Blanton and the bullpen blanks the Mets as the Phils sweep their major rival in the East, 2-0.
For only the third time at home this season, the Phils have swept a series, doing it for the first time against a team not named the Nationals as they defeated the Mets with a 2-0 win over their ace Johan Santana.
The Phils took the lead in the bottom of the first as, on a 1-0 fastball, Jimmy Rollins hits a lead-off home run into the left field seats, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Phils a 1-0 lead. The game then developed into a pitchers’ duel between Phils’ starter Joe Blanton, who would give up only a single and a walk during his first five innings, while Mets’ starter Johan Santana would give up only one more hit, a single to Rollins, and a walk, after giving up the solo shot to Rollins, in five innings. The Mets then threathen to score in the sixth as they loaded the bases on a walk to Luis Castillo, a single to Santana, moving Castillo up to second base, a sacrfice bunt by Alex Cora, 5-4, moving both runners up a base, and a walk to Daniel Murphy, with only one man out. But Blanton was able to get out of the inning by getting the next batter, David Wright, to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, wiping out Murphy at second, to keep it a 1-0 ballgame. Then, in the Phils’ half of the sixth, with two men out, Chase Utley made it a 2-0 Phils’ lead by hitting an 0-2 fastball into the right field seats for a solo home run, his eighteenth home run of the year. After putting the Mets down in the seventh, although giving up a single, Blanton started off the eighth by giving up a single to Castillo. After striking out pinch hitter Gary Sheffield for the inning’s first out, Charlie Manuel replaces Blanton with J.C. Romero, to face Cora. Sadly, the move did not work as Romero hits Cora with his second pitch, moving Castillo up to second base, putting the tying run on base, with still one man out. Manuel then replaces Romero with Chan Ho Park, to face pinch hitter Fernando Tatis. Park got the job done as he got Tatis to hit into a 4-6-3 double play, the Phils’ third double play of the game, wiping out Cora at second, and keeping it a 2-0 Phils’ lead. In the ninth, Brad Lidge threw his sixteenth save of the season, as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side as he preserves the shut out.
Joe Blanton got the win as he pitched a strong seven and a third innings of shut out ball, giving up just four hits and three walks, while striking out five. His record is now 5-4 with his ERA reduced to 4.69. J.C. Romero pitched to one batter, hitting him. Chan Ho Park recored his fifth hold, as he pitched to one batter, getting a double play ball, as he pitched two-thirds of an inning. Brad Lidge recorded his sixteenth save of the season as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the side. Johan Santana took the lost, as he went seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks, while striking out three. His record is now 9-7 with an ERA of 3.29. Bobby Parnell pitched a scoreless inning, walking a batter, while striking out one.
The Phils had only three hits in the game, with a resurging Jimmy Rollins collecting two of the three hits, a home run and a single, raising his average to .217, as he has gotten seven hits in his last four starts. Chase Utley has the Phils’ other hit, a solo home run. The win keeps the Phils a game ahead of the Marlins and four games ahead of both the Braves and the Mets.
The Phillies (42-37, 1st National League East) continue their ten-games home stand with a four-games series with the Reds (40-40, 4th National League Central). The first game of the series will start at 7:05 pm tonight and will be played at Citizens Bank Park. The Phils will send to the mound Coel Hamels (4-5, 4.98), who is coming off his worst start of the season, as he was pummeled by the Braves on July 1, giving up seven runs on nine hits and two walks, while striking out only one batter, in four innings of work, in the Phils’ 11-1 lost. The Phils will be looking for Hamels to act like their ace again, while he will be looking to stop his own three games losing streak. The Reds will counter with Johnny Cueto (8-4, 2.69), who is coming off a win against the D’backs on July 1, as he pitched six strong innings, giving up no runs on only one hit and four walks, while striking out eight, in the Reds’ 1-0 win. He will be trying for his ninth win of the season. The Phils will be looking for Hamels to pitch the fourth straight quality start from a Phils’ starter, while trying to increase their present winning streak at home to four games.