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June 25 2007

The weak Phillies' pen came up huge yesterday, pitching six shutout innings after a long rain delay forced Cole Hamels from the game after three innings.  Shane Victorino came off the bench to deliver the game's biggest hit, a three-run double with two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth.

The Phils beat the St Louis Cardinals yesterday, winning 5-1 to improve to 39-36 on the season.  They take the series two games to one, winning a series for the first time in their last three attempts.  They are in second place in the NL East, three games behind the Mets.  They lead the Braves, who have lost five in a row, by a game and a half. 

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and had to leave the game after a long rain delay in the fourth.  He went three innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk.  One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double.  He struck out three. 

He threw a 1-2-3 first. 

Scott Rolen singled in the second and, after Ryan Ludwick popped to short for the second out, stole second.  Hamels struck out Aaron Miles to end the inning.

Pitcher Kip Wells singled up the middle with one out in the third.  So Taguchi followed and doubled into center, a nice sliding stop by Werth in right kept Wells at third.  Scott Spiezio walked to load the bases with one down for Pujols.  Pujols hit a fly ball to center deep enough to score Wells and put the Cards up 1-0.  Taguchi went to third, but with two outs and men on first and third, Hamels struck out Juan Encarnacion to end the inning.

Then it rained.  Hamels did not return after a 96-minute rain delay and Madson started the fourth with the Phils down 1-0.  Madson, who on Friday was the guy who comes in for the seventh when everybody's rested to throw two innings when the Phils are up by six, is apparently also the guy who comes in when they're up a run in the fourth as well.  My fear is that Manuel thinks he's the guy that has a chance to get somebody out.  Whether or not he is, Manuel needs to use the other guys in his pen, specifically Zagurski and Hernandez, or the Phils are in trouble.  Up six runs in the seventh is really a nice time to give them a shot.  Sanches is the other guy I would put in the category of seldom-used-relievers for the Phils, but he got a chance yesterday and pitched well.

Anyway, back on yesterday's game, Madson gave up a one-out double to Ludwick and walked Miles, putting men on first and second with one out for Kelly Stinnett.  Stinnett struck out for the second out.  Wells was next and he got his second hit of the day, a single into right.  Werth made a strong through, however, and nailed Ludwick at the plate.  Second nice defensive play in two innings for Werth.

Madson returned for the fifth and walked Pujols with two outs, but got Encarnacion on a pop out to third to end the inning.  His ERA is down to 3.75.

Brian Sanches threw a 1-2-3 sixth with the game tied at 1-1.  He returned for the seventh and walked Chris Duncan with one out.  He got Taguchi on a fly ball to center for the second out and Duncan was caught trying to steal to end the inning.

Clay Condrey, who came up from Triple-A on Saturday when the Phils put Lieber on the DL, needed five pitches to throw a 1-2-3 eighth.  His ERA is 8.44 in 16 innings for the Phils this season, but he's pitched far better than that and was twice bombed in situations where the game was out of reach.

Alfonseca pitched the ninth with the Phils up 5-1.  Pinch-hitter Skip Shumaker singled with one out and went to third on a single by Miles.  Pinch-hitter Brendan Ryan popped to short for the second out before Duncan loaded the bases with a walk.  It brought Taguchi to the plate as the tying run, but he grounded to Utley to end the game.

Six scoreless innings for the pen after Hamels had to leave early.  They allowed just one earned run in 11 2/3 innings in the three-game set, although Mesa allowed a run that was unearned on Saturday. 

Day off today before the Phils start a three-game series with the Reds in Philly tomorrow.  Madson threw 39 pitches yesterday, 24 on Friday and 32 his last time out before that, June 19 in Cleveland. 

The Phillies' lineup against righty Kip Wells went (1) Rollins (2) Bourn (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Ruiz.  Bourn starts just his fourth game of the season, playing in left.  Werth in right, Dobbs at third.  Burrell on the bench for the third time in six games.

After a 1-2-3 first, Rowand was hit by a pitch with one out in the second.  Dobbs struck out for the second out, but Werth followed with a walk.  Ruiz struck out to end the frame.

With two outs in the third, Bourn hit a ball well to right-center that Taguchi couldn't track down.  He was safe at third with a triple, just the second extra-base hit of his career.  Utley grounded back to the pitcher for the third out, leaving Bourn stranded. 

Howard started the fourth with a single, but Rowand, Dobbs and Werth went down behind him.

Ruiz started the fifth with a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Madson tried to bunt but struck out.  Rollins hit a fly ball to center for the second and Ruiz went to third.  Bourn singled up the middle off the glove of Wells to score Ruiz and put the Phils up 1-0.  Utlley flew to left to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the sixth and seventh. 

With the game tied at 1-1, Rollins started the eighth with a single.  Bourn tried to bunt him to second, but popped it up for the first out.  Rollins stole second but Utley flew to center for the second out.  With the base open, Howard was walked intentionally, putting men at first and second with one out for Rowand.  Rowand chopped a ball just inside the line at third, Rolen did a nice job to keep it in the infield.  It loaded the bases with two outs and Shane Victorino was called on to pinch-hit against the righty Brad Thompson.  Lefty Randy Flores came in to pitch to Victorino.  Victorino came into the game with a .759 OPS against lefties and a .725 against righties this season.  Over his career he's been more dramatically better against lefties, .753 to .708.  So I have no idea.  Thompson had thrown 31 pitches, so that may have had more to do with it than left/right.  Victorino got ahead 2-0 and laced a 3-2 pitch into right, over the outstretched glove of Duncan for a double.  Three runs scored and the Phils led 4-1.  Probably should have been caught by Duncan.  Werth grounded to third to set the Phils down.

With two outs in the ninth, Rollins doubled and came around to score on a single to left by Bourn.  5-1 Phils.  Utley singled Bourn to third, but Howard struck out for the third out.

Rollins was 2-for-5 with a double and scored two runs.  6-for-14 in the series.  284/330/514 on the year. 

Bourn was 3-for-5 with a triple and two RBI.  3-for-6 in the series.  304/385/391.

Utley 1-for-5.  5-for-13 in the series.  320/399/533.

Howard 1-for-4 with a walk.  5-for-12 with a double in the series.  257/386/550.

Rowand 1-for-3 with a strikeout.  3-for-10 in the set and 315/395/484 on the year. 

Dobbs was 0-for-3 and struck out twice.  0-for-9 with four strikeouts in the series.  267/308/519.

Werth was 0-for-3 with a walk in his only action of the series.  235/333/353.

Ruiz was 0-for-3 with a walk.  2-for-7 in the series.  266/321/393.  Barajas 1-for-4 in the series.  219/353/406.

Victorino was 2-for-10 in the series with a huge hit yesterday.  273/341/402.

Burrell 0-for-3 with a walk in the series.  205/373/376.

Helms did not get an at-bat in St Louis and is hitting 247/306/319 on the season. 

The Phillies did not hit a home run in the series.

No game today.  The Phils rotation is a big mess, complicated by a double-header with the Mets on Friday.  It looks like Kendrick, Moyer and Eaton against the Reds, but then the problems start.  Hamels can pitch one game on Friday.  They will need pitchers for the other game Friday and the game on Saturday.  A little rain would be nice.  But it's not a long term solution.

The Start Log has been updated to include game score and whether or not the start was a quality start.

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