Results tagged ‘ Omar Infante ’

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 4: Brett Myers has second straight bad outing as the Phillies lose to the Braves, 10-4. Mets lost drops Phillies’ magic number to 3.

For his second straight start, Brett Myers will be unable to get through the fifth inning as the Braves would bust the game wide open on a Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run in a six run fifth, as the Phillies fall to the Braves, 10-4. A Mets lost to the Cubs in extra-innings still leaves the Phillies ahead in the East by a game and a half while the magic number to clinch the East drops down to three. The Braves would score first in the first inning as, with two men on and no one out, Martin Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Josh Anderson, who has earlier doubled, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while sending Kelly Johnson, who has earlier singled, to move on to second base. One out later, after Johnson has stolen third, as Brain McCann strikes out, to put runners on the corners, Casey Kotchman would make it 2-0 Braves, as he would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, and sending Prado to third. Phillies’ starter Brett Myers would finally get out of the inning by getting Omar Infante to hit into a double play, 1-6-3, cutting down Kotchman at second. The Phillies would get a run back in the second as, with runners on the corners and one man out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who has earlier doubled and has went to third on Shane Victorino’s ground ball to Braves’ second baseman Johnson, who would then commit a fielding error that would allow Victorino to reach base, making it 2-1 Braves, while Victorino would go to second. Chris Coste would then end the inning by hitting into a 6-4-3 double play, cutting down Feliz at second. The Braves would make it 3-1 in the third, as, with a runner on third and one out, Kotchman would hit into an out to Ryan Howard, for the second out of the inning, scoring McCann, who has earlier doubled, and has gone to third as Jayson Werth threw out Prado, who has earlier singled, when he tried to score on McCann’s double, with Coste supplying the tag, for the inning’s first out. The Phillies would get it back in their half of the third, when, with two outs, Chase Utley would hit a solo home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, cutting the lead to 3-2 Braves. The Phillies would tie it up in the fourth as Howard would hit a lead off home run, his forty-seventh home run of the year. Burrell would then follow with a double. After a Victorino fly out to right would move Burrell to third, Braves’ manager Bobby Cox would come out and relieve Braves’ starter Jo-Jo Reyes and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would then proceed to strand Burrell at third as he first get Feliz to strike out for the inning’s second out and then get Coste to end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Braves would then retake the lead in the fifth. After getting the lead-off batter to fly out, Myers would give up a walk to Prado. McCann would follow with a RBI double, scoring Prado, and giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. After Myers intentionally walk Kotchman, Charlie Manuel would take out Myers and replace him with Chad Durbin. Durbin would get the next batter, Infante, to hit a grounder to Howard. Instead of getting the sure out at first, Howard would throw to second, trying to force out Kotchman. Sadly, the plan backfired as the ball hit Kotchman and would go into right field, allowing McCann to score, making it a 5-3 Braves’ lead, with Kotchman safe at second and Infante on first thanks to Howard’s throwing error. This would become important as Durbin would strike out Jeff Francoeur for the inning’s second out, as it could’ve been the inning’s final out if Howard had gone to first and not second, leaving the Phillies’ trailing by one run. The next batter, Brandon Jones would then hit a RBI single, scoring Kotchman, giving the Braves a 6-3 lead and putting Infante on second. Chipper Jones is then sent out to pitch hit for Carlyle. Durbin is then replaced with Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies hope would be able to handle C. Jones. Sadly, he would not as C. Jones would hit a 2-1 fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his twenty-second home run of the year, knocking in both Infante and B. Jones, and giving the Braves a 9-3 lead. Eyre would then end the inning by striking out Anderson. That six run fifth inning would seem to take the fight out of the Phillies, as they would be unable to mount anything against the Braves’ relievers. The Braves, in the meantime, would tack on an extra run in the eighth, as, with a runner on second and two outs, Prado would hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, who has earlier walked, and has stolen second, to give the Braves a 10-3 lead, The Phillies would get a run back in their half of the eighth, as, with runners on second and third, and one out, Burrell, who has earlier walked, would score on McCann’s pass ball, making it a 10-4 Braves’ lead, and sending Victorino, who has earlier double, to move to third. But that was where he would stay as Braves’ reliever Julian Taveraz would strike out pinch hitter Greg Dobbs for the inning’s second out and then strikes out pinch hitter Matt Stairs to end the inning. The Phillies would then go down 1-2-3 in the ninth to end the ballgame.

Brett Myers would take the lost as he would only be able to go four and one third innings, giving up six run, four of which were earned, on ten hits. His record is now 10-13 with a 4.55 ERA. Chad Durbin would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two runs, neither of which were earned, on one hit while striking out a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch and inning and a third, giving up an earned run on two hits. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. J.C. Romero would pitch an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Clay Condrey would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Jo-Jo Reyes would get a no decision, as he pitches three and a third innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Buddy Carlyle would get the win as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. His record is now 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Vladimir Nunez would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits. Jorge Julio would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up a hit. Julian Taveraz would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk. Manny Acosta would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth inning.

The Phillies’ offense has once again gone silent for most of the night, being unable to do any real damage on Jo-Jo Reyes before he got yanked in the bottom of the fourth inning, and then being kept quiet for most of the night by the Braves’ bullpen. Of course, Brett Myers being unable to put down the Braves earlier in the night didn’t help matters and Ryan Howard’s fielding blunder of throwing to second base for the force instead of going to first for the sure out would open up the flood gates that would turn the game into a blow out in the fifth inning thanks to Chipper Jones’ pinch hit three-run home run. Sigh, I hate reruns like this. I wonder why this team never make pennant winning easy or fast. Luckily, a Mets’ lost to the Cubs in extra-innings has dropped the Phillies magic number down to three. Anyway, with the day off today they should be able to regroup and forget this series before they meet the Nationals for the final three games of the season, starting tomorrow, weather permitting, as a big storm is heading in the direction of both Philadelphia and New York, which could play a factor in both the Phillies-Nationals and the Mets-Marlins series. I guess we’ll see what develops by friday night.

The Phillies are still a game and a half ahead of the Mets as they lost to the Cubs in extra-innings, with one more game to play in their four games series tonight. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets and the Brewers are now tied for the lead as the Brew Crew defeated the Pirates, with one more game left in their series. This bring up several interesting scenarios for the start of tomorrow night’s series (Phillies-Nationals, Mets-Marlins, Brewers-Cubs): 1) A Mets lost to the Cubs and a Brewers lost to the Pirates would place the Mets two games behind the Phillies and leaving both teams two games behind the Phillies in the wild card (the best of the four scenarios); 2) A Mets lost and a Brewers victory would put the Mets two games behind the Phillies and a game behind the Brewers in the wild card (the preferred scenario as it would force the Mets to get past two teams); 3) A Mets win and a Brewers lost would put the Mets a game behind the Phillies and a game ahead of the Brewers (bad, as it will put the pressure back on the Phillies to try to win two against the pesky Nationals); and 4) both the Mets and the Brewers win, putting the Mets a game behind in the East and both teams a game behind the Phillies in the wild card (very bad as the Phllies will have to worry about both teams). While I prefer scenario number two, I would rather the Phillies would just go out and cream the Nationals and let everything else just sort itself out.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 5: Phillies lose tough one to the Braves as their lead in the East shrinks to a game and a half.

A throwing error by Cole Hamels, the lack of a clutch hit with the bases loaded and a base running error in the sixth would all lead to a hard lose as the Phillies lose a close one to the Braves, 3-2. The Mets’ win against the Cubs cuts the Phils lead in the East down to a game and a half and leaves the magic number for winning the East at four while a Brewers’ win leave the playoff magic number at one.

The Braves took the lead in the first as, with a runner on second and one out, Kelly Johnson would hit a RBI single, scoring Martin Prado, who has earlier singled, giving the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The Phillies would tie up the game in the second as, with a runner on third and two outs, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Ryan Howard, who has earlier singled, went to second on Pat Burrell’s walk and would go to third on Shane Victorino’s 4-6-3 double play ball, which wiped out Burrell at second. The Braves would retake the lead in the third as, with runners on first and second and two out, Coel Hamels would have Johnson, who has gotten on base earlier with a single and then would move to second on Omar Infante’s single, picked off as Johnson was trying to steal third. But, Hamels’ throw to Feliz at third would go behind the third baseman and into left field, allowing Johnson to score and make it 2-1 Braves. The Phillies would threaten to even the score in their half of the third as they loaded up the bases with a double (Chase Utley), a throwing error by Johnson (Jayson Werth) and a walk (Howard), with two men out. But Braves’ starter Mike Hampton would end the threat by getting Burrell to pop out to the third baseman. The Braves would increase their lead in the sixth, as, with two outs, Casey Kotchman would hit a solo home run, his fourteenth home run of the year, making it 3-1 Braves. The Phillies would get a run base in their half of the sixth, as, with a runner on third and no one out, Pat Burrell would hit a RBI double, scoring Howard, who has earlier tripled, to make it a 3-2 Braves’ lead. Then Burrell would make a crucial base running blunder as, when Shane Victorino hit a hard ground to Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge, instead of going back to second, as he should’ve done, he would be caught off second and then be run down before finally being tagged out by Johnson, with the play going 6-5-4, with Victorino being safe at first on the fielder’s choice. Later, with Feliz batting, Victorino would try to steal second. He would be thrown out by Braves’ catcher Brian McCann for the inning’s second out as Johnson supplies the tag. Feliz would then end the inning by grounding out, 6-3. The Burrell base running blunder would seems to take the wind out of the Phillies’ sails for the rest of the night as they would be unable to mount another threat as the game ended up being a win for the Braves.

Cole Hamels would take the lost as he pitched seven innings, giving up three runs, only two of which were earned, on eight hits, as he struck out seven. His record is now 14-10 with an ERA of 3.09. Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for two scoreless innings, giving up no hits between them, while striking out one (Romero). Mike Hampton would get the win as he pitches six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. His record is now even at 3-3 with a 4.88 ERA. Will Ohman and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, with both man giving up no hits while Bennett would walk a batter. Mike Gonzalez would record his fourteenth save of the year as he pitches a scoreless ninth, giving up no hits as he walked a batter and struck out one.

The Phillies would get done in by the kind of mistakes that they have been avoiding lately, namely a throwing error by Cole Hamels when he had Kelly Johnson dead to rights when Johnson was trying to steal third, being unable to get the clutch hit when they needed it after they had loaded up the bases and Pat Burrell’s base running blunder with no one out. With Hamels’ errant throw, even with his throwing behind Pedro Feliz, if the throw has gone into Feliz’s glove, and Johnson has been safe at third, the Braves would have been turned back as Hamels then struck out Casey Kotchman to end the inning, keeping the game tied at 1-1. This might have been the turning point of the game, as the Phillies, in the later half of the inning, would mount a bases loaded threat that would be turned back because of a pop up into foul territory by Pat Burrell that was caught by Braves’ third baseman Martin Prado. But what really killed the Phillies was Burrell’s later base running blunder in the sixth. With the play in front of him, he should’ve went back to second when Braves’ shortstop Brent Lillibridge caught Shane Victorino’s hard ground ball. Instead, he allowed himself to get trapped between second and third, and then compounded things by not staying in the base paths long enough to allow Victornio to get to second base. An added insult would be Braves’ catcher Brian McCann throwing out Victorino when Victorino tried to steal second. Hopefully the Phillies will be able to bounce back from the lost and win tonight’s game with the Braves.

The Phillies (89-69) will play the final game of their three games home stand with the Braves (70-88) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will begin at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-12, 4.46), who is coming off his worst outing since his return from the minors, as he lost to the Marlins on September 20, where he only went four innings plus five batters, giving up ten earned runs on nine hits, in the Phillies’ 14-8 lost. Myers should be able to come back from that start, like his did in his previous start against the Brewers on September 14, where he pitched a complete game shut out, after his lost to the Marlins on September 10. The lost makes Myers 7-3 since his return. He will be trying for his eleventh win overall while getting the Phillies a bit closer to the playoff with four games left to play. The Braves will oppose him with Jo-Jo Reyes (3-11, 5.74), who is coming off a recent no-decision against the Mets on September 19, where he only lasted three and a third innings, giving up five earned runs on seven hits, in the Braves’ 9-5 lost. Against the Phillies this year, he has appeared in three games, two of them starts, where his record is 0-2 with a 7.56 ERA, hoping that he won’t get bombed again by the Phillies’ bats as he starts against them.

The lost would cut the Phillies’ lead over the Mets down to a game and a half as the Mets defeated the Cubs. The magic number for the Division crown is still at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead is still a game over the Brewers as they defeated the Pirates, while their lead over the Astros is now four and a half as they lost to the Reds. The Phillies will be trying to recover from last night’s lost, hoping for another good outing from Myers while hoping to once again sting Reyes and send the Braves packing with another lost.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 6: The magic number into the playoffs is now one as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 6-2.

Behind Pat Burrell’s three-run shot in the bottom of the eighth inning and the solid pitching of rookie J.A. Happ and the bullpen, the Phillies have defeated the Braves, 6-2, cutting their magic number to get into the post-season down to one and to win the National League East down to four. Their lead in the East has increased to two and a half games as the Mets are unable to stop the Cubs. The Phillies took a quick 1-0 lead in the first as Chase Utley, with a runner on second and no one out, would hit a RBI double, knocking in Jimmy Rollins who has earlier doubled. The RBI would be the 100th of the season for Utley, the only Phil, other than Ryan Howard, to knock in so many runs. The Phillies would increase their lead to 2-0 in the second, as, with a runner on third and one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit into a ground out, second to first, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, would move up to second on Pedro Feliz’s ground out, 6-3, and would go to third on Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens’ wild pitch. The score would remain 2-0 for the next three innings as a pitchers’ duel developed between Jurrjens, who was able to slow down the Phillies’ offernse after the second inning and Phils’ starter  J.A. Happ, who would be almost unhitable to the Braves’ offense, who would only be able to get two hits and a walk off of him through the first five innings. Sadly, that would come to an end in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Kelly Johnson, would tie up the ballgame at 2-2 as he would slug an 0-1 slider, that was high in the strike zone, into the right field seats, scoring Matin Prado, who has earlier walked. One inning later, the Braves would threaten to take the lead, as with one out, Brent Lillibridge would get on base with a single to left. Jurrjens would then move him over to second with a sacrifice bunt, for the inning’s second out. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Happ and replace him with Rudy Seanez, to face pinch hitter Greg Norton, who was pinch hitting for the originally announced pinch hitter, Yunel Escobar, who in turned was to pinch hit for Josh Anderson. Seanez would proceed to intentionally walk Norton, putting runners on first and second. Seanez would then get the next batter, Prado, to hit into a force out, 6-4, putting out Norton at second, for the final out of the inning. The Braves would then try again in the eighth, as Johnson would lead off the inning with a double, and then would go to third on Victorino’s fielding error. Seanez would then get Omar Infante to line out to Rollins for the inning’s first out. The next batter, Jeff Francoeur, would then hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to Rollins, who would quickly throw home, cutting down Johnson, as Ruiz blocks the plate and tags him out, for the second out of the inning, while Francoeur would be safe on first. After Manuel takes out Seanez and replaces him with Scott Eyre, Eyre would get Casey Kotchman to fly out to left for the inning’s final out. The Phillies would then retake the lead in their half of the eighth, as pinch hitter Greg Dobbs would get a pinch single off of Braves’ reliever Jeff Bennett. After Dobbs is replaced at first base by pinch runner Greg Golson, the Braves would try to pick Golson off at first. It didn’t work as Bennett would commit a throwing error, as the ball would get past Braves’ first baseman Kotchman, which would allow Golson to go from first to third. After Rollins would ground out for the inning’s first out, Utley would be intentionally walked, bringing up Jayson Werth. Werth would hit a sharp grounder to Braves’ third baseman Prado, who would then throw home in an attempt to cut down Golson. It wouldn’t work, as Golson was off on the crack of the bat, beating Braves’ catcher Clint Sammons’ tag, and scoring the go ahead run as the Phillies took a 3-2 lead, while Utley would go on to second and Werth would reach first on the fielder’s choice. Bobby Cox would then come to the mound and replace Bennett with Will Ohman. After Howard flies out for the second out of the inning, Ohman would be replaced by Julian Tavarez to pitch to Pat Burrell. With the count going to 3-1, Burrell would hit a Tavarez’s fastball into the left field seats for a three-run home run, his thirty-third home run of the year, scoring both Utley and Werth, and giving the Phillies a 6-2 lead. After Victorino follows with a triple, Tavarez would finally end the inning by getting Feliz to fly out to left. The Phillies would then hand the ball over to Ryan Madson. After Madson gets pinch hitter Ruben Gotay to fly out for the inning’s first out, he would give up a pinch single to pinch hitter Chipper Jones. Pinch hitter Brian McCann would then follow him with a deep fly ball to left that would go out of the park, but would be declared a double by the third base umpire Chad Fairchild who would claim that the ball has landed under the yellow line, making it a double and not a home run. A later umpires’ conference would uphold Fairchild’s call, as does instant reply, thus leaving the Braves with runners on second and third with one out and not a two-run homer for McCann. Madson would then buckle down and get Gregor Blanco to fly out to left for the second out of the inning, and then get Prado to ground out, 4-3, to end the game and preserve the win.

J.A. Happ would get a no-decision as he pitches a strong six and two-thirds innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, striking out five while walking only two. Rudy Seanez would pitch a scoreless inning of relief, giving up only one hit and walking a batter. Scott Eyre would get the win as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up no runs and no hits. His record is now 5-0 (3-0 with the Phils) with an ERA of 4.30. Ryan Madson would also pitch a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits. Jair Jurrjens would also get a no-decision as he pitches seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits and a walk. Jeff Bennett would get the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on a hit and a walk. His record is now 3-7 with an ERA of 3.86. Will Ohman would also pitch a third of an inning, getting out the only man that he would face. Julian Tavarez would also go a third of an inning, giving up an earned run on two hits.  

The Phillies would score two early runs, which J.A. Happ would hold onto brillantly until he gives up the two-run home run to Kelly Johnson in the sixth. The Phillies offense would then go back to work in the bottom of the eighth, scoring four unanswered runs, with the big blow being Pat Burrell’s three-run shot. The go ahead run that Greg Golson would score on the crack of the bat, would be his first run scored in a major league game. The bullpen would then come in and pitch two and a third innings of shut out ball, although Madson almost gave up a two-run home run to pinch hitter Brian McCann, except that the ball would drop into the seats below the yellow line under the railing in left, as confirmed later by instant replay. The Phillies are now on a roll, having won ten of their last eleven games, as they reached a season high twenty-one games over .500, the highest since their pennant winning year of 1993. The Phillies are now one game away from 90 wins, and need just one more game to guarantee a return to the playoffs.

The Phillies (89-68) will continue their series with the fourth place Braves (69-86) with a game tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound their ace Cole Hamels (14-9, 3.10), who is coming off a win against the Braves on September 18, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Phillies’ 4-3 win. Hamel will be trying for his fifteenth win of the year while trying to secure the playoff spot for the Phillies with a good outing tonight. The Braves’ starter will be Mike Hampton (2-3, 5.05), who is coming off a lost to the Phillies on September 18, as he would go seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, in the Braves’ 4-3 lost. This is his third start against the Phillies, sporting an 0-1 record, with a no-decision. He will be trying to hold off the Phillies running into the playoff for one more night.

The Phillies are now leading the Mets by two and a half games, thanks to the Mets lost to the Cubs. The magic number to win the National League East is now at four. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets’ lead over the Brewers is now at a game, as the Brewers were idle last night, while it is at three and a half games over Houston, who were also idle last night. The Phillies will be trying to win tonight’s game to guarantee a spot in the playoffs, while trying to see if they can get Cole Hamels his fifteenth win of the season.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 10: Pat Burrell’s two-run blast leads to the third series sweep of the Braves at Turner Field.

A two-run blast by Pat Burrell would be the difference as the Phillies sweep the Braves for the third time at Turner Field, the first time that this has happened to the Braves since the Cubs did it to them in 1909 when they were known as the Boston Doves. The win keep the Phils a half game in front of the Mets in the East as the Mets crushed the Nationals last night. The Phillies would take the lead in the first as, with one out and a man on first, Jayson Werth would hit a RBI double, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to give the Phils a quick 1-0 lead. Werth would then go to third base on Braves’ center fielder Josh Anderson’s fielding error. Ryan Howard would then bring Werth home with a sacrifice fly, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead. The Braves would get a run back in their half of the first as, with a runner on first and two outs, Brian McCann would hit a RBI double of his own, scoring Chipper Jones, who has earlier walked, to make it a 2-1 Phillies’ lead. The Braves would then tie it in the second as Casey Kotchman would hit a lead-off home run, his thirteenth home run of the year. The game would then become a pitchers’ duel between Braves’ starter Mike Hampton and Phillies’ starter Cole Hamels, with neither pitcher bending, especially Hamels as the Braves would have man on base during all six innings that he would eventually pitch. The Phillies would take the lead for good in the sixth, as, with a runner on first and one out, Pat Burrell would hit a two-run blast into the left field seats, his thirty-second home run of the year, and his 250th of his career as a Phil, third on the team’s all-time list, knocking in Howard, who was safe on a force out, giving the Phillies a 4-2 lead. The Braves would get one run back in a very wierd seventh inning. After Ryan Madson, who was pitching in relief of Hamels, has struck out the first two Braves’ batters on six pitches, Kelly Johnson would reach base on a grounder to Howard that was originally called an error as the ball would be deflected by Howard, since Howard should’ve been able to make the play, except that he might have gotten distracted by Johnson’s bat as it got broken by Madson’s 0-2 sinker and part of it flew in his direction, but would later be called a single by the scorer. Jones would then walk, putting Johnson on second. McCann would then hit a fly ball to left, which should’ve been handled by Burrell, but he would be called off by Jimmy Rollins who would end up dropping the ball for an error, allowing Johnson to score, making it 4-3 Phillies, and for Jones to move up to third while McCann was safe at first. After McCann is replaced at first by pinch runner Brent Lillibridge, Lillibridge would go to second on Madson’s wild pitch, putting the go ahead run in scoring position. But that would be as far as the Braves would get as Madson would get Omar Infante to pop out to third for the inning’s third out. The Phillies would fail to add an insurance run in both the eighth and ninth innings, while J.C. Romero would keep the Braves from doing any damage in the bottom of the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, Brad Lidge would be given the ball, and unlike Tuesday’s night wild ninth, he would put down the Braves 1-2-3 for his thirty-eighth save of the year in thirty-eight tries.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he would go six innings, giving up only two earned runs on six hits and two walks while striking out five. His record is now 14-9 with an ERA of 3.10. Ryan Madson would pitch an inning, giving up an unearned run on one hit and a walk, while striking out two. J.C. Romero would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit. Brad Lidge would get his thirty-eighth save of the year as he pitched a 1-2-3 ninth inning, striking out two. Mike Hampton would take the lost as he goes seven innings, giving up four runs, only two of which were earned, on six hits. His record is now 2-3 with a 5.05 ERA. Julian Tavarez and Jeff Bennett would each pitch a scoreless inning, giving up just one hit (Tavarez) and walking a man each.

Although the Phillies’ bat weren’t as damaging as they were in the first two games, they were able to outscore the Braves as they accomplish something that has not been done to the Braves for 99 years, since the Cubs beat them in eleven home games when they were known as the Boston Doves in 1909: sweep the Braves in their home ball park in three straight home series. Also, this is the first time since 1943, when the Braves were still playing in Boston, that the Braves have lost nine home games to another franchise. This was mainly because the Phillies’ pitchers were able to keep the Braves from being able to score after getting a runner on base, since they had at least one man get on base in the first eight innings before Lidge would come in and get a 1-2-3 inning on thirteen pitches. The offensive star of the night was Pat Burrell as he was the only man in the line up to get two hits, as he went 2 for 3 with a single and a home run, his 250th as a Phil, putting him in third place on the team’s all time list and 9 home runs behind Del Ennis. The rest of the starters would get at least a hit, except for Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard, who would both take the collar, although they both would reach base with a walk, while Howard would knock in a run with a sacrifice fly. The presently hot Phillies will need to stay hot, taking their seven games winning streak as they face an equally hot Marlins team who have won their last eight games, as they see their pennant hopes slowly slipping away.

The Phillies (86-67) will played their last three games set on the road as they face the third place Marlins (80-72). The first game of the series will be played at Dolphin Stadium and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be Brett Myers (10-11, 4.06), who is coming off a complete game victory against the Brewers on September 14, as he gave up an earned run on two hits, in the Phillies’ 6-1 win in the nightcap of a day/night doubleheader. Since coming back from his minor league assignment, Myers has been red hot, going 7-2 and two no-decisions in eleven starts, with an ERA of 1.80. One of those two losts, sadly, came at the hands of the Marlins on September 10, as he went seven and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ 7-3 lost. The numbers are deceptive, though, as Myers controlled the fish for the first six innings, giving up just three runs in those innings, but getting almost no support from the Phillies’ bat, especially after they had tied the game in the fifth. Myers will be looking to even his overall record and for his eighth win since his return, while hoping that the Phillies will this time give him some runs support against the fish. The Marlins will counter with Josh Johnson (5-1, 3.30), who is coming off a win against the Nationals on September 13, as he went six innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits, in the Marlins’ 4-2 win. In his previous start against the Phillies on August 5 he picked up a win as he went six innings, giving up no runs on five hits, in the Marlins’ 8-2 win. He will be trying to extend the Marlins’ eight games winning streak while snapping the Phillies’ seven games winning streak.

The Phillies are still a half game ahead of the Mets, as the Mets, after defeating the Nationals last night, head on to Atlanta for a three games series. They are still five and a half games ahead of the Marlins, who have finished sweeping the Astros and will now host the Phils. In the Wild Card chase, the Mets lead over the Brewers is now a game and a half as the Brewers lost to the Cubs in extra-innings. The Brewers will now face the Reds in Cincinnati for three games. The Mets now lead the hot Marlins and the fading Astros by five games, as the fish host the Phillies while the Astros will play the Pirates for three games. The Phillies will be looking to continue their winning streak and to increase their lead in the Eastern Division while trying to end the Marlins’ pennant hopes in both the division and the wild card.

Final Countdown to the Playoffs: Game 12: Ryan Howard’s home run is the different in a wild game in Atlanta as the Phillies defeat the Braves, 8-7. Phils once again lead in the Eastern Division.

In a wild game in Atlanta, a Ryan Howard home run would be the difference as the Phillies would hang on to defeat the Braves, 8-7. A Mets lost to the Nationals would put the Phils back into first place in the National League East by a half game. The Phillies would take the lead in the third as, with one man out and with a runner on second, Chase Utley would hit a RBI double, scoring Jimmy Rollins, who has gotten on base earlier with a double, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. This would be the first run to be scored off of Braves’ starter rookie James Parr in three starts. The Phillies would make it a 3-0 lead as Jayson Werth would follow with a two-run home run, his career high twenty-third home run of the year, scoring Utley. Ryan Howard would then follow with a single. After Pat Burrell strikes out for the inning’s second out, Shane Victorino would follow with a double. Unfortunaltely, Howard would be thrown out at the plate trying to score on a good throw from Braves’ right fielder Jeff Francoeur to second baseman Martin Prado to catcher Brian McCann, who would supply the tag on Howard for the final out of the inning. The Braves would come back in their half of the third as Phillies’ starter Jamie Moyer would have the first of his two bad innings of the night. After striking out Parr for the inning’s first out, Moyer would hit Josh Anderson, sending him to first. Anderson would then move up to second on a Moyer’s wild pitch. Moyer would then walk Prado, putting men on first and second with one out. Chipper Jones would then follow with a single, loading up the bases. McCann would then hit a RBI single, scoring Anderson, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-1, while leaving the bases loaded as Prado and Jones would each move up only one base. Moyer would then strike out Omar Infante for the inning’s second out. Casey Kotchman would then follow with a two-run single, scoring both Prado and Jones, tying up the game at three all, while moving McCann up to third. Moyer would finally get out of the inning by getting Francoeur to fly out. The Phillies would retake the lead in the fourth as, with one out, Carlos Ruiz would hit a solo home run, his fourth home run of the year, making it 4-3 Phillies. The Phils would then threaten to score again in the fifth as Werth and Howard would both single with one out, putting runners on first and second. Bobby Cox would then come out to remove Parr and replace him with Buddy Carlyle. Carlyle would proceed to strike out Burrell for the inning’s second out, then get Victorino to ground out 3-1 to end the threat. In the sixth, Moyer would have the second of his bad innings. After getting Kotchman to ground out, 4 to 3, for the inning’s first out, Moyer would give up a single to Francoeur. Moyer would then walk both Brent Lillibridge and pinch hitter Greg Norton to load the bases. Anderson would then hit a sharp ball towards first that would be caught by Howard who would then beat Anderson to the bag for the inning’s second out, as Francoeur scored, tying the game at four runs apiece, while moving both Lillibridge and Norton up a base. Charlie Manuel would then come out of the dugout and take out Moyer, replacing him with Chad Durbin to try and put out the fire. Sadly, Durbin would be unable to do so, as he would give up a single to pinch hitter Kelly Johnson, knocking in both Lillibridge and Norton, giving the Braves a 6-4 lead, while Johnson would go to second on Victorino’s throw to the plate that would bounce off the mound, allowing Johnson to move up a base. That would come back to haunt the Phillies later in the inning, as, after Durbin intentionally walks Jones, Manuel would come back out to replace him with Scott Eyre to face McCann. That move wouldn’t work as McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Johnson, making it now 7-4 Braves, while sending Jones to second. Eyre would finally end the inning by getting Infante to hit into a force out, 6-4. The Phillies would strike back in the seventh, as, with a runner on first and one man out, Howard would hit a deep fly ball to left that would be misplayed by Infante, thus becoming a RBI triple, while scoring Werth, who has earlier singled, cutting the Braves’ lead to 7-5. Cox would then come out and replace Jeff Bennett with Will Ohman. After striking out Burrell for the inning’s second out, Ohman would give up a RBI single to Victorino, scoring Howard and making it a 7-6 Braves’ lead. Pedro Feliz would then reach base on a throwing error by shortstop Lillibridge, as he threw the base past Prado on a force out attempt, allowing Victorino to reach second. But after Ohman walks pinch hitter Greg Dobbs to load the bases, he would finally end the inning by getting pinch hitter Matt Stairs to ground out, 3 to 1. The Phillies would then retake the lead for good in the eighth, as with a runner on first with two outs, Howard would hit his major league leading forty-fifth home run of the year, scoring Werth, who has earlier walked, to give the Phillies an 8-7 lead. In the ninth, the Phillies would hand the ball over to Brad Lidge for the save. But, it would not be easy. Lidge would start off the inning by walking Jones. Lidge would then get McCann to pop out to Utley under the Infield Fly Rule, although Utley would pretend to miss the ball, to try for a force out, but the umpire wouldn’t go for it. The next batter, Infante, would then hit a sharp ground ball to Feliz. Although hit hard enough for a double play ball, Feliz would only have one play, to first, throwing out Infante, as Jones was running on the play, reaching second safely. Lidge would then proceed to walk both Kotchman and Francoeur to load the bases, with two men out, for Gregor Blanco. Lidge would then strike out Blanco swinging on a 2-2 slider, ending the game as he finally records his thirty-seventh save in thirty-seven tries.

Jamie Moyer would get a no-decision, as he would goes five and two-thirds innings, giving up six earned runs on six hits while walking four and striking out six, as he would have two very bad innings that would hurt him. Chad Durbin would pitch to two batters, getting neither of them out, as he gives up an earned run on a hit and walks a batter. Scott Eyre would pitch a third of an inning, giving up no runs on one hit. Ryan Madson would get the win as he pitches two scoreless innings, giving up no hits while striking out three. His record is now 4-2 with a 3.16 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a scoreless inning, although he would give up three walks while striking out one as he records his thirty-seventh save of the year. James Parr would also get a no-decision, as he is able to last only four and a third innings, giving up four earned runs on ten hits. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning and two-thirds of scoreless relief, giving up no hits while striking out two. Will Ohman would pitch a third of an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits. Jeff Bennett would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on a hit. Julian Tavarez would pitch two thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on no hits and a walk. Mike Gonzalez would get the lost as he receives his second blown save of the year as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up an earned run, Ryan Howard’s home run, on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 4.25 ERA. Jorge Julio would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits while walking a batter as he struck out the side. 

Two bad innings almost did in Jamie Moyer and the Phillies as Moyer would lose control of his stuff in both the third and the sixth innings, giving up three runs in both, as he gave up in those two innings four singles and four walks, along with a hit batsman. But this time the offense would refuse to die, thanks to Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth, Shane Victorino and Jimmy Rollins. The game’s star, a red hot Howard, would be a double short of hitting the cycle, as he went four for five, getting two singles, a triple and a home run, knocking in three runs while scoring two. Victorino would follow by going three for five with two singles and a double, knocking in a run. Jayson Werth would be next as he went three for four, getting two singles and a home run, knocking in two runs while scoring three. Jimmy Rollins would go two for five with a single and a double, scoring a run. Carlos Ruiz and Chase Utley would also contribute with a home run (Ruiz) and a RBI double (Utley). The only ones who would not contribute would be Pedro Feliz, who would get on base with a walk, and Shane Victorino would go 0 for five, striking out all five times. In a fourteen hit attack, half of the hits would be for extra-bases (2B (3), 3B (1), HR (3)), showing that the Phillies’ offense, in general, is hot at the moment, a situation that will hopefully last to the end of the year.

The once again first place Phillies (84-67) will play the second of their three games against the fourth place Braves (67-84) tonight. The game will be played at Turner Field and will start at 7:10 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound, in place of the presently ineffective Kyle Kendrick, rookie J.A. Happ (0-0, 5.71), who will be making his third start for the Phillies, still looking for his first major league win. His last appearance was in relief against the Marlins on September 9, as he would pitch three and a third innings in relief of Kendrick, giving up three earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 10-8 lost. His last start was a no-decision on July 9 against the Cardinals, where he went six and a third innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, in the Phillies’ 4-2 win. The Phillies have won both of his starts, although he would receive no-decisions in both games. He will be trying for his first win while trying to keep the Phils in first place as he face the Braves for the first time in his short major league career. The Braves will counter with Jair Jurrjens (13-9, 3.62), who is coming off a win against the Rockies on September 11, where he went six innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits, in the Braves’ 8-4 win. He has faced the Phillies two previous times, winning his last meeting against them on July 25, as he went eight innings, giving up no runs on just three hits, in the Braves’ 8-2 win. His record this year against the Phillies is 1-1. He will be trying to improve his record while trying to put an end to the Phillies’ seven games winning streak at Turner Field.

With the win, the Phillies jump back into first place, a half game ahead of the Mets who lost last night, 1-0, to the Nationals. They are still five and a half games over the Marlins, who defeated the Astros. The Phillies’ win and the Mets lost would put the Mets back into the Wild Card race, where they now have a half game lead over the Brewers, after their lost to the Cubs, who are out to clinch the National League Central Division this week. With eleven games left in the season, the Phillies are out to extend their present winning streak to six games and their winning streak at Turner Field to eight games, while hoping to extend their lead over the Mets in the East.

The Phillies use the long ball to win their first series of the second half as they defeat the Braves, 12-10.

The Phillies would use a combination of the long ball and situational hitting to come from behind again to defeat the Braves as they win their first series of the second half, 12-10. It didn’t look that way at the start as the Braves would score two runs in the top of the first off of Phillies’ starter Joe Blanton. With two men on and one out, Brian McCann would hit a RBI single, scoring Yunel Escobar, who has earlier singled, making it 1-0 Braves. Mark Kotsay would follow with a RBI double, scoring Mark Teixeira, who has earlier walked, to give the Braves a 2-0 lead. In the bottom of the second, with Eric Bruntlett batting, the rain would come down, delaying the game for over two hours. The long rain delay would force the removal of both teams’ starters, Blanton and Jorge Campillo. The Braves would increase their lead in the top of the fourth off of Adam Eaton. With a runner on second and one out, Eaton would give up a two-run home run to Kelly Johnson, his ninth home run of the year, scoring Kotsay, who has earlier singled, to make it 4-0 Braves. Omar Infante would follow with a solo shot, his second home run of the year, to give the Braves a 5-0 lead. The Phillies would then come back in their half of the fourth. With two men out, and a runner on first, Chris Coste would hit a two-run home run, his eighth home run of the year, scoring Jayson Werth, who has earlier walked, cutting the Braves’ lead to 5-2. The next batter, pinch hitter So Taguchi would then get on base with a pinch single. Jimmy Rollins would follow by working a walk. Shane Victorino would then hit a three-run home run, his eighth home run of the year, scoring Taguchi and Rollins, tying the game at five all. In the fifth, the Phillies will take the lead as Pat Burrell would hit a solo home run, his twenty-sixth home run of the year, making it 6-5 Phillies. The Phils would then break the game wide open in the sixth. With Royce Ring now on the mound, he would be greeted by pinch hitter Carlos Ruiz with a pinch double. Ruiz would then go to third on a single by Rollins. Victorino would follow with a RBI single, scoring Ruiz, and sending Rollins to second to make the score 7-5 Phillies. Chase Utley would then strike out, making the first out of the inning. With Ryan Howard at the plate, Rollins and Victorino would perform a double steal, with Victorino just beating McCann’s throw from behind home plate. Howard would then hit a RBI single with the infield pulled in, scoring Rollins easily, and then scoring Victorino, as he knocks over McCann, as McCann tries to catch left fielder Jeff Francoeur’s throw from left on one hop, and then tries to turn around quickly to tag out Victorino, making it 9-5 Phillies. McCann would then lay on the ground for the next several minutes, with Victorino and Rollins, among others, looking to see if he was alright, before he is finally taken out of the game, and replaced by Corky Miller. Meanwhile, Royce is replaced on the mound by Blaine Boyer. Burrell would then fly out for the second out of the inning. Werth would then follow with a two-run home run, his fourteenth home run, to give the Phillies an 11-5 lead. Bruntlett would then end the inning by flying out. In the seventh, Rollins would increase the Phillies’ lead by hitting a solo home run, his seventh home run of the year, to give the Phils a 12-5 lead. The Braves would then make it close in the eighth. With Rudy Seanez on the mound, Kotsay would start the inning off with a single. After Francoeur pops up for the first out of the inning, Johnson would get on base with a walk, sending Kotsay to second. Infante would follow with a RBI double, scoring Kotsay and sending Johnson to third, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 12-6. Greg Norton would then load the bases as Seanez commits an error on his ground ball. Ryan Madson is then brought in to relieve Seanez. Gregor Blanco would then walk, scoring Johnson, while leaving the bases loaded as the Phillies now lead 12-7. Escobar would then pop out to Bruntlett in foul territory for the second out of the inning. Pinch hitter Martin Prado would then hit a double that a diving Werth would be unable to catch, scoring Infante, Norton and Blanco after it gets past Werth, making it a 12-10 Phillies’ lead. Madson would finally end the inning by getting Miller to ground out, third to first. In the ninth, Brad Lidge would proceed to nail down his twenty-fourth save of the year to finally end the ballgame.

Joe Blanton would get a no-decision thanks to the rain delay, as he pitches two innings, giving up two earned runs on three hits. Adam Eaton would also pitch two innings, giving up three earned runs on five hits. Clay Condrey would get the win as he pitches two innings, giving up no runs on one hit. His record is now 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA. J.C. Romero would go an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Rudy Seanez would go one-third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on two hits. Ryan Madson would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. Brad Lidge would pitch an inning, as he records his twenty-fourth save of the year, giving up no runs on no hits. Jorge Campillo would also pitch a no-decision because of the rain delay, going one and two-thirds innings, giving up no runs on two hits. Jo-Jo Reyes would go two and two-thirds innings, giving up five earned runs on four hits. Julian Tavarez would take the lost as he goes two-thirds of an inning, giving up an earned run on one hit. His record is now 0-3 with a 6.48 ERA.Royce Ring would pitch a third of an inning, giving up four earned runs on four hits. Blaine Boyer would pitch two-thirds of an innings, giving up a run on one hit. Buddy Carlyle would pitch an inning, giving up one run on one hit. Will Ohman would pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits.

The Phillies (56-49) have finally won their first series of the second half as well as the short home stand, while also starting a two game winning streak. For the second straight game the Phillies’ offense would score ten or more runs, this time with them doing it with a combination of the long ball and situational hitting. Does this mean that the offense is back? I’m going to wait until after the next several series before saying yes or no. The next Phillies’ game will be played on Tuesday as they meet the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

With the win, the Phillies continue to trail the Mets by a game, as they won their game against the Cardinals. The Marlins would drop to third place, a game behind the Phillies, as they lost to the Cubs. The Braves now trail the Phillies by six and a half games. As the Phillies take the day off before starting their series with the Nationals in D.C., the Mets go to Miami to start a three games series with the Marlins, while the Braves prepare for a four games series with the Cardinals.

The Phillies play situational ball as they come from behind to defeat the Braves, 10-9.

The Phillies used situational baseball to come from behind to defeat the Braves after it looked like they had finally imploded in the top of the fourth inning. The Phillies would score the game’s first runs in the second inning. Ryan Howard would start the inning off by getting on first base with a walk. He would be followed by a double from Pat Burrell, which would put runners on second and third with nobody out. Jayson Werth would then follow with a ground out, third to first, for the first out of the inning, doing what the Phillies’ batters have been doing too much of lately, hitting a ball to an opposing player with less than two outs, unable to score the runner(s) on base. Eric Bruntlett is then intentionally walked to load the bases. Chris Coste would follow him with a two-run double, scoring Howard and Burrell, making it 2-0 Phillies, while sending Bruntlett to second. Cole Hamels would then bunt the runners over to third and second base respectively, while making the second out of the inning. Unfortunately, Jimmy Rollins would then end the inning with a ground ball to the pitcher. The Phillies would increase their lead in the third, as Chase Utley would hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier tripled, to make it 3-0 Phillies. But then the roof would appear to fall in on the Phillies and Cole Hamels in the fourth. The inning would begin with Hamels giving up a walk to Yunel Escobar. Mark Teixeira would follow with a single, sending Escobar to second. Hamels would then walk Brian McCann to load the bases with Braves. The next batter, Omar Infante, would then hit a two-run RBI double into left field, scoring both Escobar and Teixeira, cutting the Phillies’ lead to 3-2, while sending McCann to third. Jeff Francoeur would then hit a sacrifice fly for the first out of the inning, sending home McCann with the tying run, while Infante stayed at second. Martin Prado would then hit a grounder to second that was stopped by Utley. But instead of getting back up, picking up the ball and throwing out Prado, Utley would look at Prado and tried to pick up the ball at the same time, and dropped the ball, committing the first error of the inning, and leaving runners on the corners as Infante moved up to third. The next batter, Mark Kotsay would then hit a RBI single, scoring Infante and sending Prado to second, giving the Braves a 4-3 lead. Mike Hampton then followed with a ground ball right to Hamels. Instead of taking his time and throwing the ball straight to Rollins at second base to start a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning, he would throw the ball away as he throws it to where Rollins had originally started out, allowing Prado to score, Kotsay to reach third, and Hampton to be safe at first, on the second error of the inning, making it 5-3 Braves. Gregor Blanco would then follow with a single, scoring Kotsay and sending Hampton to second, as the Braves increased their lead to 6-3. Escobar, who has originally started the inning, would come up for the second time, but this time he would fly out to right for the second out of the inning. Teixeira would then come up for the second time and cap off the disastrous inning by hitting a three-run home run off of Hamels, his twentieth home run of the year, giving the Braves a 9-3 lead, and what looks to be the final knockout blow to the Phillies’ season. Charlie Manuel would after that finally come out and take a very snake bitten Hamels out of the game, replacing him with Rudy Seanez. Seanez would then end the inning with one pitch as he gets McCann to pop up to Utley, although that almost became a disaster in itself as the ball almost got away from him as it came back down. After Adam Eaton have come into his first game since being sent down to the bullpen after the Joe Blanton trade and put down the Braves in the top of the fifth, the Phillies’ batter would go after Braves’ starter Mike Hampton as they used something that they have not done for a while, playing situational baseball. Rollins would start the inning off with a single. Victorino would then hit a grounder towards deep shortstop that would be picked up by Braves’ shortstop Escobar, who would end up having no play, thus becoming an infield single as Rollins’ speed would allow him to get to second. Utley would then follow them with a single that would load the bases with Phillies. Hampton would then be taken out of the game at this point, replaced by Royce Ring. Howard would greet Ring with a two-run RBI single, scoring both Rollins and Victorino, cutting the Braves’ lead to 9-5, while sending Utley to third. Bobby Cox would then come out for the second time in the inning, and replace Ring with Blaine Boyer. Burrell would then hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Utley, making it 9-6 Braves. Werth would follow with a single, sending Howard to second. Bruntlett would then hit a deep fly ball to center, but Howard would stay at second, instead of going to third. It at first look like a base running blunder, but the next batter, Coste would hit a RBI single in the hole between first and second, allowing Howard to score, making it now a 9-7 Braves’ lead. Greg Dobbs would then come up to pinch hit for Eaton. On a 1-2 pitch, he would crush the ball into the second deck in right field for a three-run home run, his third home run of the year, and his team record tying twentieth pinch hit of the season, scoring both Werth and Coste, giving the Phillies a 10-9 lead. Rollins would then come up for the second time and tried to bunt himself back on. He would instead be thrown out by Boyer. The Phillies would then hold on, as Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would combine for three shut out innings in which they would keep the Braves at bay, before the ball is finally handed over to Brad Lidge in the ninth, who would redeem himself for his previous night’s implosion by getting the Braves to go 1-2-3 for his twenty-third straight save without blowing it, breaking the team record that was originally set by Billy Wagner.

Cole Hamels would get a no-decision as he pitches three and two-thirds innings, giving up nine runs, four of which were earned, on six hits and three walks, two of whom would later score. Rudy Seanez would pitch a third of an inning, getting one man out on one pitch. Adam Eaton would get the win, as he pitched one inning, giving up no runs on one hits. Eaton’s record is now 4-8 with a 5.66 ERA. Ryan Madson, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero would each pitch a scoreless inning, although Durbin would also pitch to one batter in the eighth, giving up only two hits (Durbin), while walking four. Brad Lidge would get a 1-2-3 inning, recording his twenty-third straight save without blowing one. Mike Hampton would also get a no-decision as he pitches four innings plus three batters, giving up six earned runs on six hits. Royce Ring would only pitch to one batter, giving up a single. Blaine Boyer would get the lost as he pitches an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits. His record is now 2-6 with a 4.18 ERA. Will Ohman, Rafael Soriano and Julian Tavarez would each pitch a scoreless inning, giving up no hits to the Phillies.

I don’t know which one I am more shocked by, the implosion in the fourth inning, or the comeback in the fifth, using situational hitting. Seeing the Phillies collapse the way they did in the top of the fourth seems to show the way the Phillies have been screwing up so far this season, especially with Hamels throwing away the double play ground ball because he have been feeling frustrated up to that point in the inning, when he needed to just take his time and throw to Rollins at second for the second out of the inning, to lead to the end of the inning with a double play, and then to follow that up a few batters later by throwing up a home run pitch to Mark Teixeira in what, to me at least, seems to be the final collapse of the Phillies’ season. But then, to watch the team come back the way they did in the fifth inning, and doing it by using some situational hitting, something that they finally seems to be able to do, appear to show that the team isn’t dead yet. But, I’m going to wait to see if they can continue doing this for a while before thinking that the run machine is finally back and is now running once again on all cylinders.

The Phillies (55-49) will finish their three games weekend series with the Braves (49-54) this afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 1:35 pm Eastern. The Phillies will send to the mound Joe Blanton (5-12, 5.00), who is coming off a so-so start against the Mets on July 22, where he would go six innings, giving up five earned runs on eight hits, in the Phillies’ dramatic come from behind 8-6 win. This will be his first ever start against the Braves as he try to continue adjusting to pitching to National League batters while trying to help the Phillies get their first series win of the second half. The Braves will counter with Jorge Campillo (5-4, 2.83), who is coming off a win against the Marlins, where he went seven innings, giving up no earned runs on two hits. He has pitched four time against the Phillies, twice in relief and twice as a starter, being 0-1 with a no-decision against them as a starter, and 0-0 as a reliever, pitching a combine total of thirteen and two-thirds innings, giving up eight earned runs on twenty-one hits. He will be trying to do better than he did in his last start against them, while trying to help the Braves will the series.

The Phillies stayed tied with the Marlins in second place, both now traling the Mets by a game, as the Mets have lost their game with the Cardinals in extra-innings. The Braves still trail the two second place teams by five and a half games. The Phillies will be trying for their first series win of the second half.

The Phillies’ offense continues to do nothing than waste good efforts by the starters as they lose to the Braves, 8-2.

The Phillies would end up wasting another good effort by one of their starters, this time by Kyle Kendrick, before the Braves would finally explode for seven runs in the ninth off of the Phillies’ relief corps. Kendrick and Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens would be involved in a six innings long pitchers’ duel, with the only run scored during this time being on a solo home run off of Kendrick by Brian McCann, his nineteenth home run of the year, giving the Braves a 1-0 lead, while Kendrick constantly got himself out of trouble, keeping the Braves from scoring any more runs during his time on the mound. In the meantime, the Phillies’ offense would be unable to do anything against Jurrjens, constantly going down 1-2-3. The Braves would break the game wide open in the ninth as they become the first team to score more than a run off of Phillies’ closer Brad Lidge as he came in to pitch the ninth to try and keep the Phillies within striking distance of the Braves. Pinch hitter Greg Norton would greet Lidge with a pinch hit double off of the wall in center. Gregor Blanco would then get on base as he would beat out the throw from third basemen Greg Dobbs on a bunt attempt to move Norton up to third, which would instead be recorded as a single. Yunel Escobar would then walk, loading the bases. Mark Teixeira would follow with a RBI single, scoring Norton to make it 2-0 Braves, while leaving the bases loaded. The next batter, McCann, would then hit a grand slam home run, his twentieth home run of the year, scoring Blanco, Escobar and Teixeira, giving the Braves a 6-0 lead. Charlie Manuel would then come out and remove Lidge, replacing him with Clay Condrey. After Condrey gets Mark Kotsay to pop up for the first out of the inning, he would give up a double to Jeff Francoeur. He would then give up a RBI double to Kelly Johnson, scoring Kotsay, to make it a 7-0 Braves’ lead. Omar Infante would then follow with a RBI single, scoring Johnson and giving the Braves a 8-0 lead. in the bottom of the ninth, the Phillies would score their only runs of the game as Ryan Howard would, with two outs, hit a two-run home run, his thirtieth home run of year, scoring Chase Utley, who has earlier singled, to make it 8-2 Braves. That would end up being the final score as Will Ohman would get Pat Burrell to fly out for the final out.

Kyle Kendrick would pitch a good game, even if he had to constantly pitch himself out of trouble, but still takes the lost because of lack of offensive support, as he goes six innings, giving up only one earned run on seven hits. His record is now 8-5 with a 4.70 ERA. J.C. Romero and Chad Durbin would both pitch a scoreless inning, with both giving up no hits. Brad Lidge would get rocked by the Braves as he faced five batters, getting no one out as he gives up five earned runs on four hits and a walk. Clay Condrey would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on three hits and a walk. Jair Jurrjens would get the win, as he pitched an excellent game against the Phillies, pitching eight innings, giving up no runs on three hits. Will Ohman would pitch an inning, giving up two earned runs on two hits.

Man, this is getting to be a broken record. The Phillies’ starter pitches a quality start, going six or more innings, and leaves the game either trailing by a few runs, or just barely leading, as the Phillies’ offense can’t seem to get anything started. And to make matters worst, one of the reliever would then come in and get tagged for several runs late in the game, with closer Brad Lidge this time being the victim as he gets lighted up for five runs, followed by Clay Condrey, who gets tagged for two more. I am not going to say anything more about the witless Phillies’ offense except for this: THEY STINK!!!!! THEY ROT!!! THEY REEK!!! THEY MAKE GARBAGE LOOK GOOD BY COMPARISION!!! End of story! GRUMBLE!!!!

The weekend series continues tomorrow as the Phillies (54-49) play the Braves (49-53) in an afternoon game at Citizens Bank Park. The game will start at 3:55 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be ace Cole Hamels (9-6, 3.11), who is coming off of a no-decision against the Marlins on July 20, going eight innings as he gives up only two earned runs on four hits. Hamels has faced the Braves two times already this year, having a 2-0 record against them, going a combined total of seventeen and two-thirds innings, giving up only one earned run on nine hits. Hamels will for the fourth straight week try to notch his tenth win of the year while pondering if the Phillies’ batters will finally give him some runs support, after pitching three straight quality starts with little support. The Braves will be sending to the mound Mike Hampton (0-0, _.__), who will be making his first start at the major league level since 2005. He will be looking for his first win of the year, while hoping to continue the Phillies present offensive woes.

The Phillies are now tied for second place with the Marlins, both teams now trailing the Mets by two games, as the Mets have won their game with the Cardinals. The Phillies now lead the Braves by four and a half games after the lost. The Phillies continue in free fall, as they have just lost their fifth game in the second half, wondering when they are going to start breaking out the bats and score runs.

The Phillies sweep the Braves, as Hamels just missed pitching another shut out.

The Phillies leaves Atlanta with a sweep and a surprising winning road trip while Cole Hamels just missed pitching a complete game shut out as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 4-1. The Phillies would score their first run in the first inning as Braves’ starter Jair Jurrjens gives up a solo home run to Chase Utley, his league leading twenty-fourth home run of the year, making it 1-0 Phillies. The Phillies would make it 2-0 in the fourth, when, with one out, Pedro Feliz would hit a RBI single, scoring Pat Burrell, who had gotten on base earlier with a double. The Phillies would increase their lead to 3-0 in the sixth when Ryan Howard would hit his twenty-second home of the year, a solo shot to left. The fourth and last Phillies’ run would come in in the seventh on a solo hime run by Feliz, his tenth home run of the year. While the Phillies were scoring their runs, Hamels was dominating the Braves, keeping them scoreless for eight innings, giving up only three hits during that time, while striking out six of the seven Braves that he would strike out that night. This would all change in the ninth. Chipper Jones would start the inning off with a double to center. Hamels would then get out the next two Braves, Mark Teixeira via a ground ball, short to first, that would keep Jones at second, and then striking out Omar Infante for his seventh strike out of the game. But, he would then lose the shut out as he gives up a RBI double to Brian McCann, a ball that got past a diving Howard, scoring Jones, making the score 4-1 Phillies. That would be it for Hamels, as Charlie Manuel takes him out of the game and replaces him with Tom Gordon. Gordon would end the game on one pitch as he gets the slumping Jeff Francoeur to fly out to left, as he records his second save of the year.

Cole Hamels would get the win as he goes eight and two-thirds innings, giving up only an earned run on five hits, while striking out seven. His record is now 9-5 with a 3.22 ERA. Tom Gordon would pitch to only one batter as he records his second save of the year. Jair Jurrjens would take the lost, as he goes seven innings, giving up four earned runs on eight hits. His record is now 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA. Will Ohman and Mike Gonzalez would both pitch a hitless/scoreless inning.

While the Phillies’ offense would be limited tonight to only eight hits, they would mostly be for extra-bases (1 (2B), 1 (3B), 3 (HR)). And, with Cole Hamels on the mound that would be more than enough for him to work with. With the sweep, the Phillies will end up with a winning road trip, something that was now expected with the way the Phillies were batting in both Oakland and Arlington, Texas. They will now come home to begin a four games series with the Mets.

The first place Phillies (47-39) will now come home to Citizens Bank Park for a four games Independence Weekend series with the third place Mets (42-43). The first game will be played tomorrow night, starting at 7:05 pm Eastern. The Phillies’ starter will be J.A.Happ (0-0, -.–), who has just been called up from Lehigh Valley, where he has went 5-6 with a ERA of 3.54. He will be taking Brett Myers place in the rotation, hoping to pitch well enough to stay with the main team.The Mets will send out Johan Santana (7-7, 3.01), who is coming off a loss to the Yankees on June 28, where he would pitch six innings, giving up three earned runs on four hits, in the Mets’ 3-2 lost. He has lost his last three games in a row and four of his last five, with a no-decision in a game that the Mets would also lose. Santana will for the sixth straight time be trying for his eighth win of the season, while hoping that he can stop the Phillies just reawaken offense.

The Phillies’ lead over the Marlins is presently at two and a half games, as the Marlins have just lost to the Rockies in extra-innings. Their lead over the Mets is presently at four and a half games, as the Mets have just defeated the Cardinals in St.Louis. The Phillies, with the win, are now leading the Braves by seven games. As the Phillies come home for Independence Day, they hope to celebrate it by producing some fireworks of their own against the Mets.

The red hot Phillies leave Atlanta with a sweep. Head south to wreck further havoc in Miami.

The Phillies have finished their sweep of the shellshocked Braves by defeating Atlanta with a three run ninth to win the game, 6-3. The Phillies would start the game off by taking the lead in the first inning, when Ryan Howard hit a RBI double, scoring Shane Victorino, who has earlier singled, to give the Phillies a 1-0 lead. The lead would increase to 2-0 two batters later, when, with the bases loaded and two out, Geoff Jenkins would ground out to first, scoring Chase Utley who has earlier singled. The Braves would tie it up in their half of the first, when Mark Teixeira hit his tenth home run of the year off of Phillies’ starter Adam Eaton, scoring Yunel Escobar, who has earlier doubled. The Phillies would retake the lead in the third, when Howard would hit his second RBI double of the ballgame, scoring Victorino, who has earlier singled, making it 3-2 Phillies. In the fourth, Atlanta would come back to tie it at three all when Josh Anderson hit a RBI single, knocking in Omar Infantine, who has reached base earlier with a single. The game would then become a battle between the two teams’ bullpens, once Eaton and Braves’ starter Jorge Campillo were both taken out of the game by the end of the sixth inning. The bullpens would keep both teams off of the scoreboard, until the ninth. With Blain Boyer pitching for the Braves, the Phillies would retake the lead, when, with one out, and with runners on first and second, Victorino would hit a RBI single, scoring pinch hitter Eric Bruntlett, who has earlier singled, making it 4-3 Phillies. Now, with the bases loaded, and with still one out, Howard would hit his third RBI double of the game, knocking in Jimmy Rollins, who has singled earlier and Victorino, giving the Phillies a 6-3 lead. Brad Lidge would then be brought in to pitch the ninth, and he would pitch a 1-2-3 inning to record his seventeenth save in seventeen tries.

Adam Eaton would get a no-decision as he would go six innings, giving up three earned runs on eight hits. Chad Durbin would get the victory as he pitches two scoreless innings while giving up two hits. His record is now 2-1 with a 1.67 ERA. Brad Lidge would pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, as he records his seventeenth save of the season. Jorge Campillo would also get a no-decision as he pitches five and one-third innings for the Braves, giving up three earned runs on seven hits. Buddy Carlyle would go two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits. Will Ohman would pitch two innings, giving up no runs on no hits. Blaine Boyer would take the lost as he pitches a third of an inning, giving up three earned runs on three hits. His record is now 1-4 with a 4.08 ERA. Manny Acosta would pitch two-thirds of an inning, giving up no runs on no hits.

The Phillies have swept their third series of the season, and they did it in the ballpark of the team that used to own the Eastern Division. For the third straight game, the Phillies’ offense would get some timely hits late in the game to win it, while the relievers continue to shut down the opposition, allowing the offense to be able to win the game in the late innings.

The win put the Phillies (39-26) thirteen games over .500 as they head to Miami to visit the Florida Marlins (34-28) for a three games series starting Tuesday night. The first place Phillies are still  three and a half games ahead of the second place Marlins, who won their game against the Reds as they wait for the red hot Phillies to arrive. With the lost, the third place Braves are now six and a half games behind the Phillies. The fourth place Mets are now seven and a half games behind the Phils as they have lost once again to the Padres. As the Phillies take the day off and travel south to Miami, the Marlins will play the final game of their four games set with the Reds, while the Braves travel to Chicago to start a series with the Cubs and the Mets will also be taking the day off.

Edit: The Phillies’ win on Saturday was Charlie Manuel’s 300th victory as the Phillies’ manager.

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