August 2009

Two Ryan Howard home runs and the Pedro/Moyer rain show help the Phils increase their lead to 8 games as they defeat the Braves, 4-2.

Two home runs by a presently red hot Ryan Howard and the Pedro Martinez/Jamie Moyer rain delay show in which the two combined to give up only one run in six and a third innings, as the Phils defeated the Braves, 4-2. The Phils now lead the NL East by eight games as the Marlins also lost last night.

In the second inning, the Phils took a quick 1-0 lead as Ryan Howard hits a lead-off home run, his thirty-sixth home run of the season. Then the rain came down, as the game is delayed twice, which would lead to the removal of Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, who pitched two shut out innings before being replaced by Jamie Moyer, and Braves’ starter Tommy Hanson, who had given up the solo home run to Howard. The Phils, after play resumed, would increase their lead in the fourth as, with one man on, and with nobody out, hits a two-run home run, his thirty-seventh home run of the year, scoring Chase Utley, who had earlier singled, making it a 3-0 Phils’ lead. The Braves would get a run back in the fifth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Matt Diaz hits an RBI double, knocking in Ryan Church, who had earlier hit an infield single, and had gone to second on third baseman Pedro Feliz’s throwing error. The Phils made it 4-1 in the seventh as, with a runner on third and with nobody out, Feliz hits an RBI single, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier tripled. In the eighth, the Braves would cut the Phils’ lead to 4-2 as, with runners on the corners, and with noone out, Chipper Jones hit into an RBI force out, 6-4, as Martin Prado, who had earlier singled, is forced out at second, while Diaz, who had earlier doubled, and then went to third on Prado’s single, scored, while Jones was safe at first. That would be the final score as Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, recording his twenty-sixth save of the season.

Pedro Martinez pitched a no-decision as he pitched two innings before being taken out of the game after two rain delays, giving up just one hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Jamie Moyer got the win as he pitched four and a third innings, giving up a run on four hits, while he struck out five. His record is now 12-9 with a 5.12 ERA, his second win since going into the bullpen. Chan Ho Park recorded his ninth hold as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out both batters that he would face, striking out one. Ryan Madson recorded his twenty-second hold as he gave up a run on three hits and a walk. Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-sixth save of the year, striking out a batter. Tommy Hanson took the lost, as he pitched two innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out four. His record is now 9-3 with an ERA of 3.15. Kris Medlen also pitched two innings, giving up two runs on three hits, as he struck out two. Eric O’Flaherty pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a hit and a walk, as he struck out two. Peter Moylan pitched an inning, giving up a run on two hits. Mike Gonzalez pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk.

The Phillies had nine hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the way, with a single and two home runs, a solo shot and a two-run bomb, accounting for three of the Phils’ runs, while raising his batting average to .272. Pedro Feliz followed with two hits, one of which was a double, as he knocked in the other Phils’ run. Chase Utley, Jayson Werth, Raul Ibanez and Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phils’ hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a triple. The win added some distance between the Phils and their nearest rivals in the East.

The Phillies (74-52, 1st) continues their home stand with the Braves (67-61, 2nd-T) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and the game will be started at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils’ starter will be Cliff Lee (12-9 (5-0), 2.63 (0.68)), who is coming off a win against the Mets on August 24, as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five, in the Phils’ 6-2 win. He will be trying to make it six wins in a row since being traded to the Phils. The Braves will counter with their ace Derek Lowe (12-8, 4.48), who is coming off a no-decision against the Marlins on August 23, where he pitched five innings, giving up three runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out three, in the Braves’ 7-5 win. He will be trying to match Lee pitch for pitch, to give him his first lost in the NL. The Phillies will be trying to further increase their lead in the East, while at the same time putting an early dagger into the Braves pennant hopes.

Phils took a tough lost as a ninth inning rally ends up being a Brad Lidge blown save as they lose to the Bucos, 6-4.

The Phils come back in their half of the ninth to take a 4-3 lead, only to watch it disappear in the bottom of the ninth as Brad Lidge commits his league leading ninth blown save of the year as the Phils lose to lowly Pirates, 6-4. Their lead in the NL East remains at seven games as the Braves lost, while the Marlins win.

The Phils took a quick 1-0 lead as Jimmy Rollins lead-off the game by hitting the first pitch into right center field for a lead-off home run, his sixteenth home run of the year. The Pirates would tie it up at one-all in the second as Ryan Doumit hits a lead-off home run of his own, his eighth home run of the season. The Phils regain the lead in the third as, Rollins hits his second lead-off home run of the night, also off the first pitch, his seventeenth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead. In the sixth, the Pirates took the lead as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Steve Pearce hits a two-run home run, knocking in Doumit, who had earlier walked, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead. In the ninth, the Phils would tie the game up at three-all as, with one man on, and with one out, pinch hitter Ben Francisco hits an RBI double, scoring Carlos Ruiz, who had earlier doubled. Two batters later, with a runner on second, and now with two men out, Shane Victorino hits an RBI triple, scoring Francisco, and giving the Phils a 4-3 lead. In the bottom of the ninth, the Phils gave the ball to their closer Brad Lidge, who was pitching for the fourth straight game, to end the game. Sadly, that did not happen. Luis Cruz started the inning off with a single. Cruz would then move up to second on a wild pitch. Pinch runner Brian Bixler then replaces Cruz at second base. Pinch hitter Brandon Moss then hits an RBI single to right, that Jayson Werth at first had a problem handling, before he threw it to the plate, too late to get Bixler, who, at one point, had a late start, before scoring the tying run, making it a four-four ballgame, as Lidge blew his ninth save of the season. On the play, Moss would move up to second base on Werth’s error. Andrew McCutchen then came to the plate, before he hit a 1-0 pitch into the center field seats, his eighth home run of the season, as he gave the Pirates the 6-4 walk-off win, as he scored Moss before him.

Joe Blanton received a no-decision as he had another quality start, as he gave up three runs on six hits and two walks, while he struck out seven, in six innings of work. Tyler Walker pitched two scoreless innings, giving up just two walks, as he struck out two. Brad Lidge took the lost as he blew his ninth save of the season, as he faced three batters, getting none of them out, as he gave up three runs on three hits and a wild pitch. His record is now 0-6 with an ERA of 7.33. Ross Ohlendorf also received a no-decision, as he pitched six and a third innings, giving up two runs on five hits and three walks, as he struck out six. Joel Hanrahan converted his eighth hold as he pitched two-thirds of an inning, striking out a batter. Phil Dumatrait recorded his first hold, as he also pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit. Jesse Chavez pitched a third of an inning as he recorded his eleventh hold, striking out a batter. Matt Chapps blew his fourth save of the year before getting the win as he pitched an inning, giving up two runs on three hits. His record is now 3-7 with an ERA of 6.38.

The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley leading the team with two hits each, with both of Rollins’ hits being solo home runs and one of Utley’s being a double. Shane Victorino, Ryan Howard, Carlos Ruiz, Eric Bruntlett and Ben Francisco had the Phils’ other five hits, with Victorino’s hits being a triple, knocking in a run, while Howard, Ruiz, Bruntlett and Francisco’s hits were all doubles, with Francisco knocking in a run. All but one of the Phils hits last night were for extra-bases, although the Phils did not get a key hit until the top of ninth, when they got two doubles and a triple to knock in what was thought to be the winning run, until Brad Lidge came in and lost the ballgame on six pitches. Charlie, Charlie, Charlie, when are you going to pull the trigger on Lidge? Yes, he helped the team win the World Series last season, but he is a disaster this year, and he could become a major detriment to the team’s chances of going deep into the playoffs this season, if something isn’t done.

The Phillies (72-51, 1st National League East) continue their three-games series with the Pirates (52-71, 6th National League Central) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at PNC Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils starter will be Cole Hamels (7-8, 4.78), who is coming off a lost against the Mets on August 21, where he went only five innings, giving up four runs on ten hits, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 4-2 lost. The Phils are hoping that he can come around against the Bucos. The Pirates will counter with Paul Maholm (7-7, 4.74), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on August 19, where he went seven and two-thirds innings, giving up a run on eight hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Pirates’ 3-1 win. He will be trying to improve his overall record. The Phillies plan to put what happened to them last night behind them, while hoping that Hamels can regain his stuff while pitching against the Pirates.

Two bombs by Ryan Howard is more than enough as Cliff Lee wins his fifth straight start since joining the Phils.

Two monster home runs by Ryan Howard is more than enough runs support for Cliff Lee as he wins his fifth straight start since being traded to the Phils, as the Phillies defeated the depleted Mets, 6-2, winning the series, before they head off to Pittsburgh. They increase their lead in the NL East over the Braves to seven games.

In the first, the Phils took the lead as, with two men on, and with only one man out, Ryan Howard hits a three-run bomb to left field, his thirty-third home run of the season, as he scored Shane Victorino, who had earlier been hit by the pitch, stole second and then went to third on Mets’ catcher Omir Santos’ throwing error, and Chase Utley, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Mets got a run back in their half of the first as Angel Pagan hits a soft pop fly to Utley, who misplayed the ball, dropping it for a fielding error, allowing Pagan to reach first and then head on to second base for a two-base error. Utley then committed a throwing error as he tried to throw out Pagan at second base, but threw the ball past Phils’ shortstop Eric Bruntlett towards the left field foul area, which would eventually allow Pagan to score on the second two-base error of the play, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead. This is the first time in his career that Utley has committed two errors in a ballgame, as well as two errors on one play. Three batters later, with a man on third and with one out, Fernando Tatis hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Gary Sheffield, who had earlier tripled, making it a 3-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils added to their lead in the third as, with a man on base, and with one out, Howard hits his second home run of the game, his thirty-fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot to right field, knocking in Jayson Werth, who had earlier walked, making it a 5-2 Phils lead. That would remain the lead until the top of the ninth as Phils’ starter Cliff Lee took control of the game from the second inning onwards, giving up only six hits, and two unearned runs, while he struck out five for seven strong innings. In the ninth, the Phils would add an insurance run as, with a runner on second, and with one out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Utley, who had earlier doubled, giving the Phils a 6-2 lead. That would end up being the final score as Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Cliff Lee got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up two unearned runs on six hits, while striking out five. His record is now 12-9 (5-0) with an ERA of 2.63 (0.68). Chan Ho Park pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he collected his eighth hold, striking out a batter. Brad Lidge also pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Bobby Parnell took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up five runs on four hits and three walks, while he struck out three. His record is now 3-6 with an ERA of 5.08. Ken Takahashi, Elmer Dessens and Billy Wagner combined for three scoreless innings, giving up only a hit (Takahashi) and a walk (Wagner), while striking out four batters (Takahashi (2), Wagner (2)). Pedro Feliciano pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out a batter. Brian Stokes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up only a walk, as he struck out a batter.

The Phils had only seven hits, with Ryan Howard and Ryan Ibanez leading the way with two hits apiece, with both of Howard’s hits being home runs, knocking in five of the Phils’ runs, while one of Ibanez’s hits was a double, knocking in the Phils’ other run. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and Eric Bruntlett had the other three Phils’ hits, with Utley’s hit being a double. Once again, the Phils’ had little offense, but got the big hit when they needed it, as they go on to Pittsburgh, after a successful start of their road trip in New York.

The Phillies (72-50, 1st National League East) continue their road trip with a three games series with the Pirates (51-71, 6th National League Central). The game will be played at PNC Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (8-6, 3.86), who is coming off a win against the D-backs on August 20, where he went eight innings, giving up three runs on ten hits, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 12-3 win. He will be trying to gain his ninth win, while starting the series against the lowly Bucos on a good note. The Pirates will counter with Ross Ohlendorf (11-8, 4.15), who is coming off a win against the Brewers on August 18, as he pitched seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and two walks, while striking out five, in the Pirates’ 5-2 win. He will be going for his twelfth win, while hoping to slow down the Phils. The Phils will be trying to take advantage of one of the worst teams in the NL, while trying to put even further distance between them and the NL East rivals.

An Unassisted Triple Play ends a crazy game as the Phils hang on to defeat the Mets, 9-7.

A crazy game ended in dramatic fashion as Jeff Francoeur hits into an unassisted triple play, the first time it have ever happened in a National League ballgame and for the second time in Major League history, as the Phils hung on to defeat the Mets, 9-7. The Phils’ lead in the NL East still remains at six-and-a-half games going into this afternoon’s game, as the Braves defeated the Marlins.

The Phils took an early lead in the first as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Jayson Werth hits a three-run bomb into left field, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and Shane Victorino, who had just walked, to give the Phils a 3-0 lead. The Phils then increased their lead to 6-0 as, with two men on, and now with two men out, Carlos Ruiz hits a three-run bomb of his own, also into left field, his eighth home run of the year, knocking in Pedro Feliz, who had earlier walked, and had gone to second base on Eric Bruntlett’s single, and Bruntlett, who was playing second base as Chase Utley was given the day off, who had earlier singled. Then, after Mets’ starter Oliver Perez had thrown three straight balls to Phils’ starter Pedro Martinez, Mets’ manager Jerry Manuel had seen enough of ‘Bad’ Perez, and replaced him with Nelson Figueroa, who then struck out Martinez on three pitches to end the inning. The Mets then came back as their lead-off man, Angel Pagan hits an inside-the-park home run, his fourth home run of the year, on a ball that got stuck under the rail in left-center field, which the umpires did not call a ground-rule double because of the stadium’s rule on those kinds of hit balls, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 6-1. Three batters later, the Mets made it 6-2 Phils as, with a man on base, and with one out, Jeff Francoeur hits an RBI triple, knocking in Daniel Murphy, who was earlier safe on a force out, 6-4. The Phils then increased their lead in the third as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Raul Ibanez, a single to Feliz, sending Ibanez up to second base, and a single to Bruntlett, sending Ibanez over to third, and Feliz to second, with only one man out, as Martinez hits an RBI single, knocking in Ibanez, and making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead, while sending Feliz on to third, and Bruntlett over to second. Rollins would then make it 8-2 Phils as he hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Feliz from third. The Mets got a run back in their half of the third as Pagan hits a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the season, as he cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-3. Three batters later, with runners on second and third, and with one man out, Cory Sullivan hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier singled, and then went to third on Murphy’s double, making it 8-4 Phils. That would remain the score until the seventh, as Martinez finally settled down in the middle innings. In the seventh, the Mets made it 8-5 as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Murphy hits an RBI single, knocking in Castillo, who had earlier walked, and then stole second. In the eighth, the Phils got that run back as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Matt Stairs, who had earlier reached base on a pinch walk, move up to second on a wild pitch, and then went to third on Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted, scored on a second wild pitch, making it 9-5 Phils. The Mets would get that run back in their half of the eighth as, with a runner on base, and with two men out, Anderson Hernandez hits an RBI double, knocking in Sullivan, who had earlier singled, and then stole second, making it a 9-6 Phils’ lead. Then, in the ninth, things got even wierder. In the top of the inning, with two men out, Bruntlett hits a fly ball to center field, that Francouer caught as he dived for it, possibly hurting his hand as he did so, but was originally declared a trapped ball, with Bruntlett ending up on third with a triple. But, after Francoeur informed the umpires that he had in fact caught the ball, which would later be backed up by instant replay of the catch, the umpires, after a conference, would reversed the call as the third base umpire, Tim Timmons, had a better view of the play. But, when one of the umpires went to explain their ruling to Phils’ manager Charlie Manuel, it would lead to Charlie being ejected for disputing the call. Then in the bottom of the ninth, with a runner on third, and with nobody out, Castillo reached base on a Bruntlett fielding error, which allowed Pagan, who had reached base earlier on a three-base error by Ryan Howard on a ball that Howard never touched, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 9-7. The next batter, Murphy, then reached base on an infield single, on a ball that Bruntlett was only able to stop behind second base, allowing Castillo to reach second. Then with Francouer batting, and with the count 2-2, J. Manuel sent both Castillo and Murphy running on the pitch. Francouer then hit a line drive up the middle, pass Phils’ closer Brad Lidge. Bruntlett, who had gone over to second to cover the bag on the back end of the double steal attempt, caught Francouer’s line drive for the first out of the inning, before his momentum caused him to tag second base, doubling up Castillo. Then he went after Murphy, soon tagging him for the third and final out, preserving the Phils’ win, and becoming the first National Leaguer to perform an unassisted triple play which ended a ballgame, and becoming the second major leaguer to do so since Johnny Nuen of the Tigers did it back on May 21, 1927 against the Indians.

Pedro Martinez won the game, going six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while he struck out five. His record is now 2-0 with an ERA of 5.14. Chad Durbin pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Ryan Madson also gave up a run, on two hits. Brad Lidge recorded his twenty-fifth save of the season, as he gave up an unearned run on a hit. Oliver Perez took the lost, as he lasted only two-thirds of an inning, giving up six runs on four hits and two walks. His record is now 3-4 with a 6.82 ERA. Nelson Figuera pitched two and a third innings, giving up two runs on four hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. Pat Misch pitched four scoreless innings, giving up just a hit, as he struck out four. Sean Green pitched an inning, giving up a run on one hit, two walks and two wild pitches, while he struck out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning.

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with, of all people, Eric Bruntlett, leading the way with thre hits, raising his low average to .154. Next was Jayson Werth with two hits, with one of them being a three-run home run, raising his average to .271. Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, Pedro Feliz, Carlos Ruiz and Pedro Martinez had the other five Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ hit being a double and Ruiz’s hit being a three-run home run. Besides the two three-run homers by Werth and Ruiz, Martinez knocked in a run, and Rollins plated a run with a sac fly. The offense took an early lead with a couple of three-run bombs, and then scored enough runs to hang on before Bruntlett’s unassisted triple play finally ended the game.

The Phils (71-50 1st) have just finished their four-games series with the Mets (57-68), with a 6-2 victory behind Cliff Lee, who is now 5-0 since coming from the American League. The Phils’ lead in the National League East is now at seven games as they head to Pittsburgh for a three-games series with the Pirates.

A two-run shot by Chase Utley help lead J.A. Happ to his tenth victory of the year.

As J.A. Happ pitched seven strong innings against the Mets, a two-run strike by Chase Utley help lead the Phils to a 4-1 win over New York, giving Happ his tenth win of the season. A Braves victory over the Marlins put the Phils back to being six-and-a-half games over both the Braves and the Marlins.

The Mets took the lead in the second as, with a runner on third, and with two men out, Omir Santos hits an RBI single, knocking in Jeff Fancoeur, who had earlier doubled, and had gone on to third as Daniel Murphy hits into a 4-6-3 double play, as Fernando Tatis, who had just walked, was wiped out at second, giving the Mets a 1-0 lead. The game then became a pitchers’ duel between Mets’ starter Tim Redding, who gave Phils’ batters fits for five innings, giving up only one hit, a single by Chase Utley with two outs in the third inning, and three walks, while Phils’ starter J.A. Happ refused to break, as the Mets would end up with eight scattered hits and two walks, before he finally leaves the game after pitching seven innings, giving up only the run in the second. The Phils’ bats, once Redding had left the game, then went to work. In the sixth, with a runner on base, and with noone out, Utley hits a two-run home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the year, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier walked, to give the Phils a 2-1 lead. Four batters later, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Pedro Feliz hits an RBI double, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier doubled, making it 3-1 Phils. The Phils then added an insurance run in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Ryan Howard, a Jayson Werth double, which sent Howard over to third base, and a Feliz intentional walk, with one man out, Carlos Ruiz hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Howard from third, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. That would be the final score as Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge would get out the last six Mets’ batters, with Lidge recording his twenty-fourth save of the season.

J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched seven strong innings, giving up only one run on eight hits and two walks, while striking out a batter. His record is now 10-2 with an ERA of 2.59. Ryan Madson pitched a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-first hold, as he struck out two batters. Brad Lidge also pitched a 1-2-3 inning as he recorded his twenty-fourth save of the year, also striking out two batters. Tim Redding received a no-decision as he pitched five strong innings, giving up only one hit and three walks, while he struck out four. Pat Misch took the lost as he threw his first blown save of the year, giving up two runs on one hit and a walk, in one-thirds of an inning. His record is now 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA. Sean Green pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up one run on two hits and a walk, while striking out one. Elmer Dessens pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Pedro Feliciano pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Brian Stokes pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up just a walk. Nelson Figueroa pitched a shut-out inning, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter.

The Phillies had only seven hits in the game, with Chase Utley and Jayson Werth leading the way with two hits each, with one of Utley’s hits being a two-run home runs, knocking in two runs, while one of Werth’s hits was a double. Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Pedro Feliz had the other three Phils’ hits, with Ibanez’s hit being a double, and Feliz’s hit being an RBI double. Carlos Ruiz knocked in the other run with a sacrifice fly. The Phils had few hits last night, but unlike Friday night, the hits came when they counted.

The Phils (70-50, 1st) continues their four-games series with the weaken Mets (57-66, 4th) with an afternoon game. The game will begin at 1:10 pm Eastern and will be played at Citi Field. The Phils will send to the mound Pedro Martinez (1-0, 4.50), who is coming off a no-decision against the Diamondbacks on August 18, as he pitched just three strong innings before the rains came down hard, giving up just a run on two hits, as he struck out three, in the Phils’ 5-1 win. He will be trying to show that last Tuesday’s start was just the start of a strong run by him. He will be opposed by Oliver Perez (3-3, 6.06), who is coming off a win against the Braves on August 18, as he pitched five innings, giving up four runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out  four, in the Mets’ 9-4 win. He will be trying to improve his record, while trying to pitch the Mets into at least a series tie. The Phils will be trying to win behind Pedro to set up a series win behind Cliff Lee tomorrow afternoon.

Blanton, Howard, Werth and company crushed the D-backs, 12-3, on way to a series sweep, before they head on north to face a weaken Mets club.

Massive home runs off of the bats of Jayson Werth and Ryan Howard and a strong pitching performance by Joe Blanton help lead the Phils to a sweep of the D-backs, as they defeated Arizona 12-3. The Phils, with the Marlins’ lost to the Astros, now hold a six-and-a-half games lead over both the fish and the Braves, as they head north to face a weaken Mets team for four games, and without having to face their major nemesis Johan Santana.

The Phils took an early lead in the first inning as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI double, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier tripled, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Chase Utley, who had just walked, over to third base. Two batters later, with two men still on base, and now with two outs, Ben Francisco hits an RBI single, scoring both Utley and Howard, giving the Phils a 3-0 lead. The D-backs got a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners, and with two men out, Alex Romero hits an RBI single, scoring Mark Reynolds, who had earlier singled, had moved up to second on Chad Tracy’s single, and had then gone to third on Trent Oeltjen’s force out, 4-6, wiping out Tracy at second, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while sending Oeltjen, who was safe at first on the force out, to go to third. The D-backs would make it 3-2 Phils in the fourth as, with a man on second and with nobody out, Miguel Montero hits an RBI double, knocking in Reynolds, who had earlier singled. The next batter, Tracy, would knock in Montero, tying the ballgame at three-all. The Phils would regain the lead in their half of the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Jayson Werth, who then reached second safely on a throwing error by D-backs’ third baseman Reynolds on a Francisco ground ball, and a walk to Carlos Ruiz, moving Werth up to third and Francisco over to second, with one man out, as Phils’ starter Joe Blanton hits an RBI ground out, 6-3, for the inning’s second out, as he brought home Werth to give the Phils’ a 4-3 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the fifth as, with one man on, and with one man out, Jayson Werth hits a two-run home run, his twenty-eighth home run of the season, knocking in Howard, who had earlier walked, making it a 6-3 Phils’ lead. The Phils then proceeded to break the game wide open in the sixth as Carlos Ruiz lead off the inning with a home run, his seventh home run of the year, giving the Phils a 7-3 lead. Four batters later, with two men on, and with one man out, Utley hits an RBI single, scoring Blanton, who had earlier singled, and had gone to second on Jimmy Rollins’ single, making it 8-3 Phils, while sending Rollins, who had earlier singled, over to third, while Utley would go to second base on the throw. The Phils then made 11-3 as Howard would hit a three-run bomb into the visitor’s bullpen in center field, his thirty-second home run of the season, knocking in both Rollins and Utley. The Phils would then make it 12-3 in the seventh as, with the bases loaded via a walk to Carlos Ruiz, a single by Blanton and an infield single by Rollins, and with nobody out, Victorino hits into an RBI force out, scoring Ruiz as Blanton was out at third base, 5-unassisted, while Rollins was safe at second and Victorino was safe at first. That would be the final score as Chad Durbin pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Joe Blanton got the victory as he pitched eight strong innings, giving up three runs on ten hits, while striking out four batters. His record is now 8-6 with an ERA of 3.86. Chad Durbin pitched a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out a batter. Doug Davis took the lost as he went five innings, giving up six runs, five of which were earned, on five hits and four walks, as he struck out six. His record is now 7-11 with a 3.77 ERA. Leo Rosales pitched a third of an inning, giving up three runs on three hits. Daniel Schlereth pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk. Esmerling Vasquez pitched an inning and a third, giving up a run on two hits and a walk. Chad Qualls pitched two-thirds of an inning, getting out both men whom he would face, striking out one.

The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and, surprise, Joe Blanton, leading the team with two hits each, with one of Howard’s hits being a double and the other one being a three-run blast, knocking in four of the Phils’ runs, while one of Werth’s two hits was a two-run home run, as he knocked in two runs. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, Ben Francisco and Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phils’ hit, with Victorino hitting a triple and Ruiz hitting a solo home run. Besides Howard’s four RBIs, Werth’s two and Ruiz’s one, Victorino knocked in a run on a force out, Utley would knock in one, Francisco would knock in two runs and Blanton would bring home one with a ground out. The Phils this time were able to score as many runs as they had hits in the ballgame, this time taking advantage of their scoring opportunities.

The Phillies (69-49, 1st) will now go to New York to face the Mets (56-65, 4th) for a four games series, starting with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citi Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Cole Hamels (7-7, 4.69), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on August 15, where he went six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and four walks, while striking out two, in the Phils’ 4-3 lost. He will be trying to get his stuff back. The Mets will counter with Mike Pelfrey (8-8, 4.75), who is coming off a no-decision of his own against the Giants on August 16, as he went seven and a third innings, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out five, in the Mets’ 3-2 win. He will be trying for his ninth win of the season. The Phillies will be trying to bury the Mets even lower in the standings, while at the same time trying to put some more distance between themselves and both the Braves and the Marlins, as the later two teams face each other for three games in Atlanta. 

Cliff Lee dominates as he throws a two-hitter against the D-backs, going 4-0 in four starts since being traded to the Phils.

For the fourth time in as many start, Cliff Lee dominates the opposing batters, this time by pitching a complete game two-hitter, as he allowed in only an unearned run, as the Phils defeat the D-backs, 8-1. They increase their lead over the Marlins to five-and-a-half games as the fish lose to the Astros.

The Phils took the lead in the third as, with a runner on first, and with one out, Chase Utley hits a two-run home run to center field, his twenty-fifth home run of the season, scoring ahead of him Shane Victorino, who had just walked, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The D-backs would cut the Phils’ lead in half in the fourth as, with a man on third base, and with one man out, Stephen Drew hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Ryan Roberts, who had earlier reached base on a Pedro Feliz fielding error as he misplayed the ball, going to second on the error, then reaching third on Augie Ojeda’s ground out, 4-3, making it 2-1 Phils. That would turn out to be as much offense as the D-backs will be able to mustard. In the fifth, the Phils would bust the game wide open as, with two men on, and with one man out, Ryan Howard hit a three-run bomb into left center field, his thirty-first home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier double, and had gone to third on Victorino’s single, and Victorino, who had earlier singled, to give the Phils a 5-1 lead. The Phils then made it 6-1 as Jayson Werth followed Howard with a solo home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the season. In the top of the sixth, with one man out, pinch hitter Chad Tracy got on base with a pinch hit single, ending Lee’s no-hit bit at five and a third innings, before being stranded at first as the next two D-back hitters flew out to right (Roberts) and struck out looking (Ojeda). The Phils would increase their lead to 7-1 in the bottom half of the inning as, with a man on second, and with two men out, Victorino hits an RBI double, scoring Lee, who had earlier got on base with a single, and then went to second on a wild pitch. In the seventh,the Phils added another run as, with one man out, Werth hits a solo home run, his second of the night and his twenty-seventh home run of the year, making it an 8-1 Phils’ lead. That would be more than enough for Lee, as he would only allow two more base runners after giving up the single, a hit batter in the top of the seventh (Rusty Ryal) and a single in the eighth (Alex Romero), mowing down the D-backs in the ninth inning with a fly out to right (Josh Whitesell), a fly out to left (Drew) and a strike out swinging (Mark Reynolds), as he recorded a two-hitter, and his fourth straight victory since becoming a Phil and his seventh straight win in his last seven starts.

Cliff Lee picked up the win as he pitched a complete game, his second since joining the Phils, as he gave up an unearned run on two hits and a hit batter, while striking out eleven batters, tying a career high. His record is now 11-9 (4-0) with an ERA of 2.72 (0.82). Dan Haren took the lost as he lasted only five innings, giving up six runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 12-8 with a 2.74 ERA. Clay Zavada pitched one and a third innings, giving up a run on two hits, while striking out two. Juan Gutierrez pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on one hit, while he struck out one. Blaine Boyer pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, as he struck out a batter.

The Phils had thirteen hits in the game, with Jayson Werth leading the way with three hits, with two of his hits being solo home runs, raising his average to .267. Shane Victorino, Chase Utley, and yes, Cliff Lee, followed with two hits apiece, with one of Shane’s hits being an RBI double, while one of Utley’s hits was a two-run home run. Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez and Paul Boko had the other four Phils’ hits, with Rollins’ being a double, and Howard’s being a three-run bomb which broke the game wide open. All but one of the Phils’ run came via the long ball, something the Phils do very well, but they will need to rely on less if they hope to win their second straight league title and world series championship. 

The Phillies (68-49, 1st National League East) will conclude their short home stand with the Diamondbacks (54-67, 4th National League West) with a night game. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm. The Phils will send to the mound Joe Blanton (7-6, 3.88), who is coming off a no-decision against the Braves on August 14, where he pitched seven innings, giving up just two runs, only one of which was earned, on seven hits and a walk, while striking out two, in the Phils’ 3-2 win. He will be trying for his first win in about a month, while also going for the series sweep. He will be opposed by Doug Davis (7-10, 3.59), who is coming off a no-decision of his own against the Dodgers on August 15, as he went six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and four walks, while striking out two, in the D-backs’ 4-3 win. He will be trying to prevent the sweep. The Phils will be trying to end the short home stand on a positive note, before going onto the road to face the hurting Mets for four games, and then the lowly Pirates for three, with a good chance to increase their lead in the East over the Marlins by the time they come back home.

Jamie Moyer picks up a win in relief as he pitch six shut out innings in relief of Pedro Martinez after a rain delay.

Jamie Moyer picks up his eleventh win of the season after pitching six shut out innings for his first win in relief since pitching in relief for the Red Sox on May 15, 1996, as he took over for Pedro Martinez, who was taken out of the game after pitching only three innings because of a sixty-six minutes rain delay, as the Phils defeat the D-backs, 5-1.

The D-backs took the lead in the first as their lead-off man, Stephen Drew, hits a 3-2 changeup into right field for his eleventh home run of the season, giving the D-backs a 1-0 lead. After Ryan Roberts followed with a single, Pedro Martinez buckled down, and then got the next eight batters out, starting with a double play ball, 1-6-3, off of the bat of Gerardo Parra, wiping out Roberts at second base. The Phillies, meantime, blew opportunities to score runs in the first two innings against D-backs’ starter Jon Garland. Then in the bottom of the third, the rains came down in buckets, delaying the ballgame for sixty-six minutes. When play resumed, the Phillies’ offense went to work. With a man on base, and with two men out, Jayson Werth tied the ballgame up at one-all with an RBI double, knocking in Chase Utley, who had earlier been hit by the pitch. Then two batters later, the Phils took the lead on a Pedro Feliz RBI single, scoring Werth, making it 2-1 Phils, while sending Raul Ibanez, who had earlier been intentionally walked, over to third, before Feliz would move on up to second on D-backs’ left fielder’s Roberts throwing error. Carlos Ruiz then made it 3-1 Phils as he hits an RBI single to right, scoring Ibanez. But, Feliz, who was following Ibanez, was tagged out at the plate, 9-2, for the inning’s final out. In the top of the fourth, the Phils sent out Jamie Moyer in relief of Martinez. After giving up a single to Garland, Moyer would proceed to get out the next eleven batters before giving up another hit. In the meantime, the Phils would add to their lead. In the fifth, the Phils made it 4-1 as, with one out, Werth hits a solo home run, his career high twenty-fifth home run of the year. The Phils then made it 5-1 in the sixth as Carlos Ruiz started the inning off by hitting a solo home run, his sixth home run of the year. That, and later singles to Moyer, his second hit of the night, and to Shane Victorino, with one man out, would lead to Garland’s exit, and his replacement by Daniel Schlereth. Schlereth proceeded to throw a wild pitch that would move Moyer up to third and Victorino up to second base. After Utley is walked to load the bases, Schlereth is able to get out of the inning by first striking out Ryan Howard, and then getting Werth to ground out, 5-3. In the seventh, Moyer would give up his second hit of the night, a two-out single to Miguel Montero. But he then gets out the next seven batters, ending the game as Parra lined out to Werth for the final out, recording the win.

Pedro Martinez received a no-decision, as he pitched only three innings, being taken out after the rain delay, as he gave up only a run on two hits, as he struck out three. Jamie Moyer picked up the win in relief, as he went six strong innings, giving up just two hits, while striking out five. His record is now 11-9 with a 5.22 ERA. Jon Garland took the lost as he pitched five and a third innings, giving up five runs on eleven hits, a hit batter and two walks, as he struck out three. His record is now 6-11 with a 4.42 ERA. David Schlereth, Leo Rosales and Jon Rauch combined for three and two-thirds shut out innings, giving up just one hit (Rauch) and two walks (Schlereth and Rosales with a walk each), while they struck out three (one batter for each pitcher).

The Phils had twelve hits in the game, with Carlos Ruiz leading the way with three hits, one of which was a solo home run, scoring two RBIs, as he raised his batting average to .235. He was followed by Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth, and, of all people, Jamie Moyer, with two hits each, with Werth’s two hits being a double and a solo home run, also knocking in two RBIs. Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Pedro Feliz each followed with a hit, with Feliz knocking in the final Phils’ run. Although scoring several runs last night, the Phils are still having problems scoring runners in scoring position, as they left the bases loaded in both the first and sixth innings.

The Phils (67-49, 1st National League East) continue their short home stand tonight with the Diamondbacks (54-66, 4th National League West) with a night game. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound their new ace Cliff Lee (10-9 (3-0), 2.86 (1.13)), who is coming off a strong start against the Cubs on August 13, as he pitched eight innings, giving up only one run on six hits and three walks, while he struck out eight, in the Phils’ 6-1 win. He will try to make it four straight wins since joining the Phils from the Indians, while giving the Phils a series win at home. The D-backs will try to counter with Dan Haren (12-7, 2.50), who is coming off a win against the Dodgers on August 14, where he went eight innings, giving up a run on six hits and two walks, while striking out eight, in the D-backs’ 4-1 win. He will be trying to see if he can derail the Lee’ Express. The Phils will be trying to give Lee some more run support while Lee will be seeing if he can continue his dominance of National League hitters.

Just to let everyone know…

Today is my 48th birthday. Happy B-day to
me!!!

Two bombs from Ryan Howard power the Phils to a 4-1 victory over the Braves.

Two bombs from the big man Ryan Howard help to power the Phils to a series win over the Braves, as they defeat Atlanta, 4-1. The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins in the NL East is now four-and-a-half games as Florida splits a make up doubleheader with the Rockies.

The Phils took the lead in the second inning as Ryan Howard hits a lead-off home run, his twenty-ninth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Braves would tie the game up at one-all in the fourth as, with two men out, Matt Diaz hits a solo home run, his seventh home run of the season. The Phils would regain the lead in the sixth as, with two men on base, and with one man out, Howard hits a three-run home run, his thirtieth home run of the year, knocking in Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino, who had both singled, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead. That would end up being the final score as J.A. Happ, despite not having his best stuff, would pitch himself out of trouble for seven and two-thirds inning, giving up only three hits to the Braves, while the relief staff would only give up a single and a walk in an inning and a third of work, before Brad Lidge would record his twenty-third save of the year by getting Omar Infante to pop up to Chase Utley for the final out.

J.A. Happ got the win as he pitched seven and two-thirds innings, giving up only one run on three hits and six walks, while striking out three. His record is now 9-2 with an ERA of 2.66, making himself a strong candidate for this year’s Rookie of the Year honors. Ryan Madson pitched a third of an inning, giving up a single. while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre worked two-thirds of an inning, giving up a walk. Brad Lidge got his twenty-third save of the year, after blowing his eighth save of the season the previous afternoon, by getting out the only batter he would face. Javier Vazquez took the lost, as he pitched seven innings, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks, while he sruck out seven. His record is now 10-8 with a 2.99 ERA. Eric O’Flaherty and Kris Medlen combined for two scoreless innings, giving up just one hit (O’Flaherty) and a walk (also O’Flaherty), while striking out a batter (Medlen),

The Phils had just seven hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the way with three hits, a single and two home runs, a solo shot and a three-run bomb, knocking in all four Phils runs, as he raised his average to .269. Shane Victorino was next with two hits, one of which was a double, followed by Jimmy Rollins and Pedro Feliz with a hit apiece. The Phils missed sweeping the Braves because of some bad fielding in the ninth inning of Saturday’s ballgame, but they do come home from a very successful road trip, winning all but one of the games, coming back nicely after being swept by the Marlins the previous weekend. They will now come home for a three games series with the Diamondbacks before going back on the road. The short home stamd will start tomorrow night.

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