Blogging Baseball: All-time baseball highlights and real-time commentary

Archive for May, 2011

Howard, Ibanez Lead Phillies Past Nationals

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011

Ryan Howard  Raul Ibanez  Roy Halladay  Domonic Brown
Phillies 1st baseman Ryan Howard and leftfielder Raul Ibanez each got 2 hits, 2 RBIs, including back-to-back fourth inning solo shots, with Ibanez driving in the winning run in a 2 run seventh inning on Monday. Young rightfielder Domonic Brown drove in the other run with with a single to right centerfield to cap the Phils’ 3 run fourth inning as ace Roy Halladay, who gave up 3 homers, outlasted Nationals’ Livan Hernandez as Howard and Ibanez led the Phillies past the Nationals by 5-4 in the first game of their 3 game series.

With the win, the Phils’ lead in the NL East lead jumped to 3 full games over 2nd place Florida and to 4 1/2 games over 3rd place Atlanta as both teams lost.

The Nationals struck first with 2 runs in the second inning as 1st baseman Michael Morse touched Halladay for the 1st of 3 Nationals solo homers, a lead off shot to centerfield.   Two singles and a fielder’s choice grounder later, Washington had runners on 1st and 3rd bases.   Livan Hernandez then sacrifice bunted the 2nd run in.

The Phillies came out swinging in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead in this game where the lead changed hands 4 times.   After 2nd baseman Chase Utley grounded out, Howard and Ibanez went back-to-back followed by a double by catcher Carlos Ruiz.  The Phils could have had more.  Rookie Domonic Brown, showing more at the plate with each passing game, dumped an RBI single into shallow right centerfield to plate Ruiz.  Centerfielder John Mayberry Jr. followed with a single to leftfield as Brown took 2nd base.   Halladay sacrifice bunted to the pitcher as both runners moved up to 2nd and 3rd base.  But then, shortstop Jimmy Rollins flied out to end the inning.

The Phils’ lead held up until the fifth inning when, with 2 out, 2nd baseman Danny Espinosa went yard off of Halladay to tie the game at 3-3.    Leftfielder Laynce Nix led off the sixth with another solo shot.

With one out in the seventh, the Phils went ahead for good as 3rd baseman Placido Polanco singled to centerfield chasing Hernandez.    Lefthanded reliever Sean Burnett replaced Hernandez and walked Utley.  Howard then drove in the tying run with a single to rightfield as Utley moved to 3rd base on the play.  Ibanez followed with a sacrifice fly to right putting the Phils in the lead for good.   Ruiz followed with a single to rightfield as Howard took 3rd.  Burnett ended the threat getting Domonic Brown to foul out to the catcher.

From there, relievers Antonio Bastardo, Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson retired the final 6 Nationals to nail down the win for Halladay, now 7-3.   Madson notched his 12th save in 12 opportunities.

For the AP game recap for Yahoo sports, click here.

For all of Monday’s scores and recaps, click here.

In Tuesday’s game 2, lefthander Cliff Lee, who looks for continued offensive support, is opposed by Jason Marquis for the Nationals.

For all of Monday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Mets Pound Worley Early, Beat Phillies

Monday, May 30th, 2011

The Mets jumped all over Phillies young starter Vance Worley for 4 runs each in both the first and second innings in Sunday’s get-away game as lefthander Jim Niese worked out of jams in the third and fifth innings, allowing only a single run in a 1 out bases loaded situation in the third.   Worley took an early shower after going three innings and giving up 12 hits.  Kyle Kendrick did a fine long relief job of three innings giving up only a fifth inning run.  Mets’ shortstop Jose Reyes had a big day at the plate going 4 for 5, including 2 triples.  It was Reyes’ 3rd multi-triple game this season.   Niese threw 123 pitches through 6 1/3 innings and, once again, Met relievers showed themselves vulnerable in the late innings as the Phils scored another 3 runs in the eighth inning and 1 more in the ninth.  However, the comeback effort fell short as the Mets pounded Worley early to beat the Phillies by 9-5 in their series final.

Despite the loss, the Phils’ lead iin the NL East lead remained 2 full games over 2nd place Florida but dropped to 3 1/2 games over 3rd place Atlanta.

Niese actually didn’t give up an earned run to the Phils in 6 1/3 innings as the Reyes’ third inning fielding error contributed to the Phils only score against him.   The AP game recap for Yahoo sports records the game highlights, or rather its low-lights for the Phils:

With center fielder Shane Victorino on the disabled list, Philadelphia rested Ryan Howard,Chase Utley and Carlos Ruiz.

New York tagged an ineffective Vance Worley (2-1) for 12 hits in three innings, sending the rookie to his first loss in four major league starts this season.

“I didn’t really locate very well. I don’t think I went to my off speed enough. I think they were sitting on fastballs the first couple of pitches,” he said.

The 23-year-old right-hander threw six shutout innings of two-hit ball in an April 29 win against the Mets, who entered Sunday batting .087 (2 for 23) against him in two appearances.

“Now we know him,” Reyes said.

…The Mets have gone a season-high eight games without a home run. But they improved to 3-6 this year against Philadelphia, which had won four straight and eight of 11 overall.

Raul Ibanez
hit a leadoff homer in the eighth and the Phillies scored three times off reliever Taylor Buchholz to cut it to 9-4.   With a runner on, Jimmy Rollins tried to stretch a single and was thrown out by right fielder Jason Pridie to end the inning.

“I was going to push it,” Rollins said. “Keep the pressure on the pitcher. A hit, now we got two runs. But speedy got shot down.”

Every position player in the Mets starting lineup hit with Reyes getting 4 and 1st baseman Daniel Murphy, centerfielder Angel Pagan and catcher Josh Thole each getting 3 hits.   Thole drove in 3 runs.

For all of Sunday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils are now in the Nations capital for 3 games with the Washington Nationals.   In Monday’s opener, ace Roy Halladay is opposed by Livan Hernandez for the Nationals.

For all of Monday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Phillies Rally Late Twice to Top Mets in First Two Games

Sunday, May 29th, 2011

The Mets starting pitching held off the Phillies both on Friday and Saturday, but it was their bullpen which fell apart twice in the late innings.    On Friday, Roy Oswalt and lefthander Chris Capuano battled to a 2-2 deadlock through six innings before the Mets took a 3-2 lead on rookie reliever  and Michael Stutes in the seventh.  But the Phillies emerged on top against 3 Mets’ relievers after tying the game in the eighth and notching the 3 winning runs in the ninth.  Antonio Bastardo won his 3rd game game in relief and Ryan Madson held off the Mets in the ninth for his 10th save in 10 opportunites.  On Saturday,  lefthander Cole Hamels was solid while striking out 10 against Mike Pelfrey as the two teams were deadlocked 2-2 into the eighth inning.  But the Phils tagged 4 Mets relievers for 3 eighth inning runs and 1 more in the ninth as Hamels won his 7th game of the season with relievers Jose Contreras and Madson going clean on the Mets in the eighth and ninth innings.  Madson notched save 11 in 11 opportunities as the Phillies rallied late twice to top the Mets by 6-45-2 in their first two games.

With the wins, the Phils’ NL East lead is now 2 full games over 2nd place Florida and 4 1/2 games over 3rd place Atlanta.

The two games were nearly carbon-copies of each other as the Mets held on as their starters matched Oswalt and Hamels but the bullpen failed them resulting in late-inning Phillies wins.   Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, pinch hitter Domonic Brown and 3rd baseman Placido Polanco came up big with eighth and ninth inning clutch hits and 4 runs for the Phils in game 1, while 2nd baseman Chase Utley, 1st baseman Ryan Howard and pinch hitter Ben Francisco all came up big in game 2, again for 4 late-inning runs.   Brown also collected 2 more hits in Saturday’s game 2.

To read all of the AP game highlights for Yahoo sports on both games, click here and here.

For all of Friday’s and Saturday’s scores and recaps, click here and here.

In Sunday’s get-away game, young Vance Worley is opposed by lefthander Jim Niese for the Mets as the Phils try for a 3 game sweep.    After the game, the Phils head for the Nations capital for 3 games with the Washington Nationals.

For all of Sunday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Lee Pitches, Hits Phillies to Romp Over Reds

Friday, May 27th, 2011

Raul Ibanez   Cliff Lee   Cliff Lee   Chase Utley
Phillies starter Cliff Lee made 1 major mistake on Thursday:  A sixth inning 2 run shot by Cincinnati rightfielder Jay Bruce after giving up a 2 run fourth inning single. But Lee more than made up for the mistake with 2 hits in 4 at bats and taking offensive support into his own hands with 3 RBIs amidst a 3 run sixth inning and a 2 run seventh. 1st baseman Ryan Howard gave the Phils a quick 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the first inning and leftfielder Raul Ibanez belted a 3 run third inning shot for a total of 4 runs scored off of Homer Bailey over four innings.   Reds reliever  Daryl Thompson gave up 5 runs in three innings, including the 3 runs driven in by Lee.   With the score 9-4 after seven innings, 2nd baseman Chase Utley put icing on the cake with a lead off solo shot in the eighth off of reliever  Jose Arredondo.   Reliever Jose Contreras, having just returned to the active roster from the DL, finished out the ninth in relief of Lee going clean on Cincinnati on 12 pitches, as Lee pitched and hit the Phillies to a 10-4 romp over the Reds to take their 4 game series by 3 games to 1.Despite winning the get-away game, the Phils’ lead in the NL East remained at 1 1/2 games over the 2nd place Florida Marlins who also won, but improved to 3 1/2 games over the Atlanta Braves who had the day off.After a short rest, Howard got the Phils on the board in the get-away game with a first inning RBI double and the offense kept up the beat throughout the game, thanks in large part to Lee himself who had been victimized in previous starts by non-existent offensive support.

There was more good new for Phillies fans as Chase Utley, in his 4th start after being on the DL for the first 46 games of the season, nailed his 1st homer of 2011 to lead off the eighth inning.

Contreras, in his 1st game back, provided good news for the Phils bullpen.  Phillies’ brass sees Contreras as set-up man for Ryan Madson in the interim until regular closer Brad Lidge rehabs and returns to the roster.  With Contreras’ return, the Phils made room for him on the active roster by optioning reliever David Herndon to Triple-A Lehigh Valley

The AP game recap for Yahoo sports describes Lee’s pitching and hitting heroics:

Lee (4-4) threw 114 pitches in eight innings. But his biggest contributions came at the plate.

With the game tied at 4, the Phillies loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth inning against Daryl Thompson(notes) (0-1), who had made his major league debut an inning earlier.

After a walk to catcher Dane Sardinha, Lee huddled briefly with Manuel to discuss a strategy that went something like “get a hit.”

Lee hit a first-pitch double over the head of center fielder Drew Stubbs.  It bounced over the fence for a ground-rule double.

“First-pitch fastball,” Lee said. “I was looking for something out over the plate that I could put a good swing on. That was it. Getting a hit here or there can usually make a huge difference. Today, I was able to help the team win.”

An inning later, Lee’s single up the middle scored John Mayberry Jr. He became the first Phillies pitcher to drive in three runs since Cory Lidle on Sept. 4, 2004, against the Mets.

“This game is crazy,” first baseman Ryan Howard said. “You never know what you’re going to see. You’re going to have those hard and crazy games, and you’re going to get things that you never encountered.”

With little sleep, Manuel juggled his lineup, resting Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco, but starting Ibanez, Howard and [Wilson] Valdez.

Were the Phillies tired?

“You just kind of ignore it,” said Ibanez, adding that he got about four hours of sleep.

Asked if he might feel it later tonight, Ibanez smiled.

“I’ll probably just ignore it then, too.”

For all of Thursday’s scores and recaps, click here.

The Phils now begin a 10 game eastern road swing with 3 weekend games against the Mets.  On Friday,  Roy Oswalt opposes lefthander Chris Capuano.   On Saturday, lefthander Cole Hamels goes against Mike Pelfrey.

For all of Friday’s and Saturday’s scheduled games throughout click here and here.

Phillies Nip Reds in 19 Innings on Ibanez’s Sacrifice RBI

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Ben Francisco   John Mayberry Jr.  Wilson Valdez  Ryan Howard  Raul Ibanez
The Phillies ran out to a 3-0 lead on rightfielder Ben Francisco’s first inning 2 run homer and centerfielder John Mayberry Jr’s second inning RBI single — all off of Cincinnati’s young lefthanded starter Travis Wood.   In most games, a 3-0 lead with Halladay pitching means “take the win to the bank.”  However, in this marathon nineteen inning job, Cincinnati crept back against Halladay to tie the game on 1st baseman Joey Votto’s fifth inning RBI single and rightfielder Jay Bruce’s seventh inning game tying 2 run single.  The game went into extra innings knotted at 3-3, but Bruce and 1st baseman Ryan Howard traded tenth inning solo homers to keep the game knotted, now at 4-4.    Both teams ate through their entire bullpens such that Phils’ 2nd baseman Wilson Valdez, who played eighteen innings at 2nd base, came on to pitch the nineteenth inning and went clean on the Reds and was credited with his 1st MLB win.   Then Carlos Fisher, the 7th Reds pitcher, gave up a leadoff single to shortstop Jimmy Rollins and then walked the bases loaded with 1 out.    Leftfielder Raul Ibanez then faced Fisher taking a strike looking before lofting a sacrifice fly to centerfield to drive in the winning run.  The Phillies nipped the Reds by 5-4 in 19 innings on Ibanez’s sacrifice RBI to win the 3rd of the 4 game series.

With the win, the Phils remained 1 1/2 games up in the NL East on the 2nd place Florida Marlins who won their own twelve inning knot job over the San Francisco Giants.   3rd place Atlanta won their game and remained 3 games behind the front-running Phils.

After jumping out to that 3-0 lead after two innings and Halladay nursing the lead into the fifth, one would figure; game over!  But Halladay was giving up a lot of hits — 7 through 4 1/3 innings.   He gave up 11 hits and 3 runs in all through seven innings while throwing 123 pitches.

Opposing pitcher Wood gave up 3 runs on 6 hits through six innings while throwing 102 pitches.  With the 2 starters out of the picture, the parade of pitchers on both sides, and parade of innings and zeros began.

Still tied in the tenth inning, Bruce led off the inning with a dinger off of Antonio Bastardo, the Phils’ 4th pitcher — who followed Ryan Madson, and who got through 2/3rds of the inning.

Closer Francisco Cordero, Cincy’s 5 pitcher, entered in the Phils’ half of the tenth to try to finish off them off, but was greeted by Howard’s lead off game-tying shot.   From there, the game of zeros continued until the Phillies’ nineteenth.

The AP game recap for Yahoo sports describes the next nine innings and the parade of extra-inning zeros:

Phillies reliever Danys Baez threw 73 pitches and tossed one-hit ball over five scoreless innings.

“My arm feels good now,” Baez said. “I don’t know about tomorrow.”

Today is tomorrow.

“Well, in six hours.”

Fisher, the Reds’ seventh pitcher, worked 5 2-3 innings and gave up one run and four hits. The Phillies used 21 players overall, the Reds used 20.

Fisher finally wore down when Jimmy Rollins singled to open the 19th, Domonic Brown walked and Placido Polanco sacrificed. Thousands of fans derisively chanted “Fisher! Fisher!” before he intentionally Howard to load the bases. Ibanez was 1 for 8 during the night when he hit a fly to deep center to win it.

“The fans were great to get on him like that,” Howard said. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”

The Reds used seven pitchers and the Phillies nine. The Reds had 15 hits; Philadelphia 13.

Some of the boxscore numbers were rough. Reds third baseman Scott Rolen was 0 for 7 and Phillies infielder Placido Polanco was 1 for 8.

Valdez threw a hitless 19th inning in his first professional pitching appearance. Phillies fans stood and chanted “Let’s go, Wilson!” when the 33-year-old Valdez shifted from second to the mound.

The first batter he faced was Votto, and the reigning NL MVP flied out to deep center field.

He hit 90 mph on a fastball to… Votto. He shook off catcher Dane Sardinha. And he showed no fear.

“If he hits a home run, they’re not going to say anything to me,” said Valdez, laughing.

Not bad for a journeyman infielder making his first professional appearance on the mound.

…Ryan Howard put his mitt over his face to hide his smile when Valdez shook off his catcher.

“I was like, ‘What is he going to throw? What does he have?”’ Howard said. “It was funny, but he got it done.”

Some fans, young and old, already were asleep in the stands as the game played on. But plenty of the die-hards who stuck around made it a lively atmosphere, especially when Valdez took over as Philadelphia’s ninth pitcher.

Valdez threw one pitch to the backstop and hit Scott Rolen. But the Phillies’ newest right-hander then retired Jay Bruce on a fly ball and got down Reds reliever Carlos Fisher( (0-1) on a popup.

Valdez wound up as the winning pitcher early Thursday.

For all of Wednesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

Meanwhile, there is no rest for the weary as Wednesday’s game ended at 1:19 a.m. after 6 hours, 11 minutes and Thursday’s get-away game begins at 1:05 PM with lefthander Cliff Lee being opposed by Homer Bailey.

For all of Thursday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.

Reds Beat Phillies on Bruce’s Double in Ninth

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

The Phillies scored 2 second inning runs and another run in the fourth off of Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto.   Trailing by 3-1 in the fifth, the Reds got to recently recalled Vance Worley for the 2 tying runs as the Phillies offense returned to hybernation.    Reds’ rightfielder Jay Bruce belted a 3 run ninth inning double after the Reds loaded the bases with 1 out against Ryan Madson.  The Phils went down in their ninth with nary a wimper.   The Reds beat the Phillies by 6-3 on Bruce’s double in ninth to knot their 4 game series at 1 game apiece.

With their loss, the Phils NL East lead dwindled to 1 game over the 2nd place Florida Marlins, and dropped to 3 games over 3rd place Atlanta as both teams won their games.

AP recapped the game for Yahoo sports in which the Phils offense seem to go back into a shell after the fourth inning:

Bruce came in swinging a hot bat. He had four homers in the last five games and was tied for the NL lead with 12. But he struck out three times and popped out in his first four at-bats before clearing the bases against Ryan Madson (2-1).

“I blew it the first time with guys on second and third and one out,” Bruce said, referring to his strikeout in the fifth. “I just tried to relax and get something I could handle.”

Drew Stubbs got the Reds started with a one-out bunt single in the ninth. He advanced to second on Madson’s throwing error. After Brandon Phillips lined to shortstop, Joey Votto was intentionally walked.  Scott Rolen followed with an infield single as third baseman Placido Polanco made a backhanded grab to save a run.

Bruce then ripped a liner to deep right-center to knock in three and give the Reds a 6-3 lead.

It was the Reds’ longest losing streak since they dropped eight in a row from July 28 to Aug. 4, 2009.

“Coming back is kind of our M.O.,” Bruce said. “We’re never out of a game. The experience has helped us.”

Madson hadn’t allowed a run in 13 innings.

“It was a good run,” he said. “I just have to get back out there and start a new roll.”

Neither starter factored in the decision. Cincinnati’s Johnny Cueto gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings in his fourth start. The righty opened the year on the disabled list.

Filling in for injured Joe Blanton, Vance Worley allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. He has a 1.59 ERA in three starts.

The Reds jumped ahead 1-0 on an RBI single by Rolen in the first. Votto hit a double to left with two outs and scored on Rolen’s bloop hit to right.

The Phillies went ahead 2-1 in the second.  Ryan Howard led off with a double off the scoreboard in right-center.   Raul Ibanez followed with a double to right-center to tie it. He advanced to third on a groundout and scored on [Domonic] Brown’s sacrifice fly.

Stubbs threw out Jimmy Rollins trying to score from second on Chase Utley’s single to center in the third. Rollins, who doubled, got a bad jump off second and was out by several feet. He didn’t even slide. It was Utley’s first hit of the season. He returned to the lineup Monday after missing the first 46 games with a knee injury.

Ibanez singled and scored on a double by Carlos Ruiz in the fourth that gave the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, the Reds began a rally when Cueto drew a walk. Stubbs doubled down the right-field line and Phillips sliced a two-run single to right. Phillips advanced to second on right fielder Domonic Brown’s fielding error. After Votto walked, both runners advanced on Rolen’s deep fly to center. But Worley struck out Bruce and Chris Heisey fouled out after Ramon Hernandez was intentionally walked.

“We missed some opportunities early and I was afraid that would come back and haunt us,” Reds manager Dusty Baker said. “This was a big game for us. We really needed this one.”

Logan Ondrusek (1-0) retired the only batter he faced to get the win.   Francisco Cordero finished for his ninth save in 10 tries.

For all of Tuesday’s scores and recaps, click here.

On Wednesday, the top of the Phillies rotation, ace Roy Halladay is opposed by young lefthander Travis Wood.

For all of Wednesday’s scheduled games throughout MLB, click here.