 5-2 lead. Greg Dobbs would then ground out to end the inning. The Cardinals then try to rally back in their half of the eighth. With one out, Brendan Ryan, who has gotten on base earlier with a pinch hit single, moved to second on a J.C. Romero’s balk, and then went to third on a ground out, would score on a Howard’s fielding error of pinch hitter Nick Stavinoha’s grounder, making it a 5-3 Phillies’ lead. After Romero hits Joe Mather with a pitch to put runners on first and second, he is replaced by Ryan Madson. Madson would then proceed to walk Albert Pujols to load the bases. With Ludwick now batting, Madson would get him to hit into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning, the third one that the Phillies would get in as many innings. In the ninth, the Phillies would give the ball to Brad Lidge to get the save. The first batter he would face, Glaus, would greet him with a solo shot to left for his nineteenth home run of the year, to cut the lead down to 5-4. After getting Yadier Molina to fly out, the next three Cardinals would get on base with a single (Aaron Miles), a pinch hit single (Rick Ankiel) and a hit batter (Cesar Izturis) to load the bases, with Joel Pineiro pinch running for Ankiel. But Lidge would then buckle down and strike out Stavinoha and Mather to end the game as he records his twenty-eighth save.

Brett Myers would get a no-decision as he pitches his second straight quality start as he goes six innings, giving up only two earned runs on four hits. Chad Durbin would get the win as he pitch an inning plus a batter, as he gives up an earned run on two hits. His record is now 4-2 with a ERA of 1.77. J.C. Romero would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hit and a hit batter. Ryan Madson would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits and a walk. Brad Lidge would record his twenty-eighth save in as many tries, as he gives up an earned run on three hits and a hit batter, while striking out two. Todd Wellemeyer would also get a no-decision, as he goes six innings plus a batter, giving up an earned run on four hits. Ron Villone would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Kyle McClellan would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit. Jaime Garcia would receive the lost, as he goes a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on a hit. His record is now 0-1 with a ERA of 4.00. Russ Springer would commit his second blown save, as he goes a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Ryan Franklin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hit.

The Phillies’ offense is once again unable to unload on a Cardinals’ starter as Todd Wellemeyer would only give them four hits, although one would be a home run. But they would finally light up on the Cardinals’ weak bullpen, scoring four of their runs in an one inning outburst. In turn, their own bullpen would bend, but refused to break, when the Cardinals tried to regain the lead in the eight and win it in the ninth. It seems to me that it is now more important than ever that they get some help in the bullpen as long as Tom Gordon (who has just perform a minor league rehab stint) and Rudy Seanez (just placed on the DL) are both out. Yo, idiots, unloosen the purse strings, and get some help for the bullpen.

With tomorrow off, the Phillies (61-50) come back home to Philly with a two and a half games lead in the East as the Marlins lose to the Rockies. The Mets now trail by three games as they lost to the Astros. The Braves still trail by ten games as they defeated the Brewers. The Phillies, after coming home from a 5-1 road trip, will try to deliver an early one-two punch to the Marlins as the fish come in to Philadelphia for a three games series starting on Tuesday night.

Phillies end slide, defeating the Cardinals,  4-2.

The Phillies end their four game losing streak, thanks to a good pitching effort by J.A. Happ, and two solo home runs in the eighth inning from Ryan Howard and Pedro Feliz as the Phillies defeat the Cardinals, 4-2. The game started out as a pitchers’ duel between Happ and Cardinals’ reliever Brad Thompson, who was pitching in relief of Mark Mulder, who had left the game in the first inning after hurting his elbow. This would end in the fifth, when, with one out and a runner on first, Jimmy Rollins would hit a RBI triple, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. But Rollins would then be thrown out at the plate on a Shane Victorino fielder’s choice ground ball, shortstop Cesar Izturis to catcher Jason LaRue. Chase Utley would then hit a single, sending Victorino to second base. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single, scoring Victorino, to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. In the seventh, as Happ stayed in the game to try and give the bullpen a rest, started the inning by getting Brendan Ryan to fly out for the first out. Itzuris would then get on base with a single. The next batter, Skip Schumaker, would follow with a ground-rule double, after Victorino tells the umpires that the ball had gotten stuck in the panneling, forcing Itzuris to go back to third. That would be it for Happ, as he is taken out of the ballgame by Charlie Manuel, to a standing ovation from the fans. Manuel replaces Happ with Chad Durbin. Durbin would walk Ryan Ludwick to load the bases. Albert Pujols would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Itzuris, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 2-1. Troy Glaus would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Schumaker, making it two all, while Ludwick and Glaus would both move up a base on the throw to the place. After intenionally walking Rick Ankiel, Durbin would finally end the inning by striking out Joe Mather for the third out. In the eighth, Howard would give the lead back to the Phillies as he would hit his twenty-fifth home run of the year, tying Chase Utley for the major league lead in home runs, a solo shot off of Cardinals’ reliever Kyle McClellan, making it 3-2 Phillies. Three batters later, with two men out, and Chris Perez now pitching for the Cardinals, Pedro Feliz would hit a solo home run, his eleventh home run of the year, to make it 4-2 Phillies. In the ninth inning, Brad Lidge would be sent out to save the game, which he would do, in spite of a attempt to tie the game by the Cardinals, as he would strike out Ankiel with two men on and two outs, to record his twentieth save of the year in twenty tires.

J.A. Happ would pitch an excellent game, although only receiving a no-decision as he goes six and one-third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and striking out five. Chad Durbin would receive his second blown of the season, as he pitches two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Clay Condrey would get the win as he pitches a scoreless, hitless inning as he strikes out the side. His record is now 2-1 with a ERA of 3.82. Brad Lidge would also go one inning, as he gives up no runs on no hits, walking two and striking out two. Mark Mulder would pitch only one third of an inning, walking two hitters and striking out one, before being taken out because of a bad elbow. Brad Thmpson would pitch four and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, getting a no-decision. Russ Springer would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs or hits. Jason Isringhausen would pitch an inning, also giving up no runs or hits. Kyle McClellan would take the lost, pitching an inning plus one batter, while giving up only one earned run on one hit, Ryan Howard’s solo shot. His record is now 1-4 with a 2.74 ERA. Chris Perez would also pitch an inning, also giving up an earned run on one hit, Pedro Feliz’s solo home run.

J.A. Happ has obviously been taking advice from Jamie Moyer, otherwise how else do you explain how he well he was able to keep the redbirds off-balanced until the seventh inning. It’s too bad that Durbin was unable to shut down the Cardinals after being called in to relieve Happ, especially since the Phillies plan to send him back to Lehigh Valley after the All-Star break to bring back Brett Myers. I for one will not be looking forward to that if the youngster continues pitching like a stud. Anyone out there have an idea on how to persuade the powers that be that it would be better for the team to keep the kid in the bigs after this performance? Meanwhile, the Phillies’ offense is still not scoring runs, even if Ryan Howard has just broke a team record of the most RBIs knocked in by a team player before the All-Star break, breaking Greg Luzinski’s old record with his eightieth RBI of the year. The offense really needs to knock in runs with man in scoring positions. Seriously.

The three games series between the Phillies (49-43) and the Cardinals (51-41, 2nd National League Central) will conclude tomorrow afternoon with a Business Person’s Special. The game will start at 1:05 pm Eastern at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (7-6, 4.12), who is coming off a good start against the Mets on July 5, getting a no-decision as he goes six and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phillies’ 9-4 lost. He will once again be trying for his eighth victory of the year, while hoping to help the Phillies win their first series at home since the series against the Reds. Braden Looper (9-6, 4.15), who is coming off a lost against the Cubs on July 4, where he would go seven innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Cardinals’ 2-1 lost. He will be trying once again for his tenth win of the season, while trying to stop the Phillies’ batters.

The Phillies’ victory will keep their lead over both the Marlins and the Mets at a game and a half as they both won their game. The Braves trail the Phillies by six games, as they lost their game to the Dodgers. The Phillies hope to keep their lead over the rest of the Eastern division, while trying to win the last two series on their home stand.

Phillies lose their fourth straight game as the offense vanishes, losing to the Cardinals, 2-0.

Cole Hamels pitches a very good game as he only gives up three hits in seven innings of work. Unfortunately, two of those hits would be solo home runs. And even worst, the Phillies’ offense disappeared completely, as they got only six hits, as they lose their fourth straight game, falling to the Cardinals, 2-0. The game would be a pitchers’ duel between Hamels and Cardinals’ starter, Joel Pineiro, as the Phillies would squander a chance to take the lead in the second, while Hamels would keep the redbirds off-balanced. That is until the fifth, when Hamels gives up a solo home run to Rick Ankiel, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead. One inning later, with two men out, he would give up another solo home run, this one to Ryan Ludwick, his eighteenth home run of the year, to make it 2-0 Cardinals. That would be it, as the Phillies would be unable to mount much of an offense, as the batters would blow a rally in the seventh. Ryan Franklin would pitch the ninth, recording his twelfth save of the year.

Cole Hamels would take the lost, in spite of pitching seven innings of three hit ball as he gives up two earned runs. Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would both pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit each. Joel Pineiro would pitch six and one thirds innings of shut out ball, giving up only five hits. Ron Villone would pitch two-thirds innings of scoreless, hitless pitching. Kyle McClellan would pitch a hitless, scoreless inning. Ryan Franklin would pitch a scoreless night as he gives up only one hit while recording his twelfth save of the year.

Once again, the offense vanishes after showing a sign of life the previous day. This is getting to be a real annoyance. The Phillies are suppose to be one of the best runs producing teams in baseball, but I sometimes wonder if its really is, considering how much they seem to prefer letting their big men do all of their scoring and not even show a willingness to do some small ball. What is it with this team and creating runs when the big men can’t seem to get going? Are they afraid of looking like an ordinary team? If they are, then shame on them. They need to get off their individual high horses and start playing some small ball, and in that way put some pressure on the defense. Otherwise, start saying hello to the Nationals if they keep playing like this.

The Phillies (48-43) continue their three games series with the Cardinals (51-40, 2nd National League Central), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will by rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 3.86), who is coming off a no-decision against the Mets on July 4, where he pitched four and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits, in the Phillies’ 3-2 victory. He will be trying for his first major league victory while seeing if he will be able to pitch good enough to stay in the majors. The Cardinals will counter with rookie Mark Mulder (0-0, 13.50), who is making his first start of the year, after spending time in the bullpen. His last appearace, on July 2 against the Mets, he would only go a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. He will be seeing if he can do well as a starter, while trying to keep the Phillies’ bats quiet.

The lost leave the Phillies with a one game lead over the Marlins, who are presently losing to the Padres. Their lead over the Mets is now at a game and a half as the Mets crushed the Giants. The Phillies lead the Braves by five and a half games, as they are presently involved in a scoreless game with the Dodgers. The Phillies will once again try to find out where their defense have disappeared to so that they can get back to winning and leading their division.

Edit: The Phils lead is still at a game and a half as the Marlins are defeated by the Padres. The defeat now placed the Marlins in a tied for second with the Mets. Wheee I say in sarcastically. Come on offense, wake up, blast it!!!!