The Phillies, whose offense had not scored more than 1 run in any inning over the span of 4 1/2 games — 52 innings, eeked just enough offense out to get by the San Diego Padres twice in their weekend series, despite an ugly bases loaded Brad Lidge ninth inning balk on Friday. It was Lidge’s 5th blown save of the season. But 3rd baseman Placido Polanco’s RBI single scored shortstop Jimmy Rollins in the tweflth. Rollins made a neat slide at home to avoid a tag and score the winning run as the Phils prevailed over the Padres by a 3-2 score.
Tied at 1-1 on Saturday, the Phils came back to give Joe Blanton 2 runs of support in the sixth inning against Padres starter Jon Garland. Blanton had another excellent outing giving up but 1 run on 6 hits while striking out 3 and walking 1 in six innings. Centerfielder Shane Victorino’s 1 out, 1 on seventh inning triple drove in rightfielder Jayson Werth who Garland walked to lead off the inning. The Phils got an additional run of cushion when pinch hitter Mike Sweeney’s 1 out fielder’s choice grounder scored Victorino. 3 Phillies relievers went clean on the Padres over the final three innings to insure the Phillies 3-1 win over the Padres in game 2.
The Phils finally cashed in on an opportunity to gain ground — 1/2 game on Atlanta over the weekend after blowing their previous 6 opportunites in 8 games to gain ground or overtake the Braves. The Phils returned to holding a 1 1/2 game lead on the San Francisco Giants for the NL wildcard lead. The St. Louis Cardinals are now 2 games behind the Phils having split their games with Washington. The Florida Marlins held on to 3rd place 8 1/2 games behind the leaders while the Mets hold 4th place 10 games off the pace.
In Friday’s game, the Phils’ newest Roy — Roy Oswalt cruised through 102 pitches over eight innings with the Phils holding a 2-1 lead on 2nd baseman Chase Utley’s third inning RBI single off of Padres starter Matt Latos and leftfielder Raul Ibanez’s bases-jammed shallow rightfield run-scoring single off of reliever Mike Adams. The only run off of Oswalt was catcher Yorvit Torrealba’s third inning leadoff homer. Oswalt tossed 1 run 5 hit ball over his eight innings while striking out 6 and walking none. But Manuel went to Lidge for the ninth.
A leadoff single by pinch hitter Matt Stairs, a former Phillie, a sacrifice bunt to the pitcherr and a ground out, followed by an intentional walk followed by a hit batsman put Lidge in a sacks-jammed 2 out peckle. Lidge went 2-2 on 3rd baseman Chase Headley before balking in Jerry Hairston Jr. (who pinch-ran for Stairs) with the tying run and costing Oswalt his 10th win, which would have been his 4th win with the Phillies. Lidge blew his 5th save opportunity but would come back to gain his 18th save in Saturday’s game 2 by pitching a clean ninth inning.
The Phils’ winning run was scored in the twelfth inning when Jimmy Rollins doubled off of rookie reliever and losing pitcher Ernesto Frieri and Polanco singled him in. Rollins, who went 3 for 5 for the game, appeared to be a dead-duck at the plate as Torrealba had the ball and was waiting for him. But the resourceful Rollins slid wide to avoid Torrealba’s tag and then reached back to glaze the plate with his left hand.
Chad Durbin pitched scoreless eleventh and twelfth innings giving up only 1 hit and striking out 2 to notch his 4th win. For more on Friday’s game, click here for the AP recap for Yahoo sports.
On Saturday, the Phils and Padres traded fifth inning runs as Shane Victorino singled off of Garland to drive in the 1st of his 2 runs. The Garland tried to help his own cause in the Padres’ fifth with 2 out, 1st and 3rd base situation. His single off of Blanton drove in the only Padres run of the game. The Phils took the lead for good in the seventh on Victorino’s RBI triple and a run-scoring fielder’s choice grounder.
When Blanton left the game after six innings, relievers Jose Contrera, Ryan Madson and closer Brad Lidge took care of the rest retiring the final 9 Padres they faced to insure the win. For more on Saturday’s game, click here for the AP recap for Yahoo sports.
To view the scores of all of Friday’s and Saturday’s games, click here and here.
After having been swept by Houston last week, the Phils hope to return the favor by sweeping the Padres on Sunday and gain momentum going into their series withe the L.A. Dodgers, although a bit more offense seems necessary. In a battle of lefthanders, Cole Hamels is opposed by Clayton Richard.
To view the schedule of all of Sunday’s games, click here.