Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 2: Repeat! Repeat! The Phillies defeat the Nationals, 4-3, winning their second straight divisional title.
The Phillies held on to defeat the Nationals, 4-3, to win their second straight Eastern Division Championship. The Phillies would take the lead in the fourth, as, with runners on the corners and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a foul ball sacrifice fly, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Ryan Howard’s single, giving the Phillies a quick 1-0 lead. Three batters later, with the bases loaded and still one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard, who would go to second on Shane Victorino’s single, and would then move up to third on Pedro Feliz’s walk, while Victorino would move up to second on the walk, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Nationals would cut the Phillies’ lead down to 2-1 in the fifth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Anderson Hernandez would hit a RBI double, scoring Roger Bernadina, who has earlier singled and would move on to second on Nationals’ starter John Lannan’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4. The Phillies would get that run back in their half of the fifth as Jayson Werth would hit a lead-off solo home run, his twenty-fourth home run of the year, giving the Phillies a 3-1 lead. In the sixth, the Nats would threaten to score as they would get their first two hitters, Ryan Zimmerman and Lastings Milledge, on base with singles, with Milledge’s being a bunt single that succeeded because Moyer has broken originally towards third base at the end of his delivery, before he was unable to grab the ball, putting Nats runners on first and second. But Moyer would then get out of the inning by getting first Elijah Dukes and then Aaron Boone to fly out to center and then getting Wil Nieves to strike out swinging. In the eighth inning, the Nats would make it close as, with runners on second and third, and no one out, Milledge would hit a sacrifice fly on a great play made by Jimmy Rollins for the inning’s first out, as Cristian Guzman, who has earlier singled and would go to third on Zimmerman’s double, would score during the collision between Rollins and a sliding Victorino, in which they would hit their right shins together, making it 3-2 Phils. As Rollins walk back to his position, walking it off, Victorino would lie on his back for a while, before he finally got back up and then walked it off as well, before the game resumed. Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Chad Durbin, who, in turn, had pitched the seventh in relief of Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer, would end the inning by first getting Dukes to ground out, 6-4, and then getting Boone to strike out swinging. The Phillies would get that run back as, with a runner on first and two outs, Feliz would hit a RBI double, scoring Victorino, who has earlier singled and would run all the way home, making it 4-2 Phillies. The ball is then given to Brad Lidge to close it out. After striking out Emilio Bonifacio, he would give up a single to Bernadina. Pinch hitter Ryan Langerhans would than get on base with a walk, moving Bernadina up to second. Hernandez would follow with a RBI single, scoring Bernadina and sending Langerhans to second, making it 4-3 Phillies. Guzman would then single, moving Langerhans and Hernandez both up a base, as the bases are now loaded. The next batter, Zimmerman, would then hit a ground ball that tried to go into right center field for a hit. Rollins would stop the ball, and then threw it perfectly to Utley for the inning’s second out, wiping out Hernandez. Utley then threw a high throw that was brought down by Howard, beating out a slow running Zimmerman for the game’s final out on a double play and would lead to the start of the Phillies’ celebration of their second straight National League Eastern Division Championship, won at home for only the second time in the Phillies’ history.
Jamie Moyer would get the win, in the process tying Nolan Ryan’s record for the most games won by a 45 years old pitcher, as he went six innings, giving up only one earned run on six hits. His record is now 16-7 with a 3.71 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up one earned run on two hits. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning, as he gave up an earned run on three hits as he recorded his forty-first save in forty-one attempts. John Lannan would get the lost, as he pitched five innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. His record is now 9-15 with a 3.91 ERA. Steven Shell would pitch an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Mike Hinckley would pitch an inning and a third, giving up no runs on no hits. Garrett Mock would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.
With the victory, the Phillies have captured their seventh National League Eastern Division pennant in the team’s 126 years history, and their first two consecutive divisional crowns since they have won three Eastern Division pennants back in 1976-1978. This is the first time that they have entered the postseason for two straight seasons since the 1980-1981 seasons. Jamie Moyer, for the second straight season, has pitched the Phillies into the playoffs with his strong six innings outing. Every regular, except for Carlos Ruiz, would get at least one hit, while Shane Victorino would go 3 for 4, all singles, and scoring what would turn out to be the game winning run.
The 2008 Eastern Divisional Champion Phillies (91-70) will be playing their last regular season game tomorrow afternon, Fan Appreciation Day, against the Nationals (59-101). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter, thank to the clinching, will be J.A. Happ (1-0, 3.90), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on September 21, as he went six and two-thirds innings, giving up only two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 6-2 win, instead of their ace Cole Hamels, who will now be given the day off. He has faced the Nationals once before, pitching an inning in relief against them on September 1, as he gave up no runs on one hit, in the Phillies’ 7-4 lost. In four starts, he is 1-0 with three no-decisions, all of which would be won by the Phillies, with an ERA of 2.28. He will be trying for his second major league win tomorrow afternoon. His opponent will be Odalis Perez (7-11, 4.27), who is coming off a lost to the Padres on September 21, as he went six innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 6-2 lost. In his last appearance against the Phillies on September 3, he pitched a no-decision, going five innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Nationals’ 9-7 win. He will be trying to improve his record and end the Nationals’ season on a high note.
The Phillies are still ahead of the Mets by two games, as they defeated the Marlins. In the Wild Card race, the Mets and the Brewers are once again tied for the wild card lead as the Brewers lost to the Cubs. The Wild Card race will now go down to the wire between the Mets and the Brewers with the magic number for both being at 2. The Phillies will more than likely be resting most of their regulars tomorrow, while waiting to see who their opponent will be in the National League Divisional Series.