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July 23 2007

I've been falling down a bit on whatever responsibility I have to regularly state that one of the great things about baseball is that you almost always see something you've never seen before.  I have to further confess that it's because I'm pretty sure it's not true.  I hardly ever see something in a game I've never seen before -- while I'd like to say that I find each and every ground ball to third magically unique I just can't pull it off.

That said, in yesterday afternoon's game Utley scored from first on a one-out fan interference double by Howard.  Score one for the you-always-see-something-you've-never-seen-before crowd.

The other thing that happened yesterday that I'm pretty sure not many people have seen before is that JD Durbin outpitched Jake Peavy.  Durbin was outstanding, throwing a complete game five-hit shutout as the Phils rolled. 

Over his last two starts Durbin has made a strong case that he could be part of the solution for the Phillies rather than part of the problem.  His last two times out he's 2-0 and has allowed a run on 11 hits and five walks over 15 innings against the two best teams in the NL West.

The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres yesterday, winning 9-0 to improve to 50-48 on the season.  They win the series three games to one and have won three in a row.  They are in third-place in the NL East, five games behind the division-leading Mets and 1 1/2 behind the second-place Braves.  They trail four teams in the Wild Card hunt and are 3 1/2 games behind the Padres, who would win the Wild Card if the season ended today. 

Durbin got the start for the Phillies and threw a complete game shutout, allowing five hits and three walks.  One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double.  He struck out three.

He got three fly balls in a 1-2-3 first.

With two outs in the second Michael Barrett reached on a double off the glove of Dobbs at third.  Dobbs probably should have made the play.  Durbin got Kevin Kouzmanoff on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Durbin gave up a leadoff single to Geoff Blum in the third, but set down the next three.

He threw a 1-2-3 fourth.

The Phils led 4-0 to start the fifth and Durbin struck out the leadoff batter, Barrett, on a called strike three that looked outside. Barrett was ejected arguing as was Padres manager Bud Black.  Kouzmanoff followed with a walk but Blum hit into an inning-ending double-play.

Milton Bradley singled to right with two outs in the sixth, but Durbin got Adrian Gonzalez to ground to second for the third out.

Khalil Greene singled with one out in the seventh, but Josh Bard followed and hit into a double-play. 

Blum walked with one out in the eighth.  Pinch-hitter Jose Cruz, Jr was next and grounded to second with Blum going to second on the play.  Brian Giles walked to put men on first and second, but Bradley grounded to Nunez at third to end the inning.

Gonzalez singled to start the ninth.  Mike Cameron followed with a ground ball to short.  Gonzalez was forced at second, but Utley's relay to first was wild for an error that allowed Cameron to go to second.  Durbin got Greene on a fly ball to right and Bard on a fly ball that Rowand caught while running into Bourn in left to end the game.

The Phillies lineup against righty Jake Peavy went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Burrell (7) Dobbs (8) Coste.  Dobbs at third against the righty with Coste catching. 

Victorino singled with one out in the first.  Utley followed and flew to right for the second out, but Howard singled, moving Rollins to second.  Rowand struck out to end the frame.

Dobbs singled with one out in the second but Coste and Durbin went down behind him.

Rollins started the third with a home run down the right field line.  1-0.  Victorino popped to first before Utley walked.  Howard was next and he smashed a ball into right that would have gone to the wall or over it on a hop, but a fan reached out and touched it.  Chaos ensued.  Utley clearly would have scored from first on the hit, but a typical ground-rule double would have only moved him to third.  The umps, correctly, allowed Utley to score and put the Phils up 2-0.  People were mad, mostly people associated with the Padres in one way or another.  It turned out not to matter at all.  Rowand followed with a fly ball to deep center, Howard moved to third (Utley would have scored easily).  Burrell grounded to first to end the frame.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the fourth.

Rollins tripled down the line in right to start the fifth.  Victorino followed with a bloop behind third that went for a double.  Rollins scored and the Phils led 3-0.  Utley moved Victorino to third with a ground ball and Howard followed with a fly ball to center.  Victorino scored and the Phils led 4-0.  Rowand struck out for the third out.  Horray for sound fundamental play, moving the runner to third with the ground out and bringing him in with the sac fly, without which the Phillies would only have won 8-0.

Burrell singled to start the sixth and Bourn ran for him.  Worked out great for the Phillies, but that's too early for me in a game the Phillies led by four runs at the time.   Dobbs singled and Bourn moved to second.   Coste flew to left for the first out and Durbin bunted the runners to second and third.  Peavy walked Rollins intentionally and got Victorino to fly to left and end the frame.

Howard walked with one out in the seventh but Rowand followed and hit into a double-play. 

Bourn tripled to start the eighth.  Dobbs followed and struck out for the first out.  Coste hit a ground ball to the pitcher who came home, but not in time to get Bourn.  Bard, the catcher, threw to first in time to get Coste for the second out with the Phils up 5-0.  Durbin followed and doubled to right.  Rollins walked and Victorino ripped a double just inside the line in left.  Both runners scored and the Phls led 7-0.  Utley and Howard both walked, loading the bases for Rowand.  Rowand singled into center and Victorino and Utley both scored, extending the lead to 9-0 as Howard went to second.  Bourn flew to center for the third out.

Coste singled with one out in the ninth.  Durbin flew to center before Rollins moved Coste to second with a single.   Victorino flew to left for the third out.

Rollins was 3-for-4 with a triple, a home run and two walks.  6-for-14 in the series.   291/337/527 on the season.

Victorino was 3-for-6 with two doubles and three RBI.  6-for-20 with two stolen bases in the series.  284/349/435 on the year.

Howard was 2-for-2 with a double and two walks.  7-for-10 with a double, two home runs, eight walks and eight RBI in the series.  He hasn't made an out in the last two games (5-for-5 with four walks).  279/404/614.

Rowand was 1-for-5 with two RBI.  He had an awful day at the plate before the two-run single in the eighth.  3-for-18 with a double in the series.  325/396/514.

Burrell was 1-for-3.  2-for-11 with four walks in the series.   236/396/426.

Dobbs was 2-for-4.  3-for-9 in the series.  294/322/505.  Helms was 3-for-8 with a double.  259/315/377.

Coste was 1-for-5 with an RBI.  2-for-6 in the series.  324/342/405 in 37 at-bats this season.  Ruiz was 2-for-9 with a double in the series.  262/318/387.  Barajas was 0-for-3 with a walk in the series.  212/341/381.

No game today.  The Nationals will be in Philly tomorrow for the first of three.

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