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Archive for July, 2007

San Diego Wallops Astros on 11 Run 1st, What Goes Around, Comes Around After 38 Years

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

                Mike Cameron        Adrian Gonzalez

On July 30, 2007, the San Diego Padres pounded the Houston Astros from the opening pitch in winning a wild and wooly slugfest by an 18-11 score.

The Padres lit up Houston for 11 runs in the first inning capped by twin two-run blasts to leftfield by centerfielder Mike Cameron and 1st baseman  Adrian Gonzalez.  15 Padres paraded to the plate in the 1st inning to batter Houston starter Jason Jennings and reliever Mark McLemore from pillar to post.   As if a consolation, the Astros came back with 7 runs of their own as they attempted to climb back into a game way out of control.

Baseball Almanac lists a number of other teams throughout MLB history who have scored so prolifically in one inning.

But 38 years ago, plus 1 day, on July 29, 1969, the Astros faced the New York Mets in a doubleheader at Shea Stadium.

         Jerry Koosman      Shea Stadium     Jimmy Wynn

Baseball Library gives an account of what transpired during this infamous twin bill;

In the 1st of 2 games‚ Houston scores 11 runs in the 9th inning‚ 8 coming home on grand slams by Jimmy Wynn and  Denis Menke‚ to trounce the Mets 16-3. This is the first time this century in the NL that 2 grand slams have come in the same inning‚ with Mets pitchers Cal Koonce and Ron Taylor teeing up the honors. (the last time in the AL was July 18‚ 1962) Taylor also serves up a single to Houston relief P Fred Gladding‚ the only hit of Gladding’s career in 63 ML at bats and 450 games.

Game 2 is no different as the Astros tally 10 runs in the 3rd inning to thrash the Mets‚ 11-5.  Curt Blefary triples with the sacks full and pitcher Larry Dierker (13-8) homers with a man on.

But after the Mets were handed this memorable doubleheader pounding, they took off on an incredible tare.  The Mets, who were sitting with a 55-43 mark in the NL East after the monstrous doubleheader, went on to win 45 of their remaining 64 games to finish in first place with a 100-62 mark in the NL East.  They were called the “Miracle Mets.”

They made short work of the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS sweeping them 3-0 although the Braves were heavily favored to win.  And they defeated the  Baltimore Orioles by 4-1 in the World Series despite what was thought to be superior Oriole pitching; Mike Cuellar 23-11, Dave McNally 20-7 and Jim Palmer 16-4.

The Astros however, would play right around .500 ball in 1969 and for for the next 9 seasons before they rose to challenge the Cincinnati Reds for the NL West title.  In 1980, the Astros succeeded in winning their first-ever NL West Divisional Title but would fall to the Philadelphia Phillies in a hard-fought 5 game NLCS series, thought by many to be the greatest LCS ever played.

Phillies Beat Cubs on Hamel’s 3 Hitter, Trade for Starter

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

             Aaron Rowand     Cole Hamels     Tadahito Iguchi

Phillies lefthander Cole Hamels won the duel of lefthanders pitching 8 brilliant innings while centerfielder Aaron Rowand clubbed a third inning 2 out, three run homer and newly acquired 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi added an insurance run with a lead-off solo homer in the 5th inning as the Phillies won their series opener over the Chicago Cubs by a 4-1 score.

In winning, the Phils gained 1/2 game on both the Mets and the Braves as the rest of the National League had the day off.  The Phillies are now merely 3 games behind the Mets in the race for 1st place in the NL East and are 1 1/2 games up on the 3rd place Braves.

8 year veteran lefthander and losing pitcher Ted Lilly pitched 5 innings giving up the 4 runs on the two homers as the Phillies threatened in the 1st and 2nd innings before scoring in the 3rd.  Lilly was replaced to begin the 6th inning, having given up 7 hits while walking 3 and striking out 3 in the 97 pitch performance.  The Cubs bullpen shut the door on the Phillies over the final 4 innings.

Meanwhile, Hamels was masterful in giving up only 3 hits while walking 2 and striking out 8 to win his 12th game of the season.  Only in the 5th inning did the Cubs get two men on base and they were due to walks. Hamels went clean on Chicago in 4 of his 8 innings and in the 6th inning, after shortstop Ryan Theriot led off with a homer, Hamels retired the next 3 hitters.

But the game was not without it’s moments for the Phillies.  The AP report for Yahoo sports notes;

Already battling injuries, the Phillies lost right fielder Shane Victorino in the fourth inning. He strained his right calf trying to beat out a double play and will have a precautionary MRI exam on Tuesday.

The Phillies had a scare in the fifth inning. Victorino’s replacement,  Michael Bourn, injured himself chasing Alfonso Soriano’s foul ball. Bourn stumbled over the bullpen mound. After laying on the ground for several minutes with the team trainer checking on him, he got up and stayed in the game, but was taken out in the seventh inning with a left ankle sprain. Bourn will undergo an X-ray on Tuesday.

In a separate report, and in light of reliever Ryan Madson’s placement on the 15 day disabled list and his possible loss for the season due to a right shoulder strain or possible tear, the Phillies moved to strengthen their pitching staff by acquiring starter Kyle Lohse from the  Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a minor league lefthander.

AP Sports writer Rick Gano reports for Yahoo sports;

The Phillies, looking to bolster their starting rotation in the stretch, obtained the right-hander from the Cincinnati Reds on Monday for young and durable minor league lefty Matt Maloney.

The 28-year-old Lohse is 6-12 with a 4.58 ERA in 21 starts this season, going 4-3 with a 2.57 ERA at home but 2-9 with a 6.42 ERA in the road. He is 4-6 in his last 10 decisions.

In eight seasons with the Twins and Reds, Lohse is 60-74 with a 4.83 ERA. Cincinnati acquired him from Minnesota at the July 31 trade deadline last year.

“I’m a little excited, happy to be going to a team in the race. But I’m disappointed we couldn’t get it done here. So it’s a little bit of mixed emotions,” Lohse said.

Asked whether he’d pitched better than his statistics indicate, Lohse said: “I feel that way, but my numbers are what they are. … I had a couple bad games here and there that kind of skewed the numbers.”

Lohse pitched five postseason games while with the Twins from 2002-2004, starting one and going 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA.

“We like the Double-A pitcher, but we had to give up something to get something,” Phillies general manager Pat Gillick said, adding that the Phillies needed a veteran pitcher.

“As I said, he’s got experience and he takes his turn. He’s been in the postseason with Minnesota. We thought with (Ryan) Madson going down we had to add somebody to pick up the slack and give us a little more depth in our pitching staff and I think he can fulfill this role.”

“Kyle Lohse will be one of our starters,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel, who didn’t want to identify the demoted starter.

Lohse was the Reds’ player most likely to be dealt since Cincinnati didn’t expect to re-sign him. He is making $4.2 million his year and is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

Although manager Charlie Manuel wouldn’t identify the demoted pitcher, Inquirer staff writer Todd Zolecki indicates on his blog, as does MLB’s Ken Mandel, that J.D. Durbin, who has surprised by going 3-2 since being acquired by the Phils will be dropped from the starting rotation.  A glance at the Yahoo Phillies page indicates that Lohse will be the Phillies’ starter in the Milwaukee series opener on Thursday.  

Frankly, I would have expected Adam Eaton to take the hit as he has not exactly scintillated recently whereas Durbin has performed beyond expectations.

For the scores, boxscores on this and all of Monday’s games, click here.

Tuesday’s game two pits Adam Eaton who goes for his 10th win against Jason Marquis.  Wednesday’s series finale will be another duel of lefthanders as veteran Jamie Moyer goes for win #10 vs 3rd year lefty Rich Hill. 

The Phils then move on to play a series with Milwaukee beginning Thursday.

For the scores, boxscores on all of Tuesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Sweep Pirates with 5-1 Win

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

            Jimmy Rollins      Kyle Kendrick     Chris Coste

Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick pitched one of his finest games since being called up to the big club, 7 innings, 1 run on 6 hits for his 5th win, and the Phils got just enough offense, including a couple of 8th inning insurance runs on pinch-hitter Chris Coste’s 2 run double to leftfield, to win by a 5-1 score and to complete their 1st sweep of the Pirates since 2001.

With the win, the Phillies stay within striking distance of the NL East first place Mets who shut out the Washington Nationals in a rain-shortened regulation 5 inning game by a 5-0 score.  John Maine won his 12th game and pitched a 1 hitter of 5 innings.

Atlanta remains a game behind the Phillies despite routing Arizona by a 14-0 score as Tim Hudson pitched a 7 inning 3 hitter for the Braves.

The Phillies scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings and Coste’s two insurance RBIs in the 8th.

The AP report for Yahoo sports outlines the game’s scoring;

Philadelphia took a 1-0 lead in the first inning off Ian Snell (7-9). Newly acquired Tadahito Iguchi doubled and later scored on a wild pitch.

In the third, Aaron Rowand doubled home Rollins for a 2-0 lead. The Phillies loaded the bases with one out but failed to break the game open.  Snell fanned Greg Dobbs for the second out and shortstop Cesar Izturis robbed Carlos Ruiz of a hit with a nifty diving stop and flip from his stomach to second baseman Freddy Sanchez to end the threat.

Rollins tripled and scored on a Ryan Howard’s sacrifice fly in the fifth, and Chris Coste, who hit a three-run homer on Saturday, drove in two runs with a pinch-hit single in the eighth. Coste had six RBIs in two games.

McLouth broke up Kendrick’s shutout in the sixth inning with a solo homer to right field. It was McLouth’s third of the season.

Snell, who was 2-0 with a 0.64 ERA against the Phillies in his previous two starts, allowed three runs on six hits over six innings to lose for the fourth straight time. He struck out seven, including six in a row at one point, and walked three.

Rollins, who moved into the No. 3 spot in the lineup after All-Star Chase Utley went down with a hand injury, went 3-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to nine games. He also had three hits on Saturday and has 15 three-hit games this season.

Kendrick (5-1) allowed one run on six hits, walking one and striking out four. It was his first victory since July 13.

With the score 3-1, reliever Ryan Madson took over for Kendrick in the 8th inning.  Madson got the first two outs and worked an 0-2 count on leftfielder Jason Bay before leaving with what was announced as a right shoulder strain.  Great! Just what we need, another reliever to go down.  Reliever Antonio Alfonseca finished off Bay for a strikeout to end the inning.

Jose Mesa came on in the 9th inning and started doing what Jose Mesa does best — fall behind in counts.  And so, rightfielder Xavier Nady worked a 3-1 count on Mesa and lined a double over Rowand’s head in centerfield.  But then Mesa got a line fly ball to right for out one.  On the 2nd out, Ryan Howard made a hustling, over the shoulder catch of a foul ball in shallow rightfield.  Then Mesa gobbled up a ground ball to the pitcher to seal the victory.

For the scores, boxscores on all of Sunday’s games, click here.

The Phils next travel to Chicago for a 3 game series with the Cubs beginning Monday.   The opener is scheduled as duel of evenly matched lefthanders who both own 11 wins as Cole Hamels opposes 8 year veteran  Ted Lilly.

Following the Cubs series, the Phils then move on to play a series with Milwaukee beginning Thursday.

For the scores, boxscores on all of Monday’s games, click here.

Phillies’ 8 Run 5th Sinks Pirates

Sunday, July 29th, 2007

                   Chris Coste       Jimmy Rollins

Phillies catcher Chris Coste belted a 3 run homer amidst an 8 run uprising against Pirates’ starter Shane Youman in the 5th inning.  Coste and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, going 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs and 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs respectively, carried the bulk of the load while the Phils overcame starter  J.D. Durbin’s five shaky innings and a 5-2 Pirates lead to win by a 10-5 score.  Durbin was credited with the win despite his shakiness.

By winning, the Phillies picked up a game on the NL East leading Mets who split a Saturday doubleheader at Shea Stadium with the Washington Nationals winning the opener by a 3-1 score while losing the nightcap by a 6-5 score.  The Phillies also took over undisputed 2nd place with a one game lead on the Atlanta Braves who lost to Arizona by 4-3 score. 

The Phillies took an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings on Jimmy Rollins’ RBI double to left centerfield and Chris Coste’s RBI double, also to left centerfield.

In the meantime, Durbin retired the first 8 hitters he faced.  But, after Durbin got the first 2 outs in the 3rd inning, the Pirates jumped to a 4-2 lead scoring 4 runs on a 3 run homer to leftfield by 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez and an RBI single by rightfielder Xavier Nady.  The Phillies went down in the 4th inning despite a leadoff single by newly acquired 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi as Youman retired the next 3 Phils.

The Bucs added a 5th run in the 5th inning as Nady got his 2nd RBI of the game on a double to rightfield. The Pirates entered the Phillies’ half of the 5th with a 5-2 lead.  But then came the deluge.

AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi describes the inning and the Phillies’ bludgeoning of losing pitcher Youman for Yahoo sports;

The Phillies sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth.  Shane Victorino doubled to start the inning and Rollins reached on a bunt single.   Ryan Howard walked to load the bases and Pat Burrell walked to force in Victorino. Rollins scored when third baseman Jose Castillo booted Wes Helms’ grounder for an error.

[Masumi] Kuwata replaced Youman and allowed Iguchi’s sacrifice fly to tie it at 5. Coste ripped the next pitch into the left-field seats to give the lead for good.

Despite hitting .328 in 198 at-bats last year, Coste started this season in the minors. He could be heading down again when outfielder Jayson Werth comes off the disabled list, though the Phillies could move catcher Rod Barajas instead.

“That’d be tough,” manager Charlie Manuel said about sending Coste to the minors again. “He has some intangibles. He’s a good player and he steps up at a big moment.”

Teammates call Coste: “Chris Clutch.”

Rollins made it 10-5 with a two-run triple. The 5-foot-8, 174-pound Rollins, normally a leadoff hitter, leads the NL with 243 total bases, including 20 homers and 13 triples. Only  Alex Rodriguez has more total bases (276) than Rollins. 

The Phils’ 8 run 5th inning was a season-high output for them in an inning.

With a 10-5 lead, the bullpen took over in the 6th inning and held the Pirates to 2 hits over the remainder of the game to lock up the win and give indications of how things could look in the stretch run against the Mets and Braves.  Jose Mesa, Tom Gordon, Ryan Madson and Brett Myers combined to completely close down the Pirates, each pitching an inning. 

For the scores, boxscores on all of Saturday’s games, click here.

In Sunday’s series and home finale, rookie Kyle Kendrick faces Pirate ace  Ian Snell.

The Phils next travel to Chicago for a 3 game series with the Cubs beginning Monday.   The opener is scheduled as duel of evenly matched lefthanders who both own 11 wins as Cole Hamels opposes 8 year veteran  Ted Lilly.

The Phils then move on to play a series with Milwaukee beginning on Thursday.

For the scores, boxscores on all of Sunday’s games, click here.

Phillies Defeat Pirates in Rain-Shortened Opener

Saturday, July 28th, 2007

             Michael Bourne      Jamie Moyer     Pat Burrell

Phillies veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer pitched 7 fine innings, centerfielder  Michael Bourn picked up the slack for regular centerfielder Aaron Rowand and injured 2nd baseman Chase Utley with a 4 for 4 game and leftfielder  Pat Burrell went 2 for 3 with a 2 run homer and 3 RBIs as the Phillies battered the Pittsburgh Pirates by an 8-1 score in Friday’s rain-shortened opener of their 3 game series.

By winning, the Phillies picked up 1/2 game on the NL East leading Mets who lost to the Washington Nationals by a 6-2 score at Shea Stadium on Friday and defeated the Nationals 3-1 on Saturday in the first of a day/night doubleheader.  The Phillies also tied the Atlanta Braves for 2nd place as the Braves lost to Arizona by 8-7 in 11 innings. The Phils actually took over 2nd place by 1/10 of a point over the Braves.

The Phillies opened with 2 runs in the 1st inning as Bourn opened with a single to centerfield and rightfielder Shane Victorino was hit by a pitch.

AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston picks up on the Phillies’ scoring from here and comments on how they picked up the slack in Utley’s absence for Yahoo sports;

The Phillies touched starter John Van Benschoten (0-5) for two runs in the first inning. Van Benschoten loaded the bases with no out, then struck out Howard and Burrell.  [Greg] Dobbs, though, followed with a two-run single to right.

Pittsburgh has allowed eight first-inning runs in the last four games.

“We were fortunate to be out of the first inning trailing by only two,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.

Van Benschoten skipped his last scheduled start to work on his mechanics and the Pirates surely wish they skipped him again. He’s now gone three straight starts without pitching out of the third inning, and allowed seven runs and six hits in 2 1-3 innings in this one.

Burrell hit a two-run homer to left, his 13th, for a 4-0 lead.  Carlos Ruiz had an RBI double and Moyer’s run-scoring single, his first RBI this season, made it 6-0 and chased Van Benschoten.

Jimmy Rollins added an RBI single off Tony Armas and Burrell walked with the bases loaded to put the Phillies ahead 8-0 [in the 3rd inning].

“We have a key person get hurt and that’s a big loss for us,” Bourn said. “We’ve got to patch it together and move on.”

Because of Bourn, Utley’s absence was hardly noticed against the NL-worst Pirates in a game that was called after a 61-minute delay following the seventh inning.

In the meantime, Moyer made short work of the Pirates through 4 innings before catcher Ronny Paulino drove in Pittsburgh’s lone run with a single to rightfield in the 5th inning.

Pittsburgh threatened in the 7th inning getting 2 one out singles.  But then, Moyer got pinch hitter Ryan Doumit to ground into double play, shortstop to second to first.  The Phils were retired in the 7th and then the rains came, ergo the stoppage of play.

Abraham Nunez, subbing at 2nd base for Utley, went 0 for 4, but relief may be in sight for the Phillies as they try to move forward during the duration of Utley’s absence. 

AP’s Gelston also reports on why Aaron Rowand was missing from the lineup on Friday;

Rowand… injured his left shoulder playing tag with neighborhood kids after Thursday’s game, and was day to day.

With an ice pack on his shoulder, Rowand said after the game he was already feeling better.

On Friday, the Phils made a trade with the Chicago White Sox, getting  Tadahito Iguchi, a 2nd baseman with some pop with the stick, in exchange for minor league righthander Michael Dubee, son of Phils pitching coach Rich Dubee.

In other moves, pitcher Brett Myers was reactivated and was available if needed in Friday’s game.  AP’s Gelston reports;

To make room on the 40-man roster, INF Danny Sandoval and utility player Joe Thurston were designated for assignment. LHP Mike Zagurski was optioned to Ottawa. 

Hopefully, reliever Jose Mesa will be the next to get axed.

In a different report, on the status of Chase Utley’s broken hand, AP’s Gelston reports;

The All-Star second baseman could be back in only three weeks, encouraging news for a team that sorely needs one of their top run producers as it chases New York in the NL East race.

Utley had a pin inserted into his hand to stabilize a broken right ring finger during surgery Friday and was placed on the 15-day disabled list. He was struck by a pitch from Washington’s John Lannan in the fifth inning of the pitcher’s major league debut on Thursday.

The Phillies originally thought Utley could be sidelined much longer — perhaps four-to-six weeks — but team doctor Michael Ciccotti said the gritty star might return as early as “three or four weeks.”

For the scores, boxscores on all of Friday’s games, click here.

On Saturday, J.D. Durbin is opposed by lefthander Shane Youman.

In Sunday’s series and home finale, rookie Kyle Kendrick faces Pirate ace  Ian Snell.
For the scores, boxscores on all of Saturday’s games,
click here.

After 38 Scoreless Innings, Futility Ends With Win over Cubs

Friday, July 27th, 2007

                        Robin Roberts       Don Drysdale

Baseball library records that the Phillies went through one of the longest futility strings in Major League history in late July, 1960, going 38 consecutive scoreless innings spread over 5 games before nudging over a run in the 6th inning of a game against the Chicago Cubs on July 26.

The string started innocently enough.  The Phillies salvaged the final game of a 3 game series with the San Francisco Giants on July 21st winning the game 3-0 on a one-hit shutout by ace and future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts who faced 31 year old Jack Sanford whom the Phils had traded before the 1959 season, in one of the most abysmal trades ever in MLB history.

The snake-bitten Phillies offense tacked 3 runs on the board in the 3rd inning as Sanford didn’t make it through the inning.  Roberts coasted the rest of the way, striking out 8 and only walking one and giving up a single hit to 25 year old leftfielder Felipe Alou.

But the futility of the Phils’ offense started here as the Giants’ veterans  Stu Miller, Johnny Antonelli and Bud Byerly held the Phils scoreless over the final 6 innings.

The Phils travelled to Los Angeles where they had to face Don Drysdale, who shut them out 2-0 on 4 hits striking out 14, followed by Roger Craig, who shut them down on 3 hits by the same 2-0 score, followed by Stan Williams who held them scoreless in spite of 10 hits as the Dodgers jumped all over John Buzhardt and Jim Owens for 9 runs in winning 9-0.  Side-armer Humberto Robinson held the Dodgers scoreless over the 8th and 9th innings, but the hapless Phillies had gone scoreless over 33 innings and had not even faced Sandy Koufax who had yet not achieved the pitching prominence that he would later achieve in the 1961-1966 seasons.

But on July 26, the Phillies broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Robin Roberts and Chicago Cubs veteran Glen Hobbie by pushing over a run in the 6th inning to take a 1-0 lead and to break the scoreless string.  The Cubs scored single runs in the 7th and 8th innings before the Phils struck for 3 runs in the 9th inning, 2 of them on a 2 run homer by catcher Clay Dalrymple who had a career game going 3 for 3 with 3 RBIs.  The Cubs scored another run in the bottom of the 9th as the Phils won by 4-3.

The Phils completed a 3 game sweep of the Cubs with 7-5 and 3-2 wins as they had a rare up period in a season where they finished dead last in the NL for the 3rd straight season in 1960 with a mark of 59-95.