The Phillies are once again done in in the eighth inning as the Phils lose to the Nats, 9-7.
The Phillies’ bullpen would give up four runs in the bottom of the eighth which would help to do the Phillies in, 9-7, as the team now fall three games behind the first place Mets before their important weekend series with them. The Phillies would take the lead in the first, as, with a man on and two outs, Ryan Howard would hit a two-run home run, his thirty-eighth home run of the year, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier been hit by the pitch, to give the Phils a quick 2-0 lead. The Nats would come back in their half of the first, as, with a man on and one man out, Ryan Zimmerman would hit a RBI double, knocking in Cristian Guzman, who has singled earlier, to cut the Phillies lead to 2-1. The Nats would then tie the score at two all, as, with two men on and two out, Kory Castro would hit a RBI single, scoring Zimmerman and sending Elijah Dukes, who has earlier walked, to third. Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton would finally end the inning by getting Wil Nieves to ground out, second to first. The Phillies would retake the lead in the third, as Utley would hit a RBI triple, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has earlier singled, to give the Phils a 3-2 lead. The Nationals would then tie the score in the fifth, as, with the bases loaded via a walk (Emilio Bonifacio), a single (Guzman) and a second walk (Zimmerman), and with Ryan Madson now on the mound in place of Blanton, the next batter, Lastings Milledge, would hit a ground ball to Howard. Instead of going home to force out Bonifacio, Howard would instead throw to second, which would force out Zimmerman for the inning’s first out, as Bonifacio would score the tying run, while Guzman would move over to thiird as Bonifacio would be safe at first, leaving runners on the corners for the Nationals. Dukes would then come up and hit a grounder to third baseman Pedro Feliz. Instead of throwing home to cut down Zimmerman, Feliz would instead throw over to second to try and start a double play. Instead, Feliz would only force out Bonifacio for the inning’s second out as Bonifacio would take out Utley with a good slide, allowing Zimmerman to score, giving the Nats a 4-3 lead, while Dukes would be safe at first. Madson would finally end the inning by striking out Castro. The Phillies would retake the lead in the sixth as Howard would hit his second two-run home run of the night, his thirty-ninth home run of the year, knocking in Jayson Werth, who has earlier singled, to make it 5-4 Phillies. The Nationals would then tie it five all in the seventh, as, with two outs, Zimmerman would hit a solo home run, his eleventh home run of the year. Then would come the nightmarish eighth inning. With Chad Durbin still pitching for the Phils, Castro would start off the inning with a single. After Castro is replaced by pinch runner Pete Orr, Nieves would mess up a sacrifice bunt attempt by poping up to Howard for the inning’s first out. Then everything would unravel for the Phils. Durbin would unfurl a wild pitch that would send Orr over to second base. Roger Bernadina would then get a single, sending Orr to third, putting runners on the corners. Ronnie Beliard would follow with a RBI single, knocking in Orr, to give the Nationals a 6-5 lead, while sending Bernadina to second. Durbin would then be replaced by J.C. Romero. Bernadina would proceed to steal third before Romero would walk Bonifacio to load the bases. Guzman would then hit a three-run double, scoring Bernadina, Beliard and Bonifacio, to give the Nationals a 9-5 lead. Clay Condrey would then come in to replace Romero, soon ending the inning without any more damage. The Phillies would then strike back in the ninth, as with one man on and no one out, Matt Stairs would hit a RBI double to score Shane Victorino, who has only earlier singled, to make it 9-6 Nationals. Rollins would then move Stairs over to third as he grounds out, second to first, for the inning’s first out. Utley would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Stairs, to make it 9-7 Nats. And that would be the final score as Werth would end the game by striking out swinging.
Joe Blanton would receive a no-decision as he pitches only four innings plus three batters, giving up four earned runs on six hits. Ryan Madson would pitch two scoreless innings, giving up no hits. Scott Eyre would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. Chad Durbin would receive his sixth blown save of the year, as well as the lost as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up four earned runs on five hits. His record is now 5-4 with a 2.69 ERA. J.C. Romero would face only two batters, getting out neither of them as he gives up a hit and walks one. Clay Condrey would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Odalis Perez would also get a no-decision as he pitches five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Marco Estrada would have his first blown save of the year as he faces three batters, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Jesus Colome would pitch a scoreless, hitless inning. Mike Hinckley would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up one hit. Steven Shell would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no hits or runs. Saul Rivera would get the win as he pitch a scoreless inning, giving up jut one hit. His record is now 5-5 with a 3.52 ERA. Joel Hanrahan would pitch an inning, giving up two runs on two hits.
The lost put the Phillies in a bind as they now head to New York, needing to either sweep or win the series if they don’t want to fall any further behind the Mets. It would seems that Charlie Manuel’s strategic thinking in this game would backfire on him in the seventh as he would take out Scott Eyre, after he has gotten out the two batters that he would face, to have Chad Durbin handle the right handers in the Nationals’ line-up. The move would blow up in his face instead as Durbin would give up a solo home run to Ryan Zimmerman to tie the score The less said about the eighth inning nightmare that he started the better, as the Phillies would lose another recent game in that inning. Something needs to be done about this, and quickly, before that inning becomes a real major problem for the Phillies’ bullpen’s egos during the last twenty-two games of the season.
The lost puts the Phillies’ three games behind the Mets as the Mets would sweep the Brew Crew in Milwaukee, while they are now five games ahead of the now fading Marlins as they lost to the Braves. The Phillies, who have tomorrow off, now heads into New York with a series that will either see them get closer to the Mets or see them fall further behind them.