33 games in 31 days: Game #18: The Phils lower their magic number to win the East to three games as they defeat the Marlins, 3-1.

The Phils reduce their magic number to win their fifth straight Eastern Division title to three games, as they defeat the Marlins, 3-1.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and with one man out, Hunter Pence hits an RBI double, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier singled, then went to second base on Anibal Sanchez’s balk, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead. The Phils then may it a 2-0 lead as, now with two men out, Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, scoring Pence. The Marlins got a run back in the fifth as Logan Morrison hits a lead-off home run, his twentieth home run of the season, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 2-1. The Phils added to their lead in the seventh as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Brian Schneider, a walk by Michael Martinez, sending Schneider up to second base, and a single by pinch hitter Chase Utley, moving both men up a base, and with two men out, Placido Polanco forced in a run with an RBI walk, scoring Schneider, while moving both Martinez and Utley up a base, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead. The Marlins threaten to score a run in the eighth as, with two men on, and with one man out, Omar Infante, who had earlier doubled, tried to score on Gaby Sanchez’s single to left, but is cut down at the plate by a strong throw from left fielder Ibanez, as Schneider tagged him out, for the inning’s second out, while pinch hitter Mike Stanton, who had just walked, would stop at second base. After Morrison loads up the bases with a walk, Brad Lodge gets out of the inning by striking out Joe Buck, swinging. The Marlins threaten again in the ninth as the first two batters, Bryan Pattersen and Donnie Murphy, both got on base via singles, with Pattersen stopping at second base, before moving up to third and second base, respectively, on pinch hitter John Baker’s sacrifice bunt, 1-4. But Ryan Madson would record his thirty-first save of the season by first striking out Emilio Bonifacio, swinging, for the inning’s second out, before ending the game by getting Infante to foul out to the catcher.

Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.22) got the win as he pitched five strong innings, giving up a run on two hits. while he struck out six. Michael Stutes received his eleventh hold of the season as he threw two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Antonio Bastardo recorded his seventeenth hold of the season as he pitched a third of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk. Brad Lidge received his sixth hold of the year as he went two-thirds of an inning, giving up a hit and a walk, while striking out a batter. Ryan Madson recorded his thirty-first save of the year as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up two hits, while striking out a batter. Anibal Sanchez (8-8, 3.62) took the lost as he went six innings, giving up two runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out seven. Ryan Webb pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on two hits and two walks, while striking out two. Chris Hatcher pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Michael Dunn and Jose Ceda combine for a scoreless inning, giving up three hits (Dunn), while striking out a batter (Dunn) between them.

The Phils had nine hits in the ballgame, with Placido Polanco (Singles, RBI) and Raul Ibanez (Single, Double, RBI) both leading the team with two hits each. Hunter Pence (Double, RBI), Jimmy Rollins (Single), Brian Schneider (Single), pinch hitter Chase Utley (Single) and pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz (Single), had the other five Phils’ hits.

The Phils (96-51, 1st) will conclude their short make-up doubleheader with the Marlins (67-82, 5th) with the night half of the day/night doublebill. The game will be played at Citizen Bank Park and will start at 7:35 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Cliff Lee (16-7, 2.44), who is coming off a no-decision against the Brewers on September 10, as he went seven innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on six hits and two walks, while striking out seven, in the Phils’ 3-2 extra-innings win. He will be out to cut the magic number down to 2. The Marlins will counter with Alex Sanabia (0-0,0.00), who will be making his first start of 2011, after pitching an inning of relief against the Pirates on September 9, giving up a hit and two walks, while striking out two. He hopes to be to stay even with Lee. The Phils will be out to cut down their magic number to win the East to two games.

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