After being quiet for the last three days, the Phillies’ offense would finally come alive as the Phillies crush the Nationals in the series finale at Nationals Park, 12-2. Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Pedro Feliz would lead the charge as they each would go 3 for 5. The Phils’ offense would hit a total of eight extra base hits, four doubles and four home runs, with Ryan Howard getting two homers, his first two home runs game of the year. Howard would also get four RBIs. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Chris Coste would each get two hits in the game, as the Phillies’ offense would have fifteen hits and bat around for one inning.
The Phils would start their scoring off in the first inning, with Ryan Howard getting a RBI double off of Nationals’ starter, and losing pitcher, Matt Chico, knocking in Shane Victorino, who has earlier doubled, giving the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. The Phils would make it 2-0 in the second as Pedro Feliz hit a solo home run, his seventh home run of the season. The Phillies would increase their lead to 4-0 in the fifth, on a pair of solo home runs by Victorino, hitting his second home run of the year, and Howard, hitting his eleventh. The Phils would then bust the game wide open in the sixth. The inning would start with Jesus Colome, who was relieving Chico, striking out Jayson Werth. Feliz and Chris Coste would then get on base with a pair of singles, and after they both moved up a base after a Colome’s wild pitch, Jamie Moyer would walk, loading the bases. Jimmy Rollins then hits a RBI single, scoring Feliz, making it 5-0 Phils, as the bases remain loaded. Victorino would then hit a RBI single to right, knocking in Coste, Moyer and Rollins, giving the Phils a 8-0 lead, while he goes to third base on Dmitri Young’s catching error. Chase Utley would then hit a double, scoring Victorino, increasing the Phillies lead to 9-0. That would be it for Colome, as the Nationals would replace him with Chris schroder. Howard would immediately greet Schroder with a first pitch home run to right center field, his twelfth home run of the year, knocking in Utley, giving the Phils a 11-0 lead. After Pat Burrell flies out to right for the second out of the inning, Werth would come up for the second time in the inning, this time getting on base with a walk. Feliz would then follow with a single, his third hit of the night, moving Werth up to second base. Coste would then follow Feliz with his second single of the inning, scoring Werth to make it 12-0 Phils, while moving Feliz up to third. Moyer would finally end the inning by striking out. In the inning, the Phils would send thirteen men to the plate, scoring eight runs, their most runs for the year since April 3, when they scored six runs, also coming against the Nationals. Meanwhile, as the Phils’ bats were erupting, Jamie Moyer was keeping the Nationals off the scoreboard, as he pitched himself out of several jams during the six innings that he pitched. He would be relieved by Clay Condrey in the seventh, who, with two outs and runners on second and thrid, would give up a RBI single to Ryan Zimmerman, on a ball which glances off his glove, scoring Rob Mackowiak, who has earlier singled, and moving Felipe Lopez, who has earlier doubled, to third. Lopez would then score on a RBI single by Young. Condrey would finally get out of the inning, and then pitch the eighth and ninth innings, giving up only one more hit to the Nats, as he records his first save of the year, as the Phils win 12-2.
Jamie Moyer would get the win, going six innings, as he gives up no runs on seven hits. His record is now 4-3 as his ERA drops to 4.37. Clay Condrey gets the save as he goes three innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits. Matt Chico would take the lost for the Nationals, going five innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. His record drops to 0-6 while his ERA rises to 6.19. Jesus Colome would go only one third of an inning, giving up six earned runs on five hits. Chris Schroder would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Joel Hanrahan would pitch the last two and two-thirds innings for the Nationals, giving up no runs on no hits.
The Phillies (26-22), will now go to Houston to meet the Astros (27-21, 3rd National League Central) to start a four game series in Minute Maid Park. The first game of the four game set will start tonight at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies will start Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 4.76), moving him up a day after having pitch only one inning on May 18 against the Toronto Blue Jays because of the two plus hours rain delay. In that inning, he gave up no hits or runs. His previous outing was a victory against the Braves on May 13, where he pitched six innings, giving up only three earned runs, all given up in the first inning, on six hits, in the Phils’ 5-4 win. He hopes to better his record while continuing to lower his ERA. The Astros will send Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.43) to the mound, who is coming off a lost to the Texas Rangers on May 17, where he went six innings, giving up six earned runs on eleven hits, in the Astros’ 6-2 lost. His previous outing was a win over the Giants on May 12, where he had gone eight innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Astros’ 7-3 win. He hopes to beat the Phils for the second time this season, after having defeated the Figthin’s back on April 16, where he went seven innings, giving up one earned run on five hits, in the Astros’ 2-1 victory over the Phils, which was also Kendrick only career start against the Astros, as he gave up only two earned runs on four hits while also pitching seven innings. Hopefully, while they’re in Houston, the bats will stay awake in the Texas heat.
With the win, the Phillies remain technically tied for second place with the Braves, a game and a half behind the Marlins, who won their game last night with the Diamondbacks. The Phillies are .001 percentage points behind the Braves, who defeated the New York Mets last night, putting both them and the Phils two games ahead of the New Yorkers. As the Phils head for Houston, the Marlins will end their series with the Diamondbacks, while the Mets and Braves will finish their series in Atlanta.
For the second straight game, the Phillies were involved in a shut out. Only this time, they were the ones to come out on top, but just barely, as they defeated the Nationals 1-0. Cole Hamels would pitch seven strong innings, as he gives up no runs to the Nats, on four hits, while striking out eleven batters. Hamels has now pitched nineteen straight scoreless innings, going back to the last three innings of his May 9 start against the Giants. The Phils’ offense has been kept from scoring for just as many innings, not scoring a run for seventeen and two-thirds innings, as it continues, until the top of the ninth, to leave men on base, in this case nine runners, with four of them in scoring position, in the first eight innings, as Tom Bergmann and Saul Rivera would both find ways to keep them from scoring. The Phillies would finally get a run across in the ninth inning, when, with the Nats’ closer Jon Rauch pitching, Pedro Feliz would start the inning off with a double. After Eric Bruntlett comes in to pinch run for Feliz, Carlos Ruiz would sacrifice him over to third, putting the winning run on third base with one out. Greg Dobbs would then come out to pitch hit for Tom Gordon, who has kept the Nationals from scoring in their half of the eighth, keeping the game scoreless. With the count 2-0, Dobbs would hit a blooping single to center field, scoring Bruntlett and giving the Phillies a 1-0 lead. After Jimmy Rollins flies out, Shane Victorino would hit a double to center field. But, Dobbs would be tagged out at home plate, thanks to a strong throw from Lastings Milledge to shortstop Cristian Guzman to catcher Jesus Flores, who would block the plate, thus keeping Dobbs from scoring. This would keep the score 1-0 Phils. Brad Lidge would pitch the bottom of the ninth in relief of Gordon. After striking out the first two batters he faced, he would walk Elijah Dukes with the count full. Dukes would then proceed to steal second and third, before Lidge would walk pitch hitter Rob Mackowiak, also on a full count, giving the Nationals runners on the corners, with the winning run on first. Then on the first pitch to Felipe Lopez, Lopez would hit a grounder to Chase Utley. Utley would bobble the ball before finally throwing out a slow moving Lopez to end the game and preserve the victory for the Phillies as Lidge records his eleventh save in as many tries.
Cole Hamels, with his seven innings of shut out ball, would get a no-decision while dropping his ERA to 2.61. Tom Gordon, pitching an inning of relief, would get the win as he gives up no runs on one hit. His record is now 4-2, with an ERA of 4.26. Brad Lidge records his eleventh save of the year as he goes one full innings, giving up no runs on no hits, striking out two while also walking two. Tom Bergmann would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up no runs while scattering five hits. Saul Rivera would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Jon Rauch would take the lost, giving up an earned run on three hits. His record is now 2-1, with a 2.78 ERA.
The Phils’ offense, expected to be the best run producer in the National League this year, is scoring less runs than expected, while the batters have suddenly stopped getting the key hit. Maybe having the offense play some small ball for a few games might be what the doctor ordered, else the starters will soon find themselves in for a lot of long games without offensive support. And, considering how some of them are pitching right now (I’m talking to you Myers and Eaton), that might end up meaning a bullpen weaken from overwork by September.
The Phillies (25-22) will conclude their trip to the nation’s capitol with a night game tonight from Nationals Park. The game will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (3-3, 4.89), who is coming off of a good outing against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 16, where he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only three earned runs on seven hits, in the Phils’ 10-3 victory. He hopes to improve his record while trying to help the Phils win the series as he pitches in the 46th ballpark in his 22 years career. The Nationals (20-27) will counter with Matt Chico (0-5, 6.07), who they are using in place of Shawn Hill, who has an ailing right elbow. Chico is coming out of the bullpen, where he was demoted after losing five of his six starts earlier this season. Coming out of the bullpen, he would appear in three games, where he would pitch six and one third innings, giving up just one earned run on six hits, as his ERA drops from 6.87 to 6.07. He hopes to win his first start of the year while adding to the Phils’ offensive problems, while the Phils hopes to final break out the bats and start scoring runs.
The Phils’ victory keeps them a game of a half behind the Florida Marlins, who won their game against the Diamondbacks, 3-2. The Phils are technically still tied for second place, but now they are a .001 percentage point behind the Atlanta Braves, who have swept a double header from the New York Mets, by scores of 6-1 and 6-2. The losts put the Mets in fourth place, a game behind both the Phils and the Braves. The Phils hopes to get a win tonight, to keep pace with both the Marlins and the Braves and stay ahead of the Mets in the tight National League East.