Countdown to the Playoffs, Game # 9: Phils hold on to beat the Mets, 3-2, increasing their winning streak to eleven games while dropping their magic number down to 2.

Behind the pitching of Joe Blanton and the back end of the bullpen (Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge), the Phils beat the Mets, 3-2, increasing their winning streak to eleven games, while reducing their magic number to winning their fourth straight Eastern Division title to two games as the Braves lose to the Nationals in Washington.

The Phils took the lead in the first as Shane Victorino hits a lead-off home run, his eighteenth home run of the season, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the second as, with one man on, and with two men out, Victorino hits an RBI double, knocking in Wilson Valdez, who had earlier singled, and then went up to second on Joe Blanton’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead. The Mets tied the game up at two-all in the fourth as, with a runner on first, and with two men out, Angel Pagan hit a two-run home run, knocking in Ike Davis, who had earlier singled. The Phils retook the lead in their half of the fourth as, with a runner on second, and with nobody out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, knocking in Raul Ibanez, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second on Josh Thole’s passed ball, giving the Phils’ a 3-2 lead. This would turn out to be the final score, as first Blanton, then Ryan Madson and finally Brad Lidge would hold off the Mets, with Lidge getting pinch hitter Jesus Feliciano to strike out, swinging, with runners on the corners, to end the game.

Joe Blanton gets the win as he pitches seven innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out six. His record is now 8-6 with a 4.94 ERA. Ryan Madson collects his fifteenth hold of the season as he pitches a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Brad Lidge collects his twenty-seventh save of the year as he pitches a scoreless inning, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. R.A. Dickey took the lost as he pitches six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks, while striking out four. His record is now 11-8 with a 2.92 ERA. Elmer Dessens, Pedro Feliciano and Manny Acosta combine for two scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Feliciano), while striking out two (Feliciano and Acosta one each) between them.

The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco both leading the team with two hits apiece, with Victorino’s hits being a solo home run and a RBI double, knocking in two runs, while Polanco’s hits were both singles. Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Ruiz and Wilson Valdez had the other five Phils’ hits, all singles, with Ruiz knocking in the other Phil run. The offense once again had enough hits to beat their opponent, increasing their winning streak, while at the same time lowering their magic number.

The Phils (93-61, 1st) continued their final home stand of the regular season with the Mets (74-79, 4th) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phils will send to the mound Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.78), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on September 18, as he pitched six innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out three, in the Phils’ 5-2 win. In his last three starts, his record is 1-2, as he had pitched fifteen innings, giving up nine runs on eighteen hits and four walks, while striking out six. He will be trying to either help shrink the Phils’ magic number to one, or to help them clinch, depending on what the Braves do against the Nationals this afternoon. The Mets will counter with Dillon Gee (1-1, 1.80), who is coming off a lost to the Braves on September 18, as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out three, in the Mets’ 4-2 lost. In his previous three starts, his record is 1-1 with a no-decision, as he pitched twenty innings, giving up four runs on thirteen hits and ten walks, while striking out ten. He will be trying to spoil the Phils’ night, and put the clinching party, if it is to occur, on hold for one more day. The Phils will be trying to either bring their magic number down to one game, or clinch their fourth straight NL East title, depending on what the Braves do against the Nationals this afternoon. 

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