The Phillies’ winning streak now stands at 8 games as substitute shortstop Wilson Valdez’s 1 out single in the eleventh inning on Thursday drove in 3rd baseman Cody Ransom, who had been walked by Arizona reliever Esmerling Vasquez, and advanced to 2nd base on catcher Carlos Ruiz’s single. Starters Kyle Kendrick and lefthander Joe Saunders engaged in a pitching duel for nearly seven innings. With the Phils up 2-1 in the ninth, reliever Ryan Madson gave up a leadoff double and and was relieved by J.C. Romero who gave up a single putting runners at 1st and 3rd bases. The tying run scored on a groundout. On the day when Phillies lefthander J.A. Happ, having recently returned from being on the DL, was traded with 2 lower level minor league prospects to Houston for 3 time All Star Roy Oswalt, the Phillies swept the Diamondbacks by 3-2 score in 11 innings on Valdez’s single.
With the win, the Phils narrowed NL East division-leading Atlanta’s lead to 2 1/2 games as the Braves were beaten by the Washington Nationals. The Mets also gained on the Braves by shutting out St. Louis, but remain 3 games behind the Phils.
[Raul] Ibanez gave the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the sixth with a drive into the seats in right-center. Ibanez is batting .391 with two homers and 10 RBIs in the second half, raising his average to .263 from .243 at the All-Star break.
Ransom hit a one-out single in the fifth and scored when Ruiz lined a double into the left-field corner.
Miguel Montero hit a solo homer for the last-place Diamondbacks, who have lost seven straight.
After the Diamondbacks tied it in the ninth, the Phillies rallied against Esmerling Vasquez (1-4) in the 11th.
“I feel happy to help the team,” said Valdez, who was filling in for the injured Jimmy Rollins. “We’re doing what we have to do to win.”
Jose Contreras (5-3) tossed a scoreless 11th for the win. Passed over in a save situation in the ninth, closer Brad Lidge pitched a perfect 10th. Lidge threw 64 pitches and struggled while earning two straight saves earlier in the week.
“Saunders pitched great,” Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said.
Kyle Kendrick allowed one run and four hits, striking out a season-high five in 6 1-3 innings. He’s 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA in two starts since a brief demotion to the minors last week.
“I want to pitch here,” Kendrick said.
The Diamondbacks rallied to tie it in the ninth, but blew a chance to take the lead. After Ryan Madson tossed a perfect eighth, manager Charlie Manuel kept him in instead of turning to Lidge. But Justin Upton led off with a double and J.C. Romero entered to face Adam LaRoche, who lined a single to right.
But second baseman Placido Polanco and shortstop Valdez turned an outstanding double play on Gerardo Parra’s grounder to second. Valdez made a strong throw to barely beat Parra at first. Parra was ejected by first-base umpire Adrian Johnson after slamming his helmet in disgust.
Valdez went 3 for 5 for the game while 2nd baseman Placido Polanco, 3rd baseman Ransom and catcher Carlos Ruiz each had 2 hits apiece.
To view the scores of all of Thursday’s games, click here.
Both ESPN and the news site MyFox Houston broke first reports of the trade and also reported that the newly acquired Roy Oswalt will replace Happ as Friday’s starter vs Craig Stammen for the Nationals. On Saturday, Joe Blanton goes for the Phils vs lefthander Ross Detwiler for Washington.