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.

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