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Archive for September, 2007

Phillies Win NL East With Win Over Nationals, Mets Lose to Florida

Sunday, September 30th, 2007

    Jimmy Rollins      Jamie Moyer       Ryan Howard

The Phillies won the NL East Division crown with a convincing 6-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on the last day of the regular season as veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer pitched a clutch 5 1/3 innings giving up 1 run on 6 hits to win his 14th game of 2007. Amidst the chants of “MVP, MVP” which have reverberated throughout Citizens Bank Park for days, shortstop  Jimmy Rollins went 2 for 3 with an RBI and his 20th triple which gave him 20 or over 20 in homers, doubles, triples and stolen bases, only the 4th player in MLB history to accomplish the feat. 

Last year’s NL MVP Ryan Howard pounded his 47 homer of the season while going 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs to bring his league-leading total to 136 RBIs.

The Phillies bullpen trio of Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero and closer Brett Myers were once again air-tight and the Phils’ offense executed bunts, steals and sacrifices to perfection.  The Phils were not to be denied in 2007.

Meanwhile, in New York, veteran lefthander Tom Glavine lasted but 1 out in the 1st inning giving up 7 runs in the first frame to Florida.  Although the  Mets scored a single run in their half of the 1st inning and Dontrelle Willis chased himself by walking 5 Mets, the Met’s offense never got untracked as the Marlins used six pitchers to nail down the 8-1 win and completing the Mets’ monumental late-season dive which leaves them out of the playoffs entirely.

The Phillies opposition in the first round of the playoffs is as yet undetermined as the Milwaukee Brewers defeated the NL wild card leading  San Diego Padres by an 11-6 score. The Padres have slid into a tie for the wild card lead with the Colorado Rockies who defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks by a 4-3 score.  The playoffs will likely start on Wednesday, October 3, 2007.

The Phillies tacked a run on the board on starter Jason Bergmann as Rollins lead off the game with a single, stole 2nd and 3rd bases and scored on 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s rightfield sacrifice fly. 

In the 3rd frame, Howard stepped up with the sacks jammed and smacked a two-run single to rightfield off of Bergmann to put the Phils up 3-0 after 3 innings. 

In the meantime, Jamie Moyer retired 9 of the first 10 hiters he faced, only giving up a one out 1st inning double to 2nd baseman  Ronnie Belliard.

Thing went a little awry for the Phillies as Belliard led off being
safe at first on third baseman
Greg Dobbs’ hurried throwing error.  3rd baseman Ryan Zimmerman followed by striking out looking.  1st baseman  Dmitri Young grounded out to third with Belliard advancing to 2nd base.  Rightfielder Austin Kearns singled to leftfield scoring Belliard and advancing to second on leftfielder Pat Burrell’s throw home.  Luckily, Moyer escaped further damage when leftfielder Wily Mo Pena struck out to retire the side.

Moyer handled the Nationals in the 5th inning, even though catcher Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch thrown from Nationals reliever Jonathan Albaladejo, thus causing a change in Moyer’s battery-mate to Chris Coste. But after Belliard and Dmitri Young both singled in the 6th inning with one out, Manuel lifted Moyer for Tom Gordon who got Kearn to ground into a second to first doubleplay to end the inning.

The Phillies added two insurance runs to their lead in the 6th inning
as Burrell led off with a walk off of
Saul Rivera and was replaced by pinch runner, leftfielder Michael Bourn.  Chris Coste was hit by a pitch.  New 3rd baseman Abraham Nunez laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt along the 3rd base line which moved Bourn to 3rd base and Coste to 2nd base.  Tadahito Iguchi, who the Phils acquired after Chase Utley went down and who performed brilliantly replacing Utley at 2nd base, then hit for Tom Gordon and lofted a sacrifice fly to right centerfield to score Bourn and move Coste to 3rd base.  Then Rollins smacked his 20th triple to rightfield scoring Coste with the 5th Phillies run.

                 Tom Gordon       J.C. Romero      Brett Myers

Howard’s 7th inning belt off of reliever Mike Bacsik was icing on the Phillies cake as J.C. Romero and Myers were awesome and the team was pumped seeing the Mets down by 8-1.

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

Phillies Fall Back to Tie With Mets as Nationals Win

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

Washington Nationals’ rookie lefthander Matt Chico held the  Phillies’ slumbering offense at bay while the Nationals registered single runs in the 1st and 4th innings off of losing pitcher Adam Eaton and charged to Geoff Geary and two more runs in the 7th inning off of Kyle Lohse on 2 Phillie errors as the Nationals finished on top by a 4-2 score.

With the loss, the Phillies dropped back to a first place tie with the Mets who bludgeoned the Florida Marlins by a 13-0 score on 19 hits as John Maine pitched 7 2/3 innings of no-hit ball enroute to win number 15.  The Mets bullpen finished off the Marlins who collected 1 ht off of Maine and committed 3 errors.   Marlins rookies, starter Chris Seddon and reliever Ross Wolf were pounded for 8 runs between them in 2 1/3 innings.

In Milwaukee, the Brewers rallied from an early 3-0 deficit to edge the San Diego Padres by a 4-3 score in 11 innings to dice up Sunday’s regular season final games.

AP writer Rob Maaddi recaps the game for Yahoo sports;

Eaton allowed an RBI double to Ryan Zimmerman in the first to put the Phillies in an early 1-0 hole. He got in trouble in the second after getting the first two outs, but retired Ronnie Belliard on a foul pop to leave the bases loaded.

Left fielder Pat Burrell made a shoestring catch on a sinking liner by Dmitri Young in the third to temporarily bail out Eaton. After Austin Kearns singled to put two runners on, manager Charlie Manuel had seen enough.

Reliever Geoff Geary entered and retired Ryan Church on a double play to end the inning. Geary left with runners on first and third in the fourth.  Felipe Lopez made it 2-0 with a sacrifice fly off Jose Mesa.

Manuel then turned to Kyle Lohse, who pitched seven strong innings to beat Atlanta on Wednesday. Pitching on his normal side day, Lohse tossed two scoreless innings before having problems in the seventh. He came out with one out and runners on the corners.

J.C. Romero nearly got out of the jam, but first baseman  Ryan Howard couldn’t handle Young’s squibber, a run scored and everyone was safe. Zimmerman scored from third to make it 4-0 after catcher [Carlos] Ruiz’s throwing error to center following a wild pitch that allowed pinch-runner Justin Maxwell to advance from first.

Chico (7-9) pitched more like Tom Glavine in his prime than a rookie with a 4.63 ERA against the league’s highest-scoring offense. The left-hander departed after Aaron Rowand homered leading off the seventh to cut it to 4-1. Chico allowed one run and four hits.

Saul Rivera got one out in the seventh before pinch-hitter  Greg Dobbs walked and Carlos Ruiz singled.

Jon Rauch came in and retired pinch-hitter Shane Victorino on a popup and Jimmy Rollins on a grounder to end the threat. Not even the Phillie Phanatic doing his usual dance on the dugout and trying to put a hex on the pitcher could get the rally going.

Howard homered off Rauch with two outs in the eighth to cut it to 4-2.  Chad Cordero pitched a scoreless ninth for his 37th save in 46 chances.

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

In Sunday’s crucial regular season finale, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer goes for hs 14th win vs Jason Bergmann who held the Phillies to 2 runs, 4 hits in 6 innings in his last start against them.

Ninety miles up the road, on Sunday the Mets face an equally crucial final game against the Florida Marlins as two lefthanders; Dontrelle Willis and  Tom Glavine face each other.

At stake in these two ballgames, the NL East Division championship, a playoff game between the Mets and Phillies, or the outside chance that one of these teams might face off against San Diego for the NL wildcard berth.

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

Phillies Blank Nationals, Take Sole Possession of 1st Place in NL East

Saturday, September 29th, 2007

  Ryan Howard    Cole Hamels     Aaron Rowand            

The Phillies’ All Star ace lefthander Cole Hamels was magnificent in easily the biggest game of his major league career.   lst baseman Ryan Howard pounded his 45th homer, a two run opposite field shot to leftfield, shortstop Jimmy Rollins drove in two runs, 2nd baseman Chase Utley had a two hit day and centerfielder Aaron Rowand made an incredible, sliding, backhanded catch of a sinking liner to centerfield with a man on in the 7th inning as the Phils shut out the Washington Nationals by a 6-0 score in the opener of their series. 

The win put the Phillies in sole possession of 1st place in the NL East as the Mets were rocked again, this time by the Florida Marlins by a 7-4 score as Mets lefthander Oliver Perez was manhandled for 6 runs on 6 hits in 3 2/3 innings in the opener of their 3 game regular season-ending series.

The Mets also now trail the San Diego Padres by two games in the NL wild card race with two games remaining.  The Padres defeated the Milwaukee Brewers by a 6-3 score.

Although the Phillies and Nationals were scoreless up until the Phillies 5th inning when the “Phightins’” put 3 runs up on the board against losing pitcher Tim Redding on a 2 run single by Jimmy Rollins followed by an RBI double by Chase Utley, the story of this one was Hamels.

The blossoming star lefthander, who sat on the DL for a month with elbow strain, put together an awesome performance for 8 innings in his 3rd start since returning to the active roster. He tossed 116 pitches in 8 innings while striking out 13, walking one and spreading out 6 hits.

AP reporter Rob Maaddi adds more emphasis to the extent of Hamels’ overpowering performance for Yahoo sports;

Hamels (15-5) shut down the Nationals with a combination of an overpowering fastball and a nasty curve mixed in with his trademark changeup.

Hamels survived one jam, that being in the 3rd inning when the Nationals loaded the bases on 3 singles with an out sandwiched in between. But Hamels got opposing pitcher Tim Redding to ground into a shortstop to 2nd to 1st doubleplay to evade trouble.  The only other possible touchy situation for Hamels was in the 7th inning when he issued his lone walk to lead-off hitter leftfielder Wily Mo Pena.  With one out, catcher Jesus Flores lofted a sinking liner to centerfield which was snared in spectacular style by Aaron Rowand who came out of nowhere after a long run with the sliding, backhanded catch. 

In the meantime, Hamels also drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder in the 6th inning and Howard drove in two runs in the 7th with his 45th homer.  His RBI total stands at 132.

Reliever Clay Condrey closed out the win with a clean 9th inning.

AP’s Maaddi also reports on the Phillies’ magic number and on comments by Phils manager Charlie Manuel;

The Phillies’ magic number to clinch the East is two.

“You don’t have nothing until you have it,” manager Charlie Manuel said. “Do we smell it? Of course we smell it, and we want it.”

AP reporter Jay Cohen reports on the Met’s predicament, also for AP sports;

Everything looked rosy for the Amazin’s when they held a seven-game lead on Sept. 12 with 17 games left, but it’s been mostly downhill from there. They’re on the brink now of an unthinkable collapse: No major league team has blown such a big lead in such a short time at the end of a season.

The Mets aren’t exactly in a good position in the wild-card race, either. They are two games behind San Diego and tied with Colorado.

They have two games left against Florida at Shea Stadium but they might be better off on the road. The Mets are in the midst of their longest losing streak at Shea since they dropped nine in a row in 2004. The Marlins have won seven of their last nine at the Mets’ home.

“It doesn’t feel real good right now but we’ve still got to get a win so we can have a chance,” manager Willie Randolph said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen down the pipe but we have to take care of ourself first.”

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

On Saturday, erratic Adam Eaton, whose start was pushed back from Wednesday, is opposed by rookie lefthander Matt Chico.  In Sunday’s regular season finale, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer goes for hs 14th win vs Jason Bergmann who held the Phillies to 2 runs, 4 hits in 6 innings in his last start against them.

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

Phillies Take Two of Three from Braves, Finally Catch Mets

Friday, September 28th, 2007

                   Kyle Lohse       Kyle Kendrick

It took the Phillies 159 games to do it, but with sparkling pitching performances by the Kyles, Kyle Lohse and Kyle Kendrick. a gritty offense and more clutch performances by the bullpen “A Team” tandem of J.C. Romero, Tom Gordon and Brett Myers which gave up 4 hits, 2 walks and only 1 run in 5 innings of work over the two games, the Phillies have finally caught the Mets with 5-2 and 6-4 victories over the Atlantic Braves before the charged-up, screaming, towel-waving Phillies fans at Citizen’s Bank stadium..  The Phillies and Met stand all knotted up at 87-72 atop the NL East division as the season comes down to the three dramatic final games of the regular season.

The Washington Nationals overcame a 6-2 Mets lead on Wednesday with a 5 run 5th inning and added 2 more insurance runs in the 9th off of dead-armed closer Billy Wagner for a 9-6 win.  The Mets wasted 2 homers and 3 RBIs by centerfielder Carlos Betran. 

On Thursday night, the St. Louis Cardinals nicked Pedro Martinez for a run in the 1st inning and two more in the 3rd for a 3-0 win over the Mets in a make-up game as Joel Pineiro, who pitched 8 great innings, and closer  Jason Isringhausen combined to make the lead stand up and to hand Martinez his first loss of the season since returning from the DL.

In the NL wild card race, the San Diego Padres maintained their one game lead on the Phillies and Mets with an 11-3 rout of the Giants on Wedbnesday followed by a  9-5 pasting of the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday.

                    Tom Gordon          J.C. Romero            Brett Myers

It was Brett Myers on the mound to close out Thursday’s game, but for a moment the demons of Phillies past popped up.  Gordon had just escaped trouble in the 7th and Romero was recipient in the 8th of a rare Chase Utley throwing error followed by his (Utley’s) start of a crushing double-play to choke-off a Braves threat before it began.

Leading off the Braves 9th was rightfielder Jeff Francoeur.   Myers’ first pitch; a fastball up in Francoeurs’ wheelhouse and he took care of it — way out of Citizen’s Bank Park to leftfield to narrow the Phil’s lead to 6-4.  And the visions came back; the 1964 collapse, slow-footed Greg Luzinski’s trapped fly ball in leftfield in the 1977 NLCS vs the Dodgers, or more recently, the Mets back-to-back-to-back homers off of Cole Hamels in a Phillies win this season just to name a few.

Then Myers got centerfielder Andruw Jones to ground out to Abraham Nunez playing 3rd base.  One out.  But then leftfielder Matt Diaz singled to leftfield.  Then pinch hitter Yunel Escobar really gave us a scare.
He lit into Myers with a screaming line drive toward 3rd base with trouble written all over it.  But there was Nunez leaping and spearing the drive in a highlights film catch for the 2nd out.  Then Myers put the Braves out of misery striking out 2nd baseman 
Kelly Johnson to seal the win and the 1st place tie.

            Jimmy Rollins       Shane Victorino      Pat Burrell

On Wednesday, the Phillies got a superb 7 inning performance from Kyle Lohse, a pinch homer from Shane Victorino and a 3 for 4 day from shortstop Jimmie Rollins who edges closer to a .300 BA to go along with 208 hits, 30 homers, 38 doubles and 38 stolen bases.  Romero, Gordon and Myers took care of sealing both Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games.

On Thursday, 1st baseman Ryan Howard and leftfielder Pat Burrell took care of the lumber, each homering and driving in two runs with the Phils’ first 2 runs scoring on Atlanta throwing and fielding errors.  Howard’s 44th homer, a shot rightfield capped a 4 run 1st inning and Burrell’s 30th dinger in the 3rd inning, a 2 run shot, gave the Phillies insurance which the Phillies needed as 3rd baseman Chipper Jones and 1st baseman Mark Teixeira hit back to back homers to draw the Braves to within 6-3 prior to Francoeur’s solo shot off of Myers in the 9th inning.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on these and on all of Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games, click here and here.

With the NL East division title on the line, the Phillies entertain the Washington Nationals on Friday through Sunday for the final three games of the regular season. 

On Friday, lefthander Cole Hamels goes for his 15th win opposed by Tim Redding who held the Phillies to one run over 8 innings in his last appearance.  On Saturday, erratic Adam Eaton, whose start was pushed back from Wednesday, is opposed by rookie lefthander Matt Chico.  In Sunday’s regular season finale, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer goes for hs 14th win vs Jason Bergmann who held the Phillies to 2 runs, 4 hits in 6 innings in his last start against them.

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

Moyer Pounded as Phillies Lose Opener to Braves

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

The Phillies smacked four homers, including shortstop Jimmy Rollins’ 30 homer of the season, his 26th career leadoff homer and ninth this season.  But Atlanta pounded veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer for 6 runs in 5 innings enroute to a 10-6 win in the series opener.

The Mets, who squandered another chance to extend their lead to 3 games on the Phillies, rallied for 6 runs in the 9th inning but fell short as the  Washington Nationals eeked out a wild 10-9 win as Tom Glavine was pounded for 6 runs on 9 hits in 5 innings.  The Phils lost ground in the NL wild card race as the Padres scored 4 runs in the 9th inning to defeat the  San Frincisco Giants by a 6-4 score.  The Phils now trail the Padres by 1 game for the wild card berth.

Atlanta charged right out to a 3-0 lead off of Moyer in the 1st inning on 1st baseman Mark Teixeira’s 3 run centerfield homer.  Rollins’ leadoff homer narrowed the score to 3-1.

Moyer settled down and went clean on the Braves in the 2nd and 3rd innings.  Catcher Brian McCann drove in the Braves’ 4th run with a single to centerfield in the 4th inning.

The Phillies tied the score with 3 runs in the 4th on 1st baseman Ryan Howard’s 2 run shot to center, his 43rd homer of the season, and rightfielder Jayson Werth’s solo homer to leftfield, both off of Atlanta starter Chuck James who lasted 3 2/3 innings.

The Phils took a shortlived 5-4 lead in the 5th on leftfielder Pat Burrell’s sacrifice fly scoring Rollins.

AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi recaps the rest of the game for Yahoo sports;

Atlanta answered quickly against Jamie Moyer (13-12) in the sixth. Jeff Francoeur doubled to start the inning and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to tie it.

Moyer pitched to one more batter, retiring Brian McCann on a bouncer to the mound. Geoff Geary entered and Matt Diaz lined his first pitch for an RBI single to give the Braves a 6-5 lead. After Yunel Escobar doubled with two outs, Edgar Renteria hit a two-run single to make it 8-5.

“It was a matter of keeping the momentum and I didn’t do a good job of it,” Moyer said.

[Chase] Utley’s solo homer off Manny Acosta in the seventh cut it to 8-6. Chipper Jones connected off Tom Gordon in the ninth for insurance runs.

Moyer gave up six runs and six hits in 5 1-3 innings. The 44-year-old left-hander has one win in five starts this month, though he pitched well in his previous two outings.

Braves starter Chuck James didn’t fare any better. He allowed four runs and three hits, all homers, in 3 2-3 innings. Bennett gave up one run in 1 1-3 innings.

Aside from the 4 homers, the Phillies offense was largely silent getting but 6 hits for the game with Utley getting 2 of them and upping his batting average to .336, 3rd in the NL.

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

On Wednesday, the Phillies send Kyle Lohse to oppose 16 game winner Tim Hudson as the Phillies must knot the series or risk falling short in the hunt for both the NL East and the NL wild card berths.  In Thursday’s finale, erratic mega-bust Adam Eaton Faces Atlanta’s  John Smoltz.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on all of Wednesday’s games, click here.

Phillies Pick Up Ground on Day off as Mets, Padres Pounded

Tuesday, September 25th, 2007

The Phillies picked up valuable ground in both of their races on their day off as both the Mets and the San Diego Padres were thumped.

The Mets, who squandered their chance to extend their lead to 3 games on the Phillies, were bludgeoned by a 13-4 score by one of the spoilers, the  Washington Nationals who had avoided a sweep by the Phillies on Sunday with a 5-3 win.  Mets starter Mike Pelfrey was clubbed for 7 runs in 5 2/3rds innings in losing his 8th game of the season against only 3 wins. The loss reduced the lead over the Phils to 2 games.

The other spoilers were the San Francisco Giants who pounded Chris Young for 7 runs in 5 innings enroute to a 9-4 win which brought the losing Padres into an NL wild card tie with the Phillies with identical 85-71 records.  

Austin Kearns hit a three-run homer and Ronnie Belliard drove home three runs amidst the Nationals offensive barrage.

AP sports writer Jay Cohen reports Nationals’ manager Acta’s comments for Yahoo sports;

“We’re not going to roll over,” said Nationals manager Manny Acta, the Mets’ third base coach the previous two seasons. “I still think they have the best team in our division. If I’m going to pick a situation I’ll pick their situation, two games up with (six) games to play.”

The Nationals, who played a 4 game series against the Phillies last week, play them in Philadelphia for the final 3 games of the season.

Shortstop Omar Vizquel drove in a season-high four runs as Giants’ starter lefthander Barry Zito ended a six-start winless stretch.

AP sports write Jane McCauley comments on Padres’ starter and 2007 NL All Star Chris Young’s poor 2nd half performance and Barry Bonds’ absence from the lineup for Yahoo sports;

Young is 0-5 in 10 starts since a win against the Phillies on July 19. Young’s seven runs and seven earned runs allowed both matched his career high. He hadn’t given up seven runs since July 14 last year against Atlanta.

And he didn’t even have to deal with home run king Barry Bonds.

Fans at AT&T Park stand during the seventh inning stretch and hold up signs thanking the San Francisco Giants’ Barry Bonds during their baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Francisco, Monday,
The 43-year-old slugger missed his ninth straight game while nursing a sprained big right toe, though manager Bruce Bochy was still hopeful Bonds would play at least one final time to say goodbye to his hometown fans in the city where he’s spent 15 of the 22 years in his career.

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

The Phillies head home for their final 6 games of the season.  They open a 3 game series with Atlanta on Tuesday and finish up with 3 games against the Washington Nationals on Friday thru Sunday.

On Tuesday, the Atlanta series opener is a battle of lefthanders with veteran Jamie Moyer going for the Phillies against 25 year old Chuck James.

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