The Phillies stand an even 5 games behnd the Mets and 1 1/2 games behnd the 2nd place Atlanta after sweeping the Mets in 3 games, winning the series finale by a 6-3 score in 10 innings. But one could not have expected the winning result after watching what happened to starter lefthander Cole Hamels with 2 out in the Mets’ 6th inning.
Hamels rolled through 5 innings with a 5 hit shutout, nursing a 2-0 lead in a tight pitching duel with fellow lefthander John Maine.
Leftfielder Ben Johnson opened the 6th with a basehit to centefield. But Hamels got centerfielder Carlos Beltran to ground into a shortstop-to-first base doubleplay. And it’s a goood thing that he did. Two out and 1st baseman Carlos Delgado at the plate.
AP sports writer Ralph D. Russo describes what happened next for Yahoo sports;
Delgado sent the first pitch high and deep to right field, an estimated at 450 feet for his ninth of the season.
[David] Wright followed with a drive to left center that was originally ruled in play. Wright ended up at third, but he quickly started pleading his case to the umpires and pointing to the outfield. Mets manager Willie Randolph walked out to get a word in, too.
After a quick meeting in the infield, the umpires changed the ruling and waved Wright home. Replays showed the ball did clear the wall, hitting an advertising sign just above the fence.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel came out to argue, and at first was relatively calm. It didn’t take long for things to get heated and he was ejected by first base ump and crew chief Jerry Layne.
After waiting for about five minutes for the whole mess to get sorted out, [Paul] Lo Duca hit Hamels’ next pitch into the left field bleachers for his third home run.
Hamels allowed three runs and 10 hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked one.
After the back-to-back-to-back homeruns, one would have figured the Phillies as dis-spirited and dead-in-the-water even though they had won the first two games of this big series.
But this club, after getting off to that horrendous 4-11 start, has shown a penchant, particularly in the last few weeks, for coming back with late inning heroics.
With both Hamels and Mets’ starter Maine, who figured to be the winning pitcher, out of the game after 7 innings each, Mets’ reliever Pedro Feliciano walked 2nd baseman Chase Utley with 2 out in the 8th inning. Feliciano was then pulled in favor of closer Billy Wagner, a lefthander, to pitch to lefthanded slugger Ryan Howard. In a great at bat, Howard worked a walk from Wagner. But then Wagner struck out centerfielder Aaron Rowand to end the inning.
In the meantime, Phillies reliever Yoel Hernandez pitched a perfect 8th inning.
In the Phillies 9th inning, leftfielder Pat Burrell, who has a history of plastering the Mets, led off by nailing a solo shot to left centerfield, his 37th career homer against the Mets, to tie the game at 3-3. Wagner then retired the side 1-2-3.
Phillies lefthanded reliever Mike Zagurski, who notched the his first big league win, got through the 9th inning unscathed despite issuing a walk and giving up a single with 2 out.
The Mets inserted reliever Scott Schoeneweis to pitch the 10th inning despite his being rocked by the Phils in the previous 2 games. Rollins greeted him by singling to rightfield to lead off. Utley drove in Rollins with a double to left for the actual winning run. The Phillies got additional insurance runs as Aaron Rowand singled to centerfield drivng in Utley and moving Ryan Howard, who had been intentionally walked, to second base. Then Burrell doubled leftfield driving in Howard to cap the Phillies scoring. Schoeneweis was charged with hte loss.
Antonio Alfonseca, the substitute closer with Brett Myers and Tom Gordon still on the DL, made short work of the Mets in the 10th to earn his 4th save. Alfonseca saved all 3 wins of the series for the Phillies.
Inquirer staff writer Sam Carchidi notes Burrell’s post game comments on the meaning of the Phillies sweep;
“It’s huge,” said Burrell, who had a big night after being dropped to No. 6 in the order. “Obviously, we still have a lot of ground to make up and a lot of work to do, but it’s nice to get three games.”
All the while, out on the left coast, one of my all-time favorites, Boston’s Curt Schilling was within one out of his first no-hitter against the Oakland Athletics. But leftfielder Shannon Stewart singled to rightfield to break-up the no-hit bid. I couldn’t let this report pass without noting Schilling’s effort.
AP reporter John Dobow reports for Yahoo sports;
Having called fastballs to the first two batters, [Jason] Varitek called for a first-pitch slider to Stewart. Schilling wanted to throw a fastball.
“I was sure he was taking, and Tek was sure he was swinging,” Schilling said. “And I was wrong.”
Boston, with the best record in baseball, had been struggling recently only winning 4 of their past 10 games. A 1st inning solo homer by designated hitter “Big Papi” David Ortiz provided the margin of victory as this one was all Schilling! Schilling now has 3 career one-hitters.
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