May 2008

The Phillies crush the Rockies, scoring 35 runs in their last two games.

The Phillies’ offense takes advantage of Jorge DeLaRosa’s wildness and the Rockies’ middle relievers while veteran pitcher Jamie Moyer takes advantage of their ‘youthful’ lineup as the Phils’ crushed the Rockies, 20-5. The Rockies would score the game’s first runs in the top of the first, when, with one out, Ryan Spilborghs would hit his second home run of the year on a 1-1 pitch, knocking in Willy Taveras, who has singled earlier, and Todd Helton, who has walked, giving Colorado a 3-0 lead. The Phillies would tie the game in their half of the first, when Chase Utley hits his sixteenth home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, who have both walked. The Rockies would retake the lead in the top of the third, when Hilton, who has singled and moved to third on Ryan Spilborghs’ double, would score from third on Jeff Baker’s sacrifice fly. From that moment on, it would be all Phils. The Phillies would start it off by re-tying the game in their half of the third on a Ryan Howard sacrifice fly, knocking in Shane Victorino, who has earlier walked, for the second time in the ballgame, off of Rockies’ starter DeLaRosa. The Phillies would then bust the game wide open in the fourth. Pedro Feliz would start the inning off with a double. He would then score on a ground rule double by Chris Coste, thanks to fan’s interference, making the score 5-4 Phillies. So Taguchi would then follow with a double of his own, scoring Coste, and giving the Phils a 6-4 lead. After Moyer bunts Taguchi over to third, DeLaRosa would be taken out of the game for Jason Grilli. Grilli would be greeted by a single from Rollins, scoring Taguchi, and increasing the Phils’ lead to 7-4. Victorino then singles, moving Rollins to third base. Utley then grounds out to the first baseman, scoring Rollins, and moving Victorino to second, as the Phillies now lead it 8-4. After Howard and Pat Burrell both walk to load the bases, Feliz would come up for the second time in the inning, and singles, scoring both Victorino and Howard, and moving Burrell to second, making the score 10-4 Phils. Coste would then end the inning by flying out to right. The Phillies would then increase their lead in the sixth inning. The new Rockies pitcher, Josh Newman, who is pitching in relief of Grilli, would start the inning off by walking Howard. After striking out Burrell, Feliz would single, moving Howard to second base. Coste would then follow by hitting his fourth home run of the season, scoring both Howard and Feliz, while increasing the Phillies’ lead to 13-4. Taguchi then gets on base with a single. After Moyer walks, moving Taguchi to second, Rollins lines out to left for the second out of the inning. Victorino, with the count 0-2, is hit by the pitch, loading the bases. Utley then singles, scoring Taguchi, and moving up both Moyer and Victorino, keeping the bases loaded, as the Phillies increased their lead to 14-4. Newman is then replaced by Alberto Arias. He is soon greeted by a single by Howard, scoring both Moyer and Victorino, and sending Utley to third, while giving the Phils a 16-4 lead. After a wild pitch moves Ryan to second base, Burrell grounds out to end the inning. While the Phillies’ batters were unloading on Rockies’ pitching, Moyer was moving along, taking advantage of the youthful impatient of the Rockies’ batters, a result of the many injuries that are now plaguing the Rockies, giving up only two singles since Baker’s sacrifice fly. He would be replaced by Clay Condrey who would pitch a 1-2-3 eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, the Phillies’ bat would continue to create havoc. With Matt Herges now replacing Arias, Greg Dobbs would reach base with a double. He would go to third on Eric Bruntlett’s single. After Victorino pops up for out number one, Utley would get a single, knocking in Dobbs for his sixth RBI of the night, a career best, and moving Bruntlett to second, with the score now 17-4 Phillies. Howard then walks, once again loading the bases. T.J. Bohn then hits a infield single under the pitcher’s glove, scoring Bruntlett and keeping the bases loaded, as the Phils now lead its 18-4. Feliz then hits a single, scoring Utley and Howard, and sending Bohn to second, while making the score now 20-4 Phils. Coste would get a single, reloading the bases, but that would be it, as Manuel Corpas, now in relief of Herges, would get Condrey and Dobbs to both strike out to end the inning. In the top of the ninth, with two out, Condrey would give up a RBI single to Cory Sullivan, scoring Omar Quintanilla, who has earlier doubled, making it a 20-5 Phillies’ lead. But that would be it as Condrey would get the next batter to hit into a force out, short to second to end the game.

The 20 runs that the Phils’ offense have scored were the most run that they have scored in one game so far this season, and are the most runs that they have scored in a game since July 3, 1999. They are also the most runs that they have scored so far in the present century. Their 19 hits are the most hits they have gotten this season. Everyone in the starting line up, except for Pat Burrell, have had at least one hit in the game. Pedro Feliz leads the way with his four hits in six at bats, which includes a double, as he knocks in four RBIs while scoring two runs. His batting average is now at .271. Chase Utley went three for six, which includes his three runs blast, as he knocks in a career high six RBIs while scoring two. Chris Coste also went three for six, hitting a double and a home run, knocking in four runs while scoring two. The offense also got eight walks, while batting around three times, sending up eleven batters to the plate twice. In two days, the Phils’ offense has knocked in thirty-five runs on thirty-five hits. The other starting pitchers will certaining be hoping that the bats will remain hot for a while, especially during their upcoming series with the Marlins.

Jamie Moyer was the winning pitcher, as he goes seven innings, giving up four earned runs on six hits, while striking out seven and only walking one, as he dominated the Rockies’ batters in the middle innings. His record is now 5-3 with a ERA of 4.45. Clay Condrey would pitch two innings, giving up an earned run on two hits. Jorge DeLaRosa would take the lost for the Rockies, as he is only able to go three and one third innings, giving up seven runs, six of which were earned, on four hits, while walking three. His record has dropped to 1-3 while his ERA rises to 9.00. Jason Grilli would pitch one and two-thirds innings in relief, giving up three earned runs on four hits. Josh Newman would last only two-thirds of an inning, getting nailed for six earned runs on four hits. Alberto Arias would go one and a third innings, giving up no runs on one hit. Matt Herges would pitch only a third of an inning, giving up four runs on six hits. Manuel Corpas would go two-thirds of an innings, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies (29-24) will continue their three games series with the Rockies (20-31, 3rd National League West), with a night game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 5.19), who is coming off a no-decision against the Astros on May 22, where he would only go five innings, giving up five runs on eight hits, in the Phils’ 7-5 win. He has been involved in four no-decisions in his last five starts, with the other one being a win. He hopes to improve his record, while hoping that the Phillies will be able to supply him with some runs support. The Rockies will be sending to the mound Ubaldo Jimenez (1-4, 4.61), who is coming off a no-decision in which he would go seven innings, giving up no runs on three hits, in the Rockies’ 3-2 lost to the Giants on May 21. In his previous start, he would take the lost, as he would pitch seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits, in the Rockies’ 4-2 lost to the Minnesota Twins on May 16.

The Phils are still trailing the Marlins by two and a half games, as the Marlins would come from behind to win their doubleheader with the Giants and then would defeat the Mets in New York on Monday. The Phillies are still .002 percentage points behind the Braves, who defeated the Diamonbacks in an Monday afternoon game. The Mets, with their lost to the Marlins, are now trailing both the Phillies and the Braves by four games. As the Phillies continue their series with the Rockies, the Marlins continue their three games series with the Mets, before coming to Philadelphia for a weekend series. The Braves will now start a three games series with the Brewers in Milwaukee. The Phils hope to stay pace with the Marlins, while hoping that the Braves will continue to be a bad team on the road.

The Phillies leave Houston with a split as they crush the Astros, 15-6.

The Phillies end up with a series spilt in Houston as they crush the Astros in the final game of their four games series, 15-6. Houston would start the scoring off in the bottom of the first, when, with two outs, Carlos Lee hits a three-runs home run off of Phils’ starter Cole Hamels, for his eleventh home run of the year, scoring Miguel Tejada and Lance Berkman, who have both gotten on base with singles, making it 3-0 Astros. These would be the first earned runs given up by Hamels in nineteen and two-thirds innings. The Phils would cut the lead down to 3-2 in the second on Geoff Jenkins two-runs home run, his third of the season, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier walked. The Phillies would tie the game up in the third on a sacrifice fly by Chase Utley, scoring Hamels, who has earlier singled. The Astros would retake the lead in their half of the third as Berkman hits a RBI single off of Hamels, scoring Michael Bourn, who has earlier reached base on a walk. The Astros then increased their lead to 5-3, when Tejada, who was safe on a force out, would score on a Carlos Lee ground out, short to first. The Phils would then get a run back in the fourth when Hamels singles in Carlos Ruiz, who has earlier doubled. Houston would then make it 6-4 in their half of the fourth as Ty Wigginton, who has doubled earlier, would score on a Bourn force out. After both starters are taken out by the top of the sixth inning, the Phillies would then open up the flood gates to score eleven runs in two straight innings. First, in the sixth, Burrell would get the ball rolling by hitting a solo home run off of Fernando Nieve, his thirteenth home run of the year, making it a 6-5 Astros’ lead. Jenkins and Pedro Feliz would then follow with a single and a double, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Ruiz would then follow with a single, scoring Jenkins and moving Feliz to third, tying the score at six all. After Wesley Wright would come in to pitch in relief of Nieve, he would walk pitch hitter Eric Bruntlett to load the bases with Phils. Jimmy Rollins then hits a ground out, second to first, which would score Feliz, giving the Phils the lead at 7-6, while moving Ruiz to third, and Bruntlett to second, whose smart base running would enable him to get to second base safely. Now with one out, Shane Victorino would hit a double to left field, scoring both Ruiz and Bruntlett, increasing the Phils’ lead to 9-6. That would be how the inning would end as Wright would get Utley to ground out and Ryan Howard to fly out. After J.C. Romero, who was pitching in relief of Rudy Seanez, puts down the Astros in their half of the sixth, the Phillies would continue their scoring in the seventh. Burrell would start things off by hitting a double off of Dave Borkowski, who was pitching in relief of Wright. Jenkins would follow with a single, moving Burrell to third. After So Taguchi pinch runs for Burrell, Feliz would single him home, making the score 10-6 Phils, while moving Jenkins up to second base. Ruiz would then strike out trying to bunt the runners up a base. Greg Dobbs, who was pinch hitting for Romero, would hit a triple, scoring both Jenkins and Feliz, making it 12-6 Phils. After Rollins grounds out, Victorino would hit a RBI single, knocking in Dobbs. Utley would then follow with his fifteenth home run of the year, a two-runs blast that would make the score 15-6 Phillies. Howard would then end the inning by striking out. After that massive two innings barrage, the Phillies bullpen would take over, as Ryan Madson would pitch two innings and Clay Condrey would pitch one, and between them give up no runs on one hit, preserving the win.

Cole Hamels would get a no-decision as he would be hit hard by the Astros, lasting only four innings as he gives up all six of Houston’s runs, all earned, on seven hits. Rudy Seanez would get the win, as he goes one full inning, giving up no runs on one hit. His record is now 3-3 with a 2.75 ERA. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Ryan Madson would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on one hit. Clay Condrey would go one inning, giving no runs on no hits. Astros’ starter Chris Sampson would also get a no-decision, as he goes five innings, giving up four earned runs on five hits. Fernando Nieve would take the lost, as he faced four batters, getting none of them out, while giving up four earned runs on four hits. Wesley Wright would go one inning, giving up one run on one hit. Dave Borkowski would also pitch an inning, as he would be lighted up for six runs on six hits. Oscar Villarreal would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies will now leave Houston with a split series (2-2) and a winning road trip (4-3), with the offense punishing the ball in three of their games on the road, and missing out on victories in their middle games with Houston, while the starters in this series would seem to have run into various kinds of pitching trouble. The Phillies (28-24) will now come home for a ten games home stand, which will start tomorrow night with the first of three games against the 2007 National League Champions Colorado Rockies (20-30, 3rd National League West). The game will start at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Jamie Moyer (4-3, 4.37), who is coming off of a win against the Nationals on May 21, where he went six innings, giving up no runs on seven hits, in the Phils’ 12-2 blow out of the Nationals. Moyer has won his last two starts, and hopes to improve his record, while trying to give the bullpen a rest. The Rockies will oppose him with Jorge DeLaRosa (1-2, 7.78), who is coming off of a no-decision against the Giants on May 19, where he pitched five and one-third innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits, in the Rockies’ 4-3 win. DeLaRosa has not have a good year so far this season, as he has given up four or more earned runs in his two loses. He hopes to even his record, while the Phillies’ batters hope to take advantage of his wildness.

The Phils are presently two games behind the Marlins, who have earlier defeated the Giants in the first game of their doubleheader, and are at the moment trailing the Giants 4-2 in the second game. They are now trailing the Braves by .002 percentage points as the Braves have lost their game with the Diamondbacks. The Braves and the Phils are once again leading the Mets by two games as the Mets have just lost their game with the Rockies.

The Phils’ fall short once again as Myers continues to disappoint.

For the second night in a row, a Phillies ninth inning rally falls short as the Phillies, for the second straight night, lose to the Astros, 4-3. The Phillies would score the game’s first run in the top of the first on a RBI double by Ryan Howard, knocking in Shane Victorino, who has earlier reached base on first baseman Lance Berkman’s fielding error. The Astros would take the lead in the bottom of the first, as Phillies’ starter Brett Myers gives up a RBI double to Carlos Lee, knocking in Michael Bourn, who has reached base earlier on a single, and Berkman, who has earlier walked, making it 2-1 Astros. The Phillies would regain the lead in the third, as Howard hits a two run homer off of Astros’ starter Brian Moehler, his fourteenth home run of the year, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. The Astros would then tie it in the bottom of the fifth, as Lee hits a RBI single to left, scoring Bourn, who has earlier doubled. But, when Berkman tires to score after Pat Burrell’s throw gets away from Chase Utley, he would be thrown out at home plate by Ryan Howard’s throw to Chris Coste, who tags out Berkman for the final out of the inning, keeping the score tied at 3-3. The Astros would then retake the lead in the sixth, as Myers gives up a RBI single to pitch hitter Mark Loretta, scoring Ty Wigginton, who has earlier singled, making it 4-3 Astros. The game would stay that way until the ninth, when the Phillies attempted a late inning rally. With Doug Brocail pitching, Pedro Feliz and Chris Coste would both reach base on singles. After Carlos Ruiz would go in to pinch run for Coste, Brocail would committ a throwing error as he throws the ball into center field as he attempts to pick off Feliz at second, sending Feliz and Ruiz to third and second. Brocail would then get pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to fly out, with neither runner advancing. After intentionally walking Jimmy Rollins, Brocail would face Victorino with the bases loaded. After the count goes to 2-0, Victorino would hit a fly ball to left. Darin Erstad would make the catch for out number two. Erstad would then throw towards home as Feliz attempts to score to tie the game. Erstad’s throw would beat Feliz to the plate, where he is tagged out by catcher Brad Asmus for the final out, preserving the game for the Astros, and giving Brocail his second save of the season.

Brett Myers would take the lost, as he goes six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 5.79 ERA. The main question now is what is the matter with Myers as he doesn’t seem to be able to hold leads when they are given to him, or to throw a good pitch at the right moment to get himself out of jams. Chad Durbin would pitch two innings of relief, giving up no runs on two hits. Brian Moehler records the win, as he also goes six innings, giving up three runs, two of which were earned, on four hits. Tim Byrdak would pitch one and two-thirds innings of relief, giving up no runs on one hit. Oscar Villarreal would pitch to only one batter in the eighth, giving up no runs on no hits. Wesley Wright would go one-third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Doug Brocail would pitch the ninth, earning his second save of the year, as he gives up no runs on two hits.

The Phillies (27-24) will conclude their trip to Houston (29-22, 3rd National League Central) with an afternoon game at Minute Maid Park, which is already in progress. The Phillies’ starting pitcher is Cole Hamels (5-3, 2.61). The Astros’ starter is Chris Sampson (3-3, 5.91). The Phils’ hope to get a win today to get a series spilt and head back home to Philadelphia with a winning road trip.

The Phils are now trailing the Marlins by two games, thanks to their lost, as the Marlins were rained out last night. Today they are playing a twinbill with the Giants, with the Marlins presently leading in the first game, 7-6. The Phils are now a game behind the second place Braves, who are presently trailing the Diamondbacks 6-3. They are two games ahead of the Mets, who are tied with the Rockies 0-0.

Still in Houston.

The Phillies (27-23) will conclude their four games trip to Houston by playing two more games against the Astros (28-22, 3rd National League Central) tonight and tomorrow afternoon. Tonight’s game will be played at Minute Maid Park, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will be Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who, although pitching well, came up with the lost in the Phils’ 4-0 lost to the Nationals. In that game, he would pitch six innings, giving up only three earned runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his five starts for the Phils, while getting a no-decision in his other start, which the Phils also lost. Career wise, he is 3-2 against the Astros, with a 4.91 ERA, in seven starts. One of his victories over the Astros came earlier this year as he received the victory in the Phils’ 10-2 win against the Astros back on April 17. In that game, he would pitch seven innings, giving up only one earned run on five hits. It was after this game that he began to have his pitching troubles. Hopefully he will improve on his last start, and improve his record with a victory. His opponent will be Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Cubs on May 19, where he went only five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. This will probably be his last start, as the Astros are expected to reactive Wandy Rodriguez next week. He hopes to improve his record with a win against the Phillies.

The final game of the Phillies’ trip to Houston, and of their seven games road trip, will be played tomorrow afternoon in Minute Maid Park. The game will start at 2:05 pm Eastern (1:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter for that game will be Cole Hamel (5-3, 2.61), who is coming off a no-decision against the Nationals on May 20. In that game, he would give up no runs on four hits while striking out eleven, which the Phils would eventually win 1-0. Hamels has not given up a run in his last nineteen innings, going back to the last three innings of his start against the Giants on May 9. Hamels has won three of his last five starts, with the Phils winning all five. His career record against the Astros is 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA. He hopes to throw up some more goose eggs while trying to improve his record and continue to lower his ERA. The Astros will be sending to the mound Chris Sampson (3-3, 5.91), who is coming off a win against the Cubs on May 20, when he pitched six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 4-2 win. He has won two of his last four starts, pitching well in his wins and getting knocked around in his two no-decisions. Lifetime against the Phillies he is 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA in four games. He hopes to get his first career win against the Phils while improving his record.

The Phillies’ offense hope this time to supply both Myers and Hamels with some runs support, unlike they did during the two games that the pair have pitched in Washington, when they scored only one run in eighteen innings. They also hope to continue their hitting displays of Wednesday and Thursday night, when they knocked in nineteen runs on thirty hits.

After finishing their series in Houston, the Phils will go home to Citizens Bank Park, where they will begin a ten games home stand, starting on Monday with a three games series against the 2007 National League Champions Colorado Rockies.

The Phillies are trailing the Marlins by a game and a half, along with the Braves, who are leading them by .002 percentage points. Both the Phils and the Braves are leading the presently slumping Mets by four games. The Phillies plan on winning their final two games in Houston so that they can have both a winning series and a winning road trip.

The Phillies’ ninth inning rally comes up short as Eaton loses another start.

The Phillies’ offense would come up short in the ninth inning as they lose to the Houston Astros, 4-3, wasting a good effort by Adam Eaton. The Phils would score first, as Pat Burrell hits a solo home run off of Astros’ starter Brandon Backe in the second inning, his twelfth home run of the year. That would be the score until the bottom of the fifth inning, as Eaton and Backe would keep both teams quiet, Backe with his slow curve and Eaton with generally good pitching. But then, in the Astros’ fifth, Eaton would give up a solo shot to Hunter Pence, for his sixth home run of the year, tying the score at one. The Astros would later threathen to take the lead by getting two men on base with one out, but Eaton would get out of the inning by getting Michael Bourn to hit into a 6-4-3 double play. The score would remain tie until the bottom of the seventh, when Pence, leading off the inning, would hit a 3-0 fastball out of the ballpark for his second home run of the night off of Eaton, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Astros a 2-1 lead. The Astros would then increase their lead to 3-1 on a Bourn single, scoring J.R. Towles, who has earlier singled. The Astros would add another run in the eighth when Carlos Lee hit a sacrifice fly off of Ryan Madson, scoring Lance Berkman, who has earlier tripled. The Phillies would try to rally back in the ninth against Astros’ closer Jose Valverde. Burrell would start the rally off with a double to center field. After moving to third on a ground out, Burrell would score on a line drive single by Pedro Feliz off of Valverde’s face, making the score 4-2 Astros. After the Astros’ trainer have taken several minutes to look Valverde over to make sure that he could continue to pitch, Carlos Ruiz would hit a single, moving Feliz to second base. After Eric Bruntlett goes in to pinch run for Ruiz, Valverde would strike out pinch hitter Chris Coste for the second out. Jimmy Rollins would then hit a line drive double, scoring Feliz and sending Bruntlett, who had to dive to get out of the way of Rollins’ line drive, to third, making the score 4-3 Houston. With two men in scoring position and two out, Shane Victorino would come to the plate. After getting the count full, Victorino would hit a fly ball to center field, ending the ballgame, as Valverde is able to nail down his fifteenth save of the year.

Adam Eaton would take the lost, as he pitches seven innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. His record drops to 0-3, with a ERA of 5.37. Eaton by now must be wondering what he has to do to actually win a ballgame. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning in relief, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brandon Backe would pick up the win for the Astros, as he would go seven and one-third innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. Doug Brocail would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits as he snuffs out a Phillies’ rally in the eighth, leaving the bases loaded. Jose Valverde, in spite of being hit in the face by a line drive, would record his fifteenth save of the season as he pitches one inning, giving up two earned runs on four hits.

Despite the lost, the Phillies are still one and a half games behind the Marlins, as the fish loses their game with the Giants. They are still technically tied for second place with the Braves, .002 percentage points behind them, as the Braves were crushed in their game with the Diamondbacks. The Phils and the Braves are still leading the Mets by three games, as the Mets loses their game with the Rockies in extra-innings.

The Phillies (27-23) will continue their four games series with the Astros (28-23, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start tonight at 7:05 pm Eastern (6:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will by Brett Myers (2-5, 5.76), who is coming off another lost, as he pitched six innings against the Nationals on May 19, in the Phils’ 4-0 lost, giving up only three runs on eight hits. Myers has lost four of his last five starts, with a no-decision in his other start. He’ll be looking to improve on his last start while trying to improve his record. In his previous start against the Astros, he would go seven innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, as he picks up the win in the Phils’ 10-2 win. The Astros will send to the mound Brian Moehler (1-1, 4.76), who is coming off a lost to the Chicago Cubs on May 19, where he would pitch five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits, in the Astros’ 7-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record in what could be his last start in place of Wandy Rodriguez, who should be coming off the disabled list next week.

The Phils’ offense hopes to continue what they were doing on Wednesday and Thursday nights, where they scored nineteen runs on thirty hits. Although they got ten hits in last night’s game, they were only able to score three runs, thanks mainly to the slow curveballs that were being served up to them by Backe. They hope not to have similar problems with Moehler tonight.

Jayson Werth is put on disabled list, T.J. Bohn is recalled from Triple-A.

Werth on DL with strained right oblique
Outfielder suffered injury Thursday; Bohn recalled from Triple-A

Continuing in Houston.

The Phillies (27-22) continue their trip to Houston with their second of four games against the Astros (27-22, 3rd National League Central) at Minute Maid Park. The game will start at 8:05 pm Eastern (7:05 pm Central). The Phillies will send to the mound Adam Eaton (0-2, 5.59), who is coming off a lost against the Toronto Blue Jays on May 17, where he went only five innings as he gave up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 6-3 lost. In his previous start against the Astros back on April 15, he would pitch six innings as he gave up three earned runs on seven hits while receiving a no-decision, in the Phils’ dramatic 4-3 come from behind win. Eaton will be looking for his first win of the year while Phillies fans wonder how much longer he’ll stay in the starting rotation. The Astros will counter with Brandon Backe (3-5, 4.58), who is coming off a win against the Texas Rangers on May 18, where he pitched six and a third innings, giving up only three earned runs on five hits, in the Astros’ 5-4 victory. In his previous start against the Phils on April 17, he took the lost as he pitched only three innings as he gave up five earned runs on ten hits, in the Astros’ 10-2 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to get even for his earlier defeat at the hands of the Phillies’ offense.

Speaking of the offense, after being able to score only one run in the first eighteen innings of their series in Washington against the Nationals, the Phils have since then scored ninteen runs in the last eighteen innings. While some runs have come via the long ball, most of them have come via the use of small ball. Hopefully it’ll continue during the rest of their road trip. Also, Ryan Howard appears to be on a hitting tear, as he has gone six for his last ten at bats, hitting two doubles and three home runs, while knocking in six RBIs and scoring four runs. Howard is now hitting over .200 with a batting average of .207. But Howard appears to be not the only Phils on a tear as Shane Victorino has just raised his batting average to .263 as he has gotten eight hits in his last four starts, including two doubles and a home run. And Pedro Feliz in his last three starts has gone seven for thirteen with a home run, raising his average to .252. Hopefully the bats will continue to strike during their stay in Houston. 

The Phillies are a game and a half behind the Marlins, who will start a three games series in Miami against the Giants. They are technically tied for second with the Braves, trailing them by .002 percentage points, as they begin a four games series at home against the presently reeling Diamonbacks. Both they and the Braves are three games ahead of the Mets, who are continuing their own road trip with a three games series with the Rockies in Denver. After Sunday’s afternoon game with the Astros, the Phils will come home to start a ten games home stand, starting with a three games series with the reigning National League Champion Colorado Rockies. The Phillies will be trying to keep pace with the Marlins and Braves while trying to stay even further ahead of the presently floundering Mets.

Pat Burrell’s bat help lift the Phils over Houston.

Pat Burrell’s pitch hit home run help lead the Phillies to victory last night over the Houston Astros, 7-5. The Astros would score first in the bottom of the first on a Lance Berkman RBI double off of Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick, scoring Miguel Tejada, who has reached base earlier on a force out, making it 1-0 Astros. The Phils would tie the game in the second on a RBI single by Carlos Ruiz, knocking in Ryan Howard who has earlier singled. The Astros would regain the lead on a sacrifice fly by Brad Ausmus, scoring Hunter Pence, who has earlier walked. The Phils would then take the lead in the top of the third, scoring three runs off of usually more effective Astros’ starter Roy Oswalt. The first Phillies run would come in on a RBI double by Howard, knocking in Shane Victorino, who has earlier walk, tying the game at two runs apiece. Pedro Feliz then singles in Chase Utley, who has gotten on base earlier with a single, giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. Howard would then score on Geoff Jenkins’ sacrifice fly, making the score 4-2 Phils. The Phils would then increase their lead in the fifth on a Ryan Howard solo home run, his thirteenth of the season, and his third in two days, making it 5-2 Phils. But, then, in the sixth, Kendrick, who has been able to keep the Astros at bay for the last three innings, finally runs out of gas. After hitting Carlos Lee, and then giving up a single to Pence, he gives up a double to Ty Wigginton. The double would score both Lee and Pence, making it a 5-4 Phillies lead. Charlie Manuel would then come to the mound and replace Kendrick with Ryan Madson, with a runner on second and nobody out. After a sacrifice bunt by Ausmus puts Wigginton on third, Madson is replaced by J.C. Romero, to try and save the game for Kendrick. Unfortunately, Romero is not able to get the job done, as he gives up a single to pinch hitter Geoff Blum, scoring Ausmus, thus giving a no-decision to Kendrick, before he finally gets out of the inning. The Astros would replace Oswalt at the start of the seventh inning, thus leaving the game in the hands of both teams’ bullpens. With neither side scoring in the seventh, Pat Burrell would come up as a pinch hitter to start the eighth inning against Wesley Wright, who was starting his second inning of relief. On a 3-2 pitch, Burrell hits the ball out of the ballpark for a pinch hit home run, his eleventh home run of the season, giving the Phils a 6-5 lead. The Astros quickly replace Wright with Fernando Nieve. With two men on and two out, Nieve would be replaced by Tim Byrdak. Byrdak would then give up a RBI single to Utley, which scores Eric Bruntlett, who was pinch running for Jayson Werth, who has earlier reached base on a force out, increasing the Phils lead to 7-5. After Tom Gordon pitches a 1-2-3 eighth, the Phils would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge to save the game in the ninth. After getting a strike out and then a ground out, Lidge would give up a single to Tejada, bringing to the plate Berkman. With one pitch, Lidge would get Berkman to fly out, thus getting his twelfth save in as many chances, as he preserves the victory.

Kyle Kendrick would get a no-decision as he pitches five innings plus three batters, giving up five earned runs on eight hits. Ryan Madson would pitch one third of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit, earning a blown save. Chad Durbin would get the win for the Philles, as he pitches an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. His record is now 1-1, with a 2.08 ERA. Tom Gordon would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hit. Brad Lidge would get his twelfth save of the year, as he gives up no run on one hit in one inning of work against his former club. Tom Oswalt would also get a no-decision while not pitching very effectively, as he goes six innings, giving up five earned runs on eleven hits. Wesley Wright would get the lost for Houston, as he goes an inning and one batter, giving up an earned run on one hit, Pat Burrell’s pitch hit home run. Fernando Nieve would pitch a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Tim Byrdak would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Oscar Villarreal would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on one hit.

The Phillies (27-22) will continue their four game visit with the Astros (27-22, 3rd National League Central) with a night game at Minute Maid Park. The game will begin at 8:05 pm (7:05 pm Central). The Phils’ starter will be Adam Eaton (0-2, 5.59), who is coming off his second lost of the year at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays on May 17. In that game, he gave up four earned runs on eight hits, as he would go only five innings, in the Phils’ 6-3 lost. As Eaton continues to look for his first win, he hopes to do better then he did in his previous start against the Astros, back on April 15 at Citizens Bank Park, where he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hit as he took a no-decision in the Phils’ 4-3 come from behind win. Meanwhile, Phillies fans are wondering how much longer Eaton will remain in the starting rotation. The Astros will counter with Brandon Backe (3-5, 4.58), who is coming off a win against the Texas Rangers on May 18, where he pitched six and one third innings, giving up only three earned runs on six hits, in the Astros’ 5-4 win. He hopes to improve his record, while getting even with the Phils for his earlier lost to them on April 17, where he gave up five earned runs on ten hits, while pitching only three innings, in the Astros’ 10-2 lost.

The Phils hope that their just revised offense will continue to score runs, as they continue to trail the Marlins by a game and a half, as the fish have just finished their three games sweep of the Diamondbacks. The Phillies are still in a technical tie for second place with the Braves, now trailing them by .002 percentage points as they have just finished their own four games sweep of the Mets, who are now trailing both the Braves and Phils by three games. As the Phillies continue their road trip to Houston, the Marlins will start a three games series at home against the Giants, while the Braves will stay home to face the Diamondbacks for four games and the Mets will go on to Denver to face the Rockies for three. The Phils hope to both finish their present road trip on a winning note and to stay pace with both the presently streaking Marlins and Braves.

The Phillies move on to Houston, hoping that everything is indeed bigger in Texas.

The Phillies continues their seven games, two series, road trip, with a four games visit with the Astros in Houston, Texas. The first game of the four games set will start at 8:05 pm (7:05 pm Central) in Minute Maid Park. The Phillies’ starter will be Kyle Kendrick (3-2, 4.76), who was moved up a day because he had pitched only one inning in the double rain delayed, 6-5 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on May 18. In that one inning, he gave up no runs on no hits. His previous start was a win against the Braves on May 13, where he would pitch six innings, giving up three earned runs, all in the first inning, on six hits, in the Phils’ 5-4 win. This will be Kendrick’s second career start against the Astros, with his first one being back on April 16 at Citizen’s Bank Park, which he lost, as he went seven innings, giving up two earned runs on four hits, in the Phils’ 2-1 lost. He will be trying to improve his record while continuing the Phillies’ starters recent string of quality starts. His opponent will be Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.43), who is coming off a lost to the Texas Ranger, where he went six innings and gave up six earned runs on eleven hits, in the Astros’ 6-2 lost. His previous start was on May 12, as he pitched against the Giants, winning that ballgame, as he gave up only three earned on five hits while pitching eight innings, in the Astros’ 7-3 victory. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to get his second victory of the season against the Phils, as he was the winning pitcher of the April 16 game, also going seven innings, while giving up only one earned runs on five hits.

The Phillies’ offense hope to continue what they did last night in Washington against the Nats, a combination of the long ball and small ball. They also hope that last night’s game will finally mean the return of Ryan Howard’s bat. Lastly, they hope that their starters will continue to perform the kind of quality pitching that they have just conducted in Washington, as they gave up only three earned runs in nineteen innings.

The Phillies are presently trailing the first place Marlins by a game and a half and trail the Braves by .001 percentage points. They and the Braves are presently leading the fourth place Mets by two full games. The Phils hope that they can keep pace with both the Marlins and the Braves as they play in Houston, while also hoping that either the Marlins or the Braves will lose their games tonight so that they can either get closer to first place and/or gain control of second place, respectively.

The bats come alive as the Phils crush the Nationals in the series finale.

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.

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