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Archive for April, 2008

Hamels Pitches, Hits Phillies Past Maddux, Padres

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

             Carlos Ruiz         Cole Hamels

Phillies ace lefthander Cole Hamels not only pitched a dominating game against the Padres for 7 1/3 innings, but personally sent Greg Maddux to the showers with a seventh inning one out single putting runners on 1st and 3rd as the Phils knocked off San Diego by a 7-4 score in the opener of their 3 game series at Citizen’s Bank Park.

With the win, and the Mets extra-inning 5-4 win over the Pirates coupled with the LA Dodgers edging the Florida Marlins by 7-6, the Phils and Mets are tied for 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Marlins.

Hamels was awesome right from the beginning as he mixed his nasty changeup with a sharp fastball.  The left-hander retired 11 of the first 12 batters he faced and allowed only 5 hits, walking 2 while striking out 6 as only 7 Padres reached base against him.  It was Hamels’ 3rd win vs 3 losses.

The Padres left only 3 men on against Hamels, but had two hits rubbed out, one in the third inning on a two out attempt by 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez to stetch a single to rightfield into a double which was foiled by rightfielder Geoff Jenkins’ on-target throw, and the other being after a sixth inning one out single to centerfield by rightfielder Brian Giles.  Giles was rubbed out when former Phillie 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi grounded to Hamels who turned a pitcher-to-second-to-first doubleplay.

The Phillies returned to their customary offensive gusto which had left them during the 2 hit complete game thrown at them on Sunday by Pirates’ lefthander Paul Maholm.

1st baseman Ryan Howard put them up 1-0 in the first with a 2 out single to right after shortstop Eric Bruntlett, batting 2nd, singled and stole second.  In the third Bruntlett’s one out single to rightfield uppedd the score to 2-0 scoring centerfielder Jayson Werth who tripled to rightfield.

In the Padres fifth, rightfielder Scott Hairston belted a one out solo homer off of Hamels to leftfield to narrow the score to 2-1. Hairston would clout a 2nd homer in the game, a two run dinger off of reliever Ryan Madson in the ninth to account for San Diego’s final runs.

In the seventh inning, a Werth sacrifice to centerfield, following singles by catcher Carlos Ruiz and Hamels drove in Ruiz with the 3rd Phillies run as Maddux hit the showers. 

The Padres narrowed the gap by scoring their 2nd run in the eighth inning on Tad Iguchi’s one out grounder to shortstop as reliever Tom Gordon came on to retire the side.

The Phillies blew the close 3-2 game open with 4 runs in their eighth inning.  AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi describes the inning for Yahoo sports;

Pedro Feliz’s RBI single in the eighth drove in Chase Utley, who doubled. Ruiz and [Greg] Dobbs hit consecutive doubles to make it 7-2.

Madson sandwiched Hairston’s 2 run ninth inning homer in between two strikeouts, the latter one ending the game.

Maddux gave up three runs and eight hits in six 1/3 innings in his 3rd attempt to win the coveted number 350.  AP’s Maaddi records Maddux’s reactions to the loss;

Maddux said, “It’s not a milestone. It really isn’t. Trust me, I’ve been on extra credit for five or six years now. I’ve stopped pitching for results. I’m just going out there to see how long I can do it.”

The Phillies got two hit games from Utley, Feliz and Ruiz as the 29 year old catcher drove in two runs.

                          Shane Victorino

The Phillies reactivated centerfielder Shane Victorino who came off of the disabled list on Tuesday.  Victorino was used as pinch hitter and late game replacement for Werth in center as Werth shifted right and So Taguchi replaced Pat Burrell in left.  Victorino may be hard-pressed to return as the starting centerfielder, supplanting Werth who has played soo well both as a leadoff hitter and in the outfield.

                                   Mike Lieberthal

Phillies Nation’s Tim Malcolm notes the Daily News report that;

Mike Lieberthal will retire as a Phillie. The catcher spent 13 seasons with the club, catching the bulk of the time between Darren Daulton and Carlos Ruiz. A .275 hitter with the Phillies, he holds the franchise record for games caught.

Lieberthal was a two-time All Star catcher who had four 30 plus homer seasons with three other seasons where he hit 25, 27 and 29 homers.  His best season was in 1999 when he hit 31 homers, drove in 96 runs, hit 33 doubles with a .300 batting average.

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

In Wednesday’s game 2, veteran lefthander Jamie Moyer is opposed by 28 year old Chris Young.  Thursday’s get-away game feature Adam Eaton facing former Phillie lefthander Randy Wolf.

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

McLouth Clouts 2 HRs, Maholm Tosses CG, Phillies Lose

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Pirates centerfielder Nate McLouth, who homered Saturday night in a losing cause in the Phillies 8-4 win, had a multi-homer game with 3 RBIs and lefthander Paul Maholm tossed a 2 hitter for his 3rd career complete game as Pittsburgh salvaged one game in their series winning by a 5-1 score.

Meanwhile, the Phils fell to a 2nd place tie with the New York Mets who defeated the Atlanta Braves by a 6-3 score.  Actually, the Mets now hold 2nd place by a .003 percentage.

McLouth opened the game with a solo shot to rightfield and Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead after one.  Myers and Maholm then exchanged zeros until the Pirates fourth, even though Maholm walked one Phillie hitter in each of the second and third innings.  Though the Phils had runners on in both innings, each was quickly rubbed out on a doubleplay.

Pittsburgh scored their second run in the fourth on 3rd baseman Jose Bautista’s RBI single to centerfield.  Bautista then stole 2nd base and tried to score on a single to center but Jayson Werth nailed him at the plate to eliminate any further damage.

With the score 2-0 Pittsburgh in the fifth inning, the Phillies plated their only run on their only two hits of the game as leftfielder Pat Burrell doubled to leftfield with one out.  After 3rd baseman Pedro Feliz grounded out to 3rd base, shortstop Eric Bruntlett drove in Burrell with a single to centerfield.  The inning and threat ended with Bruntlett getting caught trying to steal 2nd base.  The Phillies would not get another hit off of Maholm and would only see two more hitters reach base on walks through the rest of the game.

Maholm, working with all the runs he’d need against the Phillies offense, received insurance in the fifth inning McLouth followed a Myers lead-off walk to Maholm by going yard to rightfield to increase the Pirate lead to 4-1.

With Rudy Seanez replacing losing pitcher Myers in the sixth, the Pirates added their final run on a doubleplay ball.  Ryan Madson and Clay Condrey finished up for the Phillies.

In a story also related to Saturday’s game, the Pirates announced that they have released starting pitcher Matt Morris.

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

The Phillies have an open date on Monday before heading home to entertain the San Diego Padres for three games on Tuesday through Thursday.  Ace lefthander Cole Hamels will be opposed by veteran Greg Maddux who aims for his 350th career win.

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

Howard’s Homer Sparks Phillies Win Over Pirates

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

       Ryan Howard       Kyle Kendrick

Two days warming the bench may have done 1st baseman Ryan Howard some good.  In his first lineup plate appearance since being benched, Howard pounded a two on, two out homer to centerfield off of Pirates starter Matt Morris and the Phillies were on their way to a five run first inning enroute to an 8-4 win.  It was their 3rd straight win and 6th win in 7 games.

With the win, the Phillies sit in 2nd place, 1/2 game behind the Florida Marlins who lost to the Milwaukee Brewers by 4-3, and a full game ahead of the New York Mets who also won, defeating the Atlanta Braves by an identical 4-3 score.

After Howard got things underway, the Phillies cashed in on two Pirate fielding errors to score 3 more runs in the first to stake starter Kyle Kendrick to a 5-0 lead.  The Phils added a 6th run in the second inning off of Morris.

The AP recap for Yahoo sports details the first inning;

Pirates starter Matt Morris retired the first two hitters he faced, but the next seven reached safely. Chase Utley started things off with a single to right field and Howard followed with his fifth home run of the season to deep center.

“The velocity just wasn’t there to get it by him,” Morris said of the four-seam fastball he tried to sneak past Howard. “I left the (pitch) up, and he did what he does best. Even though he’s struggling, you knew it wouldn’t be for long.”

“I felt pretty good today at the plate with seeing pitches and running the count,” Howard said. “All-in-all, it was positive. I’ll definitely take the home run.”

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Howard’s timing has improved during batting practice.

“The ball has been jumping off his bat better,” Manuel said. “The home run he hit, the pitch was close to him. That’s what he needs to do, let the ball get close to him. He’ll get it. He’s coming around.”

Eric Bruntlett added a run-scoring single in the first, and two errors by Pittsburgh led to the other two runs.

Philadelphia made it 6-0 in the second when Geoff Jenkins’ two-out single scored Utley, ending Morris’ night. It was the second game in a row the Phillies jumped out to a 6-0 lead on the Pirates.

After clubbing his two run shot in the first inning, 1st baseman Howard went 1-4 for the game striking out two more times to bring his season total to 37 in 106 plate appearances.  He walked once.

Meanwhile, Kendrick made short work of the Pirates in the first and second innings before a one-out hit batsman as well as both an RBI single and RBI double led to 2 Pittsburgh runs in the third.

Kendrick had a relatively easy with the Pirates in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings while the Phillies scored 2 more insurance runs in their sixth on lefthanded reliever Phil Dumatrait as hot-hitting centerfielder Jayson Werth and pinch hitter Pedro Feliz both slammed RBI doubles to leftfield and right centerfield respectively to cap the Phillies’ scoring.

Kendrick pitched into the eighth, completing seven full innings.  In the seventh, his throwing error on a bunt caused a runners on 2nd and 3rd, one out jam as Pittsburgh scored its 3rd run on shortstop Brian Bixler’s ground out to 2nd base.  In the eighth, centerfielder Nate McLouth led off with a solo homer to rightfield followed by 2nd baseman Freddie Sanchez’s single.  At that point, Manuel went to reliever Rudy Seanez who got an out on a fielders’ choice followed by giving up a single to 1st baseman Adam LaRouch causing a one out, first and third jam.  But Seanez then got rightfielder Xavier Nady to ground into a second-to-first inning ending doubleplay.

Ryan Madson then put the lights out on the Pirates in the ninth inning on 6 pitches to seal the win as the Phils’ bullpen continues to impress.   Kendrick, who gave up 4 runs on 7 hits, walking none and striking out two, won his 2nd game vs 2 losses.  Morris, who lasted 1 2/3 innings and gave up 6 runs on six hits, lost his 4th game.  He is yet to win in 2008.

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

In Sunday’s get-away game, Brett Myers opposes lefthander Paul Maholm.  The Phillies have an open date on Monday before heading home to entertain the San Diego Padres for three games on Tuesday through Thursday.

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

Coste, Werth, Phillies Bullpen Star in Win Over Pirates

Saturday, April 26th, 2008

      Chris Coste     Jayson Werth

1st baseman Ryan Howard benched for a 2nd straight game, red-hot leftfielder Pat Burrell batting cleanup and catcher Chris Coste in the fifth spot in the order equalled a 6-5 victory for the Phillies over the Pittsburgh Pirates in their series opener on Friday.

Meanwhile, the Phils overtook the New York Mets for undisputed 2nd Place in the NL East as the Mets fell to the Atlanta Braves by a 6-3 score as 5 Braves’ pitchers held the Mets to 2 hits.

    Tom Gordon   JC Romero    Brad Lidge

Effective, air-tight bullpen work by Tom Gordon, J.C. Romero and closer Brad Lidge nailed down the win after starter Adam Eaton made an early exit in the fourth inning having squandered half of what was a 6-0 Phillies lead and after reliever Chad Durbin gave up a 2 out, 2 run single to rightfielder Xavier Nady to bring the Pirates dangerously close in the fifth.

The Phillies scored early and often against Pirates lefthander Zack Duke with Coste slamming a first inning 2 out, 2 run double to centerfield driving in centerfielder Jayson Werth and 1st baseman (yes, you read that one right) Chase Utley who were both walked.

In the third inning, Werth clubbed a one out solo homer to centerfield and leftfielder Pat Burrell doubled to left.  Coste followed with an RBI single to center scoring Burrell — 4-0 Phillies, Duke is still in the game and Coste has 3 RBIs.

In the fourth, after shortstop Eric Bruntlett led off with a single,
2nd baseman
Brad Harman, subbing for Utley who was playing 1st base for the benched Howard, doubled to left cehterfield scoring Bruntlett with the 5th run.  With two out, Werth capped the Phils’ scoring with a line single to left to score Harman.

Through the first three innings, Eaton handled the Pirates effectively as the Phils built their lead.  But in the Pirates fourth, the roof fell in on Eaton. 

The AP recap on the game for Yahoo sports tells the story;

The Pirates rallied against starter Adam Eaton and reliever Chad Durbin by scoring three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth.

[Jason] Bay started the rally with his fifth home run of the season, which came with one out in the fourth. Nady extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI double and later scored on a double from Doug Mientkiewicz to make it 6-3.

Durbin, who relieved Eaton with two outs in the fourth, allowed a two run single to Nady in the fifth that pulled the Pirates to within one run.

Duke had a three up, three down fifth, but the Phillies had a chance to score more in the sixth.  With two out, Durbin got his first major league hit — a single to rightfield, leadoff hitter rightfielder So Taguchi followed with a single to left with Durbin hustling to 3rd base on the play.  But Werth ended the inning by striking out.

Then the two bullpens took over to round out the game with Bucs’ bullpen just as effective as the the Phillies bullpen trio.

Tom Gordon, who pitched a scoreless seventh inning, was awarded the win, his 2nd in two games.  Closer Brad Lidge, who was once again awesome in the ninth, retired the side on 11 pitches, striking out 2 to record his 6th save.  Duke, who gave up all 6 runs in his six innings of work, was charged with the loss.

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

Saturday’s 2nd game features Kyle Kendrick opposed by Matt Morris.  In Sunday’s get-away game, Brett Myers opposes lefthander Paul Maholm.  The Phillies have an open date on Monday before heading home to entertain the San Diego Padres for three games on Tuesday through Thursday.

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

Phillies Edge Brewers on Burrell’s 2 Run Double

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

   Tom Gordon       Pat Burrell     Brad Lidge

With 2 on and 2 out in the eighth inning and facing reliever David Riske, Pat Burrell, as he’s been doing all season thus far, came through again with whistling 2 run double to leftfield as the Phillies again moved above the .500 mark with a nail-biting 3-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.  The two teams split the short two game series with a win apiece.

The Phillies opened both the first and second innings with the leadoff hitter getting on and both times Jeff Suppan was bailed out when they were promptly rubbed out on doubleplays.   The Brewers got their leadoff man 2nd baseman Rickie Weeks on to begin the first inning through a  Jamie Moyer walk and Moyer promptly picked him off trying to steal 2nd base.   Good thing too.  Because after centerfielder Gabe Kapler struck out, leftfielder Ryan Braun doubled to left and stole 3rd base.  But Moyer got 1st baseman Prince Fielder to fly out to center to end the inning.  In the second inning, Moyer gave up a one out single but got through the inning easily.

In the third, the Phils once again got their leadoff hitter on as shortstop  Eric Bruntlett singled to centerfield.  But once again, he was wiped out on a doubleplay.

In the Brewers third, Ryan Braun belted a two out RBI single to centerfield and the Brewers were up 1-0.  That’s how the score stayed until the sixth inning.

After Moyer struck out to leadoff the sixth, top of the order leadoff hitter  Jayson Werth pounded his 4th homer of the season to deep centerfield off of Suppan to knot the game at 1-1.

Once again, Charlie Manuel went with his starter into the seventh inning and it nearly cost him again.   3rd baseman Bill Hall opened the frame with a double to right centerfield.  Shortstop J.J. Hardy singled to left moving Hall to 3rd base. 

At that point, Manuel went to Tom Gordon who struck out Tony Gwynn who pinch hit for Suppan.  Gordon walked catcher Jason Kendall to load the bases.  But then “Flash” got Weeks on strikes and Kapler grounded into a fielders’ choice to end the threat.

Having gotten the first 2 Phils out in the eighth inning, reliever David Riske, walked 1st baseman Greg Dobbs  and 2nd baseman Chase Utley, who went 3 for 4 for the game, singled to leftfield to move Dobbs to 2nd base. Then Pat “The Bat,” in the midst of perhaps the best run of his career, lined a double to leftfield to drive in the two winning runs.

J.C. Romero took over for Gordon to start the eighth.  He got the first two outs and then Manuel went to Ryan Madson to face rightfielder Corey Hart who grounded out to 2nd base.

After the Phillies mounted a fruitless threat in the ninth, Manuel handed the ball to closer Brad Lidge and it was lights out for the Brewers.

Reliever Tom Gordon, who relieved Moyer in the seventh was credited with the win, his 1st against 2 losses.  David Riske was charged with the loss, his first.  Lidge was credited with his 5th save in as many attempts.

For Yahoo sports’ recap of the game, click here. For all of the scores, boxscores and recaps on Thursday’s games, click here.

The Phils move on to Pittsburgh for a 3 game weekend series with the Pirates.  Adam Eaton is opposed by Pirates lefthander Zack Duke in Friday’s opener.  Saturday’s 2nd game features Kyle Kendrick opposed by  Matt Morris.

For the scores, boxscores and recaps on Friday’s and Saturday;s games,  click here and here.

“In the BigInning…”

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

It is a wonderment how a closely fought ballgame can suddenly, inextricably break wide open in what biblical scholars/baseball fans have for generations cited as the “BigInning.”

Just such a game took place on Wednesday between two heretofore hapless AL teams; the Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers.

The cellar-dwelling AL West Rangers battled the AL Central 4th place Tigers for five innings with the Tigers holding a narrow 7-6 lead, although Ranger pitchers were being pounded hither and fore with no one pitcher lasting more than 2 1/3 innings through the entire game.

Kenny Rogers Kenny Rogers

For the Tigers, the dirt-ball specialist, veteran lefthander Kenny “the Gambler” Rogers lasted 3 1/3 innings giving up 6 runs on 9 hits, walking 3 and striking out none.

But lo, the Tigers bullpen allowed but two Rangers to reach base over the last 5 1/3 innings, single base hits in the seventh and eighth innings, while the Detroit offense proceeded to produce utter chaos to the tune of 11 runs off of the two Rangers relief pitchers of the sixth inning; 5 runs on 3 hits off of reliever Jamey Wright and 6 runs on 6 hits off of Wes Littleton. Wright fell victim to a 3 run clout by dh Miguel Cabrera amidst the onslaught.

For good measure, the Tigers added a 19th run in the seventh inning off of Rangers reliever Joaquin Benoit who had difficulty finding the plate, issuing the run on four bases-on-balls.

For more on the Tigers’ sixth inning explosion, click here.

The win went to Tigers’ lefthanded reliever Clay Rapada who held the Rangers at bay in relief of Rogers. The loss was charged to Rangers’ reliever Frank Francisco who coughed up the Tigers’ lead 7th run on a bases loaded walk in the fourth inning.

This was not the only citing of The BigInning in April. Baseball Library cites that nine seasons ago, on April 23, 1999, the St. Louis Cardinals, down 2-0 to the Los Angeles Dodgers after two innings, exploded for for 11 runs in the third inning to go on to defeat the Dodgers by a 12-5 score at Dodger Stadium.

Fernando Tatis

According to Baseball Library, quite a few MLB records were set in this game;

3B Fernando Tatis set a major league record by hitting 2 grand slams in a single inning. His 2 homers came in St. Louis’ 11-run 3rd inning. He also sets a record with 8 RBIs in the inning‚ while LA P Chan Ho Park becomes the 1st pitcher this century-and only the 2nd ever-to surrender 2 grand slams in a single frame. Bill Phillips of the Pirates did so in 1890. Park became the 36th major-leaguer to serve up two slams to the same player in his career.

Note: According to the Baseball Almanac, the name of the Pittsburgh team in 1890 was the Alleghenys.

Tatis, by the way, went on to have his only career season in 1999 with 34 HRs, 107 RBIs and a .298 BA, although he played with 4 teams over his 8 season career.

Finally, Baseball Library notes that on April 13, 2003, 5 years ago, the Phillies‚ who were locked in a scoreless tie with the Cincinnati Reds after three innings, exploded to score all 13 of their runs in the 4th inning to trounce the Reds‚ 13-1. Remarkably, there was only one homer in the inning, centerfielder Ricky Ledee’s 2 out, 3 run shot off of reliever Scott Sullivan.