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The Phils increase their winning streak to five games as they stop a ninth inning rally to defeat the Cubs, 8-7.

The Phils hold off a Cubs’ rally in the ninth to win their fifth straight game, and their sixth in seven games, as they defeat the Cubs, 8-7.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with two men on, and with two men out, Carlos Ruiz hits an RBI single, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who had started the game off with a single, then moved up to second base on Juan Pierre’s slow ground out, 6-3, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Shane Victorino, who had earlier walked, up to second base. The Cubs would tie the game up at one-all in their half of the first as, with a man on third, and with one man out, Starlin Castro hits a sacrifice fly, scoring David DeJesus, who had started off the inning with a double, then moved up to third on Tony Campana’s sacrifice bunt, 1-3. The Phils retook the lead in the second as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Roy Halladay, a walk by Rollins, moving Halladay up to second base, and a single by Pierre, moving both runners up a base, and with one man out, Victorino hits an RBI ground out on a soft grounder to first, three-unassisted, scoring Halladay, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead, while sending Rollins up to third base, and Pierre on to second base. The Phils then took a 4-1 lead as Hunter Pence hits a two-run single, scoring both Rollins and Pierre. The Phils then made it a 5-1 lead in the fifth as, with a man on third, and with nobody out, Ruiz hits an RBI single, scoring Pence, who had started the inning off with a double, then moved up to third on Cubs’ pitcher Casey Coleman’s wild pitch. The Cubs got a run back in the seventh as Castro hits a lead-off home run, his second home run of the year, making it a 5-2 Phils’ lead. The Phils increased their lead in the eighth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Halladay, who had started the inning off with a single, moved up to second base on Rollins’ walk, then move over to third base on Cubs’ catcher Wellington Castillo’s passed ball, and Rollins, who had earlier walked, then moved to second base on Castillo’s passed ball, would both score on Cubs’ pitcher Blake Parker’s throwing error of Pence’s grounder back to the mound, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead, while Pence would end up on second base on the costly error. The Phils then took an 8-2 lead as Ruiz hits an RBI double, scoring Pence. The Cubs would get a run back in their half of the eighth as Castillo would hit a lead-off home run, his first home run of the season, cutting the Phils’ lead down to 8-3. The Cubs then made it an 8-6 Phils’ lead as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to lead-off man Campana, Campana moving up to second base on defensive indifference, a walk to pinch hitter Jeff Baker, and Ian Stewart being hit by a pitch, moving both men up a base, and with two men out, Castillo hits a three-run double, knocking in Campana, Baker and Stewart. The Cubs then cut the Phils’ lead down to 8-7 as Darwin Barney hits an RBI single, scoring Castillo. That would end up being the final score as Johnathan Papelbon recorded his eleventh save of the season by getting Reed Johnson to ground out, 5-3, for the game’s final out.

Roy Halladay (4-3, 3.22) got the win as he went eight innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, while striking out four. Jake Diekman pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up four runs on a hit, two walks, and a hit batter. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his eleventh save of the year as he went a third of an inning, giving up a hit. Chris Volsatd (0-6, 7.46) took the loss as he pitched just two innings, as he gave up four runs on six hits and three walks, while striking out just two batters. Casey Coleman pitched four innings, giving up a run on four hits, a wild pitch and a walk, while striking out two. Blake Parker pitched one and two-thirds innings, giving up three unearned runs on two hits and a passed ball, along with a very costly throwing error, while he struck out two. Michael Bowden pitched an inning and a third, giving up two hits, while striking out a batter.

The Phils had fourteen hits in the game, with Carlos Ruiz (3 Singles, Double, 3 RBIs) leading the team with four hits, as he raised his average to .363. Juan Pierre (Singles), Hunter Pence (Single, Double, 2 RBIs) and Roy Halladay (Singles) followed with two hits apiece. Jimmy Rollins, Hector Luna, Freddy Galvis and pinch hitter Mike Fontenot had the other four Phils’ hit, all singles. Shane Victorino knocked in the final Phil RBI with a ground out, while the last two Phils’ runs came in on a two-base throwing error. The Phils also collected five walks in the game, along with two stolen bases as part of a double steal in the first inning by Victorino (12) and Ruiz (1).

The Phils (20-19, 5th National League East) will begin their first Interleague Play series with a night game tonight against the Red Sox (18-20, 5th American League East). The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and is to start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will send to the mound Cole Hamels (5-1, 2.28), who is coming off a win against the Padres on May 13, as he threw seven strong innings, giving up a run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five, in the Phils’ 3-2 win. He will be going out to win his sixth start while trying to continue his early season dominance. The BoSox will counter with Daniel Bard (3-4, 4.30), who is coming off a win against the Indians on May 13, as he threw six strong innings, giving up a run on six hits and four walks, while striking out two, in the Red Sox’s 12-1 rout. He will be trying to start off the series for the Red Sox with a win. The Phils will be looking for their sixth straight victory since their fiasco series with the Mets.

The Phils will conclude their four-game set with the Cubs with a night game.

The Phils (10-12, 4th East) will conclude their four-game series with the Cubs (8-14, 6th Central), as they try to recover from being owned by Cubs’ starter Matt Garza (2-1, 2.67) yesterday for seven innings, being able to get only one hit and a walk  against him in the ballgame, while the Cubs would be able to score single runs in the second, third and fourth innings off of Phils’ starter Kyle Kendrick (0-2, 6.59), who had a much better outing then he did April 23, against the D-backs, before getting two runs off of reliever David Herndon in the eighth. The Phils would finally get a run in the ninth off of a hit and three walks given up by Cubs’ reliever Carlos Marmol, before he would finally put out the fire. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and is to start at 7:05 pm EDT.

The Phils will send to the mound Vance Worley (2-1, 2.16), who is coming off a victory over the D-backs on April 24, as he went six strong innings, giving up only a run on five hits and a walk, while striking out six, in the Phils’ 8-5 win. Against the Cubs, Worley has a career record of 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA, while he had struck out seven Cubs. He will be trying to lead the Phils to a series split with the Cubs. The Cubs will counter with Chris Volstad (0-3, 6.14), who is coming off a lost against the Cardinals on April 25, where he went six innings, giving up four runs on six hits, while striking out just two, in the Cubs’ 5-1 lost. Against the Phils, he has a record of 2-5 with a 5.88 ERA, while he had struck out 45 Phils. He will be trying to get his first win for 2012, while hoping that the Phils’ offense won’t use him as a punching bag. The Phils will be trying to end the month of April, their first losing April since 2007, on a winning note, before going onto the road to meet the Braves and the Nats.

The Phils lose a close one to the Giants, 2-1.

The Phils end up losing a close one to the Giants, 2-1.

The Giants took the lead in the third as, with one man on, and with two men out, Aaron Rowand hits an RBI triple, scoring Eli Whiteside, who had earlier singled, giving the Giants a 1-0 lead. The Giants added to their lead in the seventh as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Nate Schierholtz hits an RBI double that right fielder Dom Brown was unable to catch, knocking in Jeff Keppinger, who had earlier doubled, giving the Giants a 2-0 lead, while sending to third Cody Ross, who had just walked. The Phils then cut the Giants’ lead in their half of the seventh as, with one man on, and with one man out, Brown hits an RBI single, on a ball that got past first baseman Aubrey Huff, scoring Shane Victorino, who had earlier reached second base on a fielding error as catcher Whiteside is unable to catch his pop up in front of home plate, although the error should have been given to pitcher Matt Cain, making it a 2-1 Giants’ lead. That would be the final score as Brian Wilson collected his thirty-second save of the year as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

Cole Hamels (12-6. 2.61) took the lost as he pitched seven and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out six. Brad Lidge pitched a third of an inning, walking a batter, while striking out one. Antonio Bastardo pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two. Matt Cain (9-6, 2.81) got the win as he pitched eight innings, plus one batter, as he gave up an unearned run on four hits and a walk, while striking out one. Javier Lopez received his sixteenth hold of the year as he pitched a scoreless inning. Brian Wilson converted his thirty-second save of the season as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth.

The Phils had only four hits in the game, singles by Shane Victorino, Raul Ibanez  and Dom Brown (RBI) and a double by Michael Martinez, as the Giants’ pitching staff held them off .

The Phils (65-38, 1st East) will conclude their three-game series with the Giants (60-44, 1st West) with a night game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and it will start at 7:05 pm EDT. The Phils will start Kyle Kendrick (5-4, 3.45), who is coming off a n0-decision against the Padress on July 23, as he went five and two-thirds innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out one, in the Phils’ 8-6 win. He will be trying to give the Phils a shot at another series win. The Giants plan to counter with their ace Tim Lincecum (8-8, 2.90), who is coming off a lost against the Dodgers on July 20, as he went seven innings, giving up a run on five hits and four walks, while striking out seven, in the Giants’ 1-0 lost. He will also be trying to give the Giants a shot at the series win. The Phils wil be trying to see if they can take advantage of Lincecum as he comes back from a stomach flu.

Roy Halladay win his tenth start of the season as he threw a complete game as the Phils defeat the A’s, 3-1.

Roy Halladay wins his 63rd career complete game start, becoming the second National League starter to reach ten wins, as the Phils defeat the A’s, 3-1.

The Phils took the lead in the first as, with runners on second and third, and with nobody out, Shane Victorino hits an RBI single, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who had earlier singled, then stopped at third on Placido Polanco’s double, giving the Phils a 1-0 lead, while sending Polanco, who had just doubled, on to third base. One batter later, now with runners on the corners, Ryan Howard hits into a 4-6-3 doubleplay, wiping out Victorino for the inning’s first out, as Polanco scored from third, giving the Phils a 2-0 lead.  The A’s would cut the Phils’ lead in the fourth as, with a runner on second, and with two men out, Ryan Sweeney hits an RBI single as Rollins was unable to catch his pop out to short center field, than to Wilson Valdez not giving him enough room to attempt a catch, knocking in Coco Crisp, who had earlier singled, then moved up to second base on Hideki Matsui’s ground out, 4-3, cutting the Phils’ lead to 2-1. The Phils added to their lead in the fifth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Rollins and Polanco, with Rollins stopping at third, a walk by Howard, sending Polanco on to second base, and with two men out, Ben Francisco hits an RBI infield single towards third base, that A’s starter Josh Outman picked up, and then looked towards third, where there was no one near the bag, before throwing to first, as Francisco beat the throw, allowing Rollins to score, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead, while both Polanco and Howard would move a base, leaving the bases still loaded. The A’s tried to rally in the seventh as, with one man out, they put runners on second and third on a Scott Sizemore double, who sent Conor Jackson, who had started the inning off with a lead-off single, to third. But Halladay got out of the inning by first getting Landon Powell to pop out to second for the inning’s second out. He then ended the inning by striking out pinch hitter David DeJesus with a called third strike. That would be the A’s only major threat as Halladay finished the game with Sweeney hitting into a 6-3 doubleplay, wiping out at second Jackson, who had earlier singled with one man out.

Roy Halladay (10-3, 2.40) received the win as he pitched a complete game, giving up a run on eight hits, while striking out four. Josh Outman (3-2, 3.10) took the lost as he pitched six innings, giving up three runs on eight hits and two walks, while he struck out four. Brad Ziegler pitched two scoreless innings, giving up two hits and a walk, while striking out one.

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Jimmy Rollins leading the team with four hits, three singles and a double, raising his average to .260. Placido Polanco followed with two hits, a single and a double. Shane Victorino (Single, RBI), Ben Francisco (Single, RBI), Raul Ibanez (Single) and Roy Halladay (Single), had the other four Phils’ hits. Ryan Howard knocked in the other Phil run when he hit into a doubleplay, receiving no RBI.

The Phils (49-30, 1st NL East) will take tomorrow off, before facing the Red Sox (45-32, 2nd AL East?) for a three game interleague play series, starting Tuesday night.

The Phils end spring training on a low note as they lose to the Pirates, 4-1.

Spring training ends on a low note for the Phils as they lose to the Pirates, 4-1.

The Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the second as, with one man on, and with one man out, Pedro Alvarez hits a two-run home run, his second home run of the spring, knocking in Lyle Overbay, who had earlier doubled. The Phils cut the Pirates lead to 2-1 in their half of the second as, with one man on base, and with one man out, Wilson Valdez hits an RBI ground out, 3-1, knocking in Ben Francisco, who had earlier reached based on a two-base throwing error by third baseman Alvarez, then moved up to third on Carlos Ruiz’s ground out, 6-3. The Pirates then increased their lead in the sixth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Jordy Mercer hits an RBI single, scoring Steve Pearce, who had earlier doubled, making it a 3-1 Pirates’ lead. The Pirates added an insurance run in the ninth as, with two men on, and with two men out, John Bowker hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Josh Rodriguez, who had earlier singled, then went to third on pinch hitter Josh Harrison’s single, giving the Pirates a 4-1 lead, while moving Harrison, who had earlier singled, up to second base. That would be the final score as the Phils were unable to develop a rally in the bottom of the ninth.

Cole Hamels (1-2, 6.67) took the lost as he pitched three innings, giving up two runs on four hits, while he struck out three. Jose Contreras pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while stiking out one. Joe Blanton pitched three innings, giving up a run on four hits, while striking out three batters. Kyle Kendrick pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Juan Perez pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up a run on three hits. Antonio Bastardo pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Charlie Morton (2-0, 2.63) got the win as he pitched five innings, giving up an unearned run on one hit and two walks, while striking out two. Michael Crotta picked up his third spring hold as he pitched a scoreless inning, while striking out a batter. Chris Resop recorded his fourth spring hold as he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Joel Hanrahan recorded his third hold of the spring, as he gives up a hit. Jared Hughes received his first save of the spring as he pitched a scoreless ninth, walking a batter.

The Phils had only two hits in the game, a single by Jimmy Rollins and a triple by Pete Orr. Wilson Valdez knocked in the only Phil run on a ground out.

The Phils ended the spring with a 21-14 record.

The Phils will begin the 2011 season with a three-game set at Citizens Bank Park against the Houston Astros, starting on April 1, weather permitting. The first game, opening day, is to begin about 1:05 pm Eastern Daylight Time. The Phils’ starter will be their ace, 2010 NL Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay, who is coming off a 21-10 season, with an ERA of 2.44. He will be trying to continue his 2010 season, and his well pitched spring by trying to start the Phils’ 2011 season with a win at home. The Astros will counter with ex-Phil Brett Myers, who is coming off a 14-8 record during his first season with Houston, with a 3.14 ERA. He will be looking for his second win against his old team.

Phils have released Luis Castillo, have decided to keep rule fiver Martin Martinez.

The Phils have recently announced that they have just released Luis Castillo, deciding not to keep the former Met. The Phils obviously did not see enough from Castillo to keep him as their regular second baseman while Chase Utley continue to recover from his injury. Which means that Wilson Valdez will be, for the time being, the Phils’ regular second baseman.

The Phils manager, Charlie Manuel, has also announced that he plan to keep Michael Martinez, whom the Phils have gotten from the Washington Nationals via last year’s Rule 5 draft. The rookie infielder will be with the team for the upcoming season.

Martinez’s staying was no surprised, since he did rather well during spring training. As for Castillo, the Phils obviously did not see anything from him to pick up his contract.

Looks like the roster for 2011 is almost fixed.

A Brief History of Phils’ Opening Day/Night via Phillies.com

A brief history of the Phillies on Opening Day

Philadelphia Phillies 

Hmm, time for a short history lesson, folks.

The 129th season opener in Phillies franchise history is set for Friday afternoon against the Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Back on May 1, 1883, the Phillies lost their initial opener, 4-3, to Providence at Recreation Park, 24th and Columbia Avenues, when the Grays scored four runs in the eighth to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Attendance was an estimated 1,200. Future Hall of Famer Charles (Old Hoss) Radbourn was the winner, the first of 48 victories for him that season. John Coleman was the loser, the first of his 48 defeats (13 wins).

Since then, 1,880 players have worn the Phillies uniform, and 128 million fans have attended games in Philadelphia.

The initial loss seemed to set the tone, as the Phillies have won 57 openers and lost 69, with a pair of ties (1923 at Brooklyn, 5-5, in 14 innings, and 1924 vs. Boston, 6-6, in 11 innings.).

Friday’s opener marks only the third time in Astros history that they have started a season against the Phillies. The most logical reasoning is that they are in the NL Central. So, the Phillies will see Houston at home in the first three games and not the rest of the season.

The Phillies are 2-0 all time in openers vs. Houston, winning 2-0 behind Chris Short on April 12, 1965, the very first regular season game in the Astrodome. Dick Allen hit the Dome’s first home run during the season. The other Phillies win came on April 5, 1993, also in the Astrodome. Terry Mulholland was the winner in a 3-1 final.

Of the previous 128 openers, 12 have gone extra innings, with the most recent being a 5-3 loss to the Braves at Citizens Bank Park in 2007.

Other Opening Day notes:

• The Phillies are 1-1 in openers played on April 1 (no foolin’), a 3-0 Curt Schilling win in Los Angeles in 1997 and a 7-2 setback at the hands of the Braves in 2002.

• The latest season opener for the Phillies was May 2, an 8-2 defeat against Providence in 1885.

• Roy Halladay is bidding to win back-to-back season openers for the Phillies. The last pitcher to do that was Art Mahaffey, 1962-63. Halladay was the winner in an 11-1 romp at Washington a year ago, which started a new decade.

• Last decade, the Phillies were 3-7, losing the last four.

• As far as Citizens Bank Park season openers, the Phillies are 1-4.

• Hall of Famer Robin Roberts has the most Opening Day wins for the Phillies, five, and most losses, six.

• The Phillies have had a winning pitcher named Blanton, only it was Cy and not Joe, the current starter. Cy Blanton was the 1941 winner against the Braves on April 15. Wonder if he had to file his income tax forms that same day? (H/T Phillies.com)

All I can say is, I hope Halladay will be able to make the Phils 3-0 against the Astros in opening day games between the two clubs.

Despite a so-so performance from Roy Oswalt, the Phils win their next to last spring training game, defeating the Pirates, 8-5.

In spite of a subpar pitching performance by Roy Oswalt, the Phils defeat the Pirates, 8-5, winning their next to last spring training game.

The Pirates took the lead in the first as, with two men on, and with one man out, Lyle Overbay hits a two-run double, scoring Jose Tabata, who had earlier walked, went to second base on Neil Walker’s single, then went to third on Andrew McCutchen’s ground out, 5-3, and Walker, who had earlier singled, then went to third on McCutchen’s ground out, giving the Pirates a 2-0 lead. The Phils got a run back in their half of the first as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Luis Castillo, who had earlier singled, then went to third base on Jimmy Rollins’ single, would score on Pirates’ catcher Ryan Doumit’s throwing error to second, as Rollins, who had just singled, successfully stole second base, before moving up to third on the error, cutting the Pirates lead to 2-1. The Phils tied the score up at two-all in the second as Ben Francisco hits a lead-off home run, his fifth home run of the spring. The Phils later took the lead as, with the bases loaded, via Pete Orr being hit by the pitch, a walk to Carlos Ruiz, moving Orr up to second base, a sacrifice bunt by Roy Oswalt, moving both runners up a base, and Shane Victorino being hit by a pitch, and with one man out, Orr would score on a Ronny Cedeno fielding error of a Castillo grounder, allowing Orr to score, and both Ruiz and Victorino to move up a base, leaving the bases loaded, while giving the Phils a 3-2 lead. One batter later, the Phils made it a 4-2 lead as Rollins hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Ruiz, while Victorino would move up to third. The Phils would make it a 5-2 lead in the fourth as, with two men on, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits an RBI single, knocking in Castillo, who was safe at first on a force out, 3-6, as Victorino was wiped out at second base, who, in turn, had reached first on an earlier force out, 4-6, as Oswalt, who had an infield single, was wiped out at second, then stole second base, while sending Rollins, who had been hit by the pitch, over to third base. One batter later, the Phils took a 6-2 lead as Raul Ibanez hits an RBI single, scoring Rollins, while sending Howard up to second base. The Pirates would cut the lead in the fifth as, with two men on, and with nobody out, Walker hits an RBI single, knocking in pinch hitter Josh Rodriguez, who had earlier walked, then moved to second base on Tabata’s walk, making it a 6-3 Phils’ lead, before Tabata, who had just walked, would also score because of a Francisco fielding error as he let the ball get past him for a two-base error, making it a 6-4 Phils’ lead, while allowing Walker to get to third base. One batter later, the Pirates cut the lead to 6-5 as McCutchen hits an RBI single, scoring Walker. The Phils would get a run back in the sixth as, with runners on the corners, and with nobody out, Rollins hits into an RBI ground out, 4-3, scoring, Victorino, who had earlier walked, then went to third on a hit and run single by Castillo, giving the Phils a 7-5 lead, while sending Castillo, who had earlier singled, up to second base. The Phils added an insurance run in the eighth as, with the bases loaded, via singles by Erik Kratz and John Mayberry, Jr., with Kratz stopping at second base, Kratz and Mayberry both moving up a base on Wilson Valdez’s ground out, 4-3, and Michael Martinez being safe at first on second baseman’s Walker’s fielding error, and with one man out, Ross Gload hits an RBI ground out, 6-1, scoring Kratz, while sending Mayberry to third and Martinez up to second base, giving the Phils an 8-5 lead. That would be the final score as Michael Stutes recorded his first save of the spring as he had an easy ninth inning.

Roy Oswalt (1-2, 6.11) got the win as he pitched four innings, plus four batters, as he gave up five runs on five hits and four walks, while he struck out four. J.C. Romero recorded his third spring hold as he pitched an inning, striking out a batter. Michael Herndon recorded his third spring hold as he pitched an inning and two-thirds, giving up a hit and a walk. Antonio Bastardo received his first hold of the spring as he pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Ryan Madson recorded his fourth spring hold as he pitched an inning, giving up a hit, while striking out a batter. Michael Stutes recorded his first spring save as he pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, while striking out three. Ross Ohlendorf (0-5, 9.82) took the loss as he pitched four innings, giving up six runs, four of which were earned, on seven hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Michael Dubee pitched a scoreless inning, striking out a batter. Chris Leroux pitched a third of an inning, giving up a run on one hit and a walk. Garret Olsen pitched two-thirds of an inning. Jose Veras pitched a scoreless inning, strking out a batter. Evan Meek pitched an inning, giving up an unearned run on two hits.

The Phils had ten hits in the game, with Luis Castillo leading the team with two hits, both singles, while knocking in a run. Jimmy Rollins, (Single, 2 RBIs), Ryan Howard (Single, RBI), Raul Ibanez (Single, RBI), Ben Francisco (Home Run, RBI), Roy Oswalt (Single), Pete Orr (Double), John Mayberry, Jr. (Single) and Erik Kratz (Single), had the other eight Phils’ hits. Ross Gload knocked in a run on a ground out, while the other run came in on a Pirates error.

The Phils’ spring training record is now 21-13.

In other news, the Phils announced that Ben Francisco will be their regular right fielder, although he will be in a platoon with Ross Gload and John Mayberry, Jr., but being given most of the at-bats. Also, the Phils announced that they will be placing Brad Lidge on the disabled list because of a rotator cuff strain of his right shoulder. He will be out until at least mid-May. The Phils will be using Jose Contreras as their closer until Lidge is able to return, and leaving Ryan Madson as their eighth inning specialist. Finally, Chase Utley was yesterday moving around on his legs, fielding ground balls. Hopefully, this will be a sign that his legs are starting to get better. Keeping fingers cross, as I don’t expect to see him before the all-star break, if he doesn’t do anything to aggravate his knees. 

The Phils hang on to defeat the Astros, 7-6, as they win their final Grapefruit League game.

The Phils, after taking a big lead, hang on to defeat the Astros, 7-6, to win their last spring training game in Florida.

The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the first as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Michael Bourn, a single by Angel Sanchez, sending Bourn up to second base, a ground out by Brett Wallace, 4-3, which sent Bourn to third base and moved Sanchez to second base, and Jason Michaels being hit by the pitch, and with one man out, Chris Johnson hits an RBI ground out, 5-3, scoring Bourn, while sending Sanchez to third and Michaels to second. The Phils would take the lead in their half of the first as, with two men on, and with two men out, Shane Victorino hits an RBI single, knocking in Luis Castillo, who had earlier walked, then moved up to second base on Raul Ibanez’s walk, before Ibanez, who had just walked, would score on right fielder Jason Bourgeois’ throwing error to third, giving the Phils a 2-1 lead, while Victorino would stop at third on the throwing error. The Phils then took a 3-1 lead in the third as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Ibanez hits an RBI double, knocking in Castillo, who had earlier doubled, then went to third on Jimmy Rollins’ ground out, 3-unassisted. The Phils then added to their lead in the fifth as, with two men on, and with two outs, Victorino hits an RBI single, scoring Placido Polanco, who had earlier walked, then moved up to second on Castillo’s sacrifice bunt, 5-4, giving the Phils a 4-1 lead, while sending Ibanez, who had just walked, up to second base. One batter later, the Phils made it a 7-1 lead as, with two men on, and with still two men out, Ben Francisco hits a three-run home run, his fourth home run of the spring, knocking in both Ibanez and Victorino. The Astros got a run back in the seventh as, with the bases loaded, via a walk to Bourn, a single by Sanchez, moving pinch runner Brandon Barnes up to second base, and a walk to Wallace, moving both Barnes and pinch runner Matt Downs up a base, and with one man out, Michaels hits a sacrifice fly, scoring Barnes, making it a 7-2 Phils’ lead, while Downs would move up to third. The Astros then made it a 7-3 Phils’ lead as, with runners on the corners, and now with two men out, Downs scored on a Wilson Valdez throwing error of a Johnson grounder, while Oswaldo Navarro, who was pinch running for Wallace, would move up to second base, as Johnson was safe at first. The Astros then made it a 7-4 Phils’ lead in the top of the ninth as, with a runner on second, and with nobody out, Navarro hits an RBI single, scoring Downs, who had earlier doubled. One batter later, with still nobody out, J.B. Shuck hits a two-run home run, his second home run of the spring, scoring Navarro. That would end up as the final score as Ebelin Lugo would buckle down and strike out three of the last four Astros batters.

Nate Bump (1-0, 1.80) got the win as he pitched five strong innings, giving up a run on eight hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Danys Baez pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a walk, as he struck out a batter.  Jose Contreras pitched a third of an inning, getting out the only man he would face. Derrick Loop pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on a hit and two walks. Michael Cisco pitched a scoreless inning, giving up a hit, while he struck out a batter. Ebelin Lugo pitched an inning, giving up three runs on three hits, while striking out the side. Bud Norris (1-3, 7.71) took the lost as he pitched five innings, giving up seven run, six of which were earned, on six hits and four walks, while he struck out two. Aneury Rodriguez, Enerio Del Rosario and Fernando Abad combined for three scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Abad), while striking out three (Rodriguez (2), Del Rosario (1)) between them.

The Phils had only seven hits in the game, with Shane Victorino leading the team with two hits, both singles, knocking in two runs as he raised his spring batting average to .323. Luis Castillo (Double), Raul Ibanez (Double, RBI), Rich Thompson (Single), Ben Francisco (Home Run, 3 RBIs) and Carlos Ruiz (Single), had the other five Phils’ hits. The seventh Phils’ run came in on an Astros’ error.

The Phils’ Grapefruit League record is now 20-13, as they head back to Philadelphia for two spring training games at Citizens Bank Park.

Behind two home runs by Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, the Phils easily defeat the Braves, 6-1.

Thanks to two round trippers by Raul Ibanez and Ryan Howard, the Phils defeat the Braves with ease, 6-1.

In the top of the second inning, with the bases loaded, via singles by Shane Victorino and Ben Francisco, with Victorino stopping at second base, and a walk to Wilson Valdez, moving both Victorino and Francisco up a base, and with two men out, Roy Halladay give the Phils a 2-0 lead with a two-run single, scoring both Victorino and Francisco, while sending Valdez over to third base. The Phils made it a 3-0 lead in the third as, with one man out, Raul Ibanez hits a solo home run, his fourth home run of the spring. The Braves cut the Phils’ lead in the fourth as, with the bases loaded, via a single by Chipper Jones, a walk to Dan Uggla, sending Jones to second base, and with Jason Heyward being hit by the pitch, moving up a base both Jones and Uggla, and with nobody out, Eric Hinske hits a sacrifice fly, knocking in Jones, making it a 3-1 Phils’ lead, while sending Uggla up to third base. The Phils took a 5-1 lead in the fifth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run home run, his fifth home run of the spring, scoring Luis Castillo, who had earlier reached base on a force out, 4-6, wiping out Placido Polanco, who had earlier walked, then went to second on Ibanez’s ground out, three-unassisted. Two batters later, with a man on first, via a Victorino single, and with still two men out, Francisco hits an RBI double, knocking in Victorino, giving the Phils a 6-1 lead. This would end up being the final score, as the Phils turned back a threat in the ninth inning, as the Braves loaded up the bases, via walks to Hinske, who then moved up to second on a Jordan Ellis wild pitch, a walk to Ed Lucas and a single to J.C. Boscan, with Hinske stopping at third base and Lucas at second, with one man out, before Ellis dug in and struck out first Brandon Hicks, and then pinch hitter Joe Mather, both swinging.

Roy Halladay (4-0, 0.42) got the win as he pitched three strong innings, giving up just a hit, while striking out three. Michael Schwimer recorded his second hold of the spring as he pitched two innings, giving up a run on a hit and two walks,while striking out two. B.J. Rosenberg, Jose Contreras and Jordan Ellis followed with four scoreless inning, as they combine for two hits (Rosenberg (1), Ellis (1)) and two walks (Ellis), while striking out two batters (Ellis). Kenshin Kawakami took the lost (0-1, 3.75) as he pitched four innings, giving up three runs on five hits and a walk, while striking out two. Cristhian Martinez pitched an inning, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk, while striking out a batter. Jaye Chapman, Eric O’Flaherty and Craig Kimbrel followed with four scoreless innings, giving up a hit (Kimbrel) and a walk (Chapman), while striking out four Phils between them (Chapman (2), O’Flaherty (1), Kimbrel (1)).

The Phils had nine hits in the game, with Ryan Howard (Single, Home Run, 2 RBIs), Shane Victorino (Singles) and Ben Francisco (Single, Double, RBI) leading the team with two hits each. John Mayberry, Jr. (Single), Raul Ibanez (Home Run, RBI) and Roy Halladay (Single, 2 RBIs) had the other three Phils’ hits.

The Phils Grapefruit League record is now 19-13, leading NL teams, while Roy Halladay showed himself to be ready for his opening day assignment against the Astros this coming Friday.

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