After watching the Phils against Tom Glavine in the early part of last night's game, I was all but certain they were on their way to an offensive explosion. As the innings went by I kept being sure and I kept being wrong. Glavine put up zero after zero long enough for me to finally realize that there aren't a lot of guys out there who win 301 games by accident. All the hard line drives the Phillies hit, the mammoth foul ball that left the stadium altogether, none of them mattered as they went in to the eighth inning without a run. A lot of the time it's not how hard you hit the ball, it's where you hit the ball.
As if to drive the point home, the Phillies tied the game in the eighth on a dribbler that went about 40 feet with three Mets staring at it, willing it to go foul. Didn't.
And then, just so everybody remembered that sometimes it really is just about how hard and far you hit the ball, Ryan Howard smashed a walkoff two-run homer deep into the night in the bottom of the tenth.
The Phillies beat the Mets last night, winning 4-2 in ten innings to improve to 69-62 on the season. They are in second place in the NL East, four games behind the Mets. The Padres beat the Diamondbacks last night, so the Phils remain three games behind San Diego for the Wild Card. It was the third straight win for the Phils, coming off of losing three in a row.
The Phils won with the help of more than a little luck. Down 2-1 with a runner on third and two outs in the eighth, Rowand's swinging bunt somehow walked the third base line and stayed fair. It rolled to a stop half about half way between home and third.
Tough break for the Mets. But they could have kept themselves out of a position where they could have lost on that particular tough break if the offense could have come up with more than two runs. Phils have held them to four runs over the first two games of the series. You have to believe the Mets' bats are going to wake up soon, and I'm guessing the Phils may need more than four runs tonight if they're going to win again.
Adam Eaton got the start for the Phillies and went 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a home run by Carlos Delgado, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Mets. He struck out one. Delgado nearly hit a second home run off of him in the sixth, which would have been a three-run shot that changed the game. But he didn't.
With two outs in the first, David Wright walked and stole second. Eaton struck Carlos Beltran out to end the frame.
Moises Alou started the second with a single and Delgado followed with a long home run to right that put the Mets up 2-0. Eaton got the next three.
Eaton threw a 1-2-3 third.
In the fourth, Alou and Delgado singled with one out. With men on first and second, Lo Duca hit into a double-play to turn the Mets away.
Pitcher Tom Glavine singled to right with one out in the second, but Eaton got Jose Reyes on a fly ball to right and Luis Castillo on a pop to short.
With one out in the sixth, Eaton hit Carlos Beltran hard in the ribs with a pitch. Both benches were warned. Alou followed with walk before Delgado flew to right on a long fly ball that Werth took just at the wall. Geary came in to pitch to Lo Duca and got him on a ground ball to short. Eaton stays in to pitch to the lefty Delgado who had already homered for the game's only runs and then is lifted against the righty. No doubt pitch counts were the issue as Eaton comes off the DL, but it looked a little odd. Eaton left having thrown 87 pitches.
Geary returned for the seventh. With one out Glavine hit a one-hopper that hit Geary's leg and went to short. Rollins threw to first but not in time to get Glavine, who had a single. Reyes followed and hit into a double-play.
Romero started the eighth and struck out the first two men he faced before he walked Beltran on four pitches. Beltran went to second on a wild pitch and Romero walked the righty Alou intentionally to pitch to the lefty Delgado. Romero struck out Delgado to end the inning.
Myers came in to pitch the ninth with the score tied at 2-2. You may remember that he also entered Saturday night's game in a 2-2 tie in the ninth. This time he set the Mets down 1-2-3.
Myers returned for the tenth and threw another 1-2-3 frame, getting Reyes on a ground ball to Howard, Castillo on a ball hit back to the pitcher and Wright on a ground ball to second that turned out to be close play at first.
The Phils' pen allowed one hit in 4 1/3 scoreless innings. Myers threw 27 pitches, Romero 24 and Geary 17. It may mean it's Gordon, Alfonseca and Mesa out of the pen tonight (if Moyer doesn't go nine). The Phils had to win last night, but the 24 pitches for Romero are tough given that he's the Phils' only lefty in the pen. I'd be surprised if he pitched tonight after throwing 24 pitches last night and eight on Monday.
The Phillies' lineup against lefty Tom Glavine went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Werth (7) Helms (8) Coste. Werth back in right and came into the game 9-for-his-last-9. He moves up to sixth against the lefty. Helms was apparently located and told he was playing. Coste back behind the plate again.
Rollins singled to right to start the first and Utley followed with a line out to right. Rollins stole second and Burrell hit a ball to center that allowed Rollins to tag and go to third. Howard lined to Reyes to end the inning. With the shift on, Reyes was playing to the right of second base.
Rowand singled to start the second, which brought up Werth trying to extend his 9-for-9. He was called out looking at a 2-2 pitch that looked inside. Helms moved Rowand to second with a single, but Coste hit into a double-play to end the inning.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the third.
Howard singled with one out in the fourth, but Rowand followed and hit into a double-play.
Helms singled with one out in the fifth, but Coste followed and lined to short. Eaton moved Helms to second with a single into left, but Rollins flew to right to end the inning.
Utley started the sixth with a single, but Burrell popped the first pitch of his at-bat up to first. Howard sent Utley to third with a single, bringing up Rowand with men on first and third with one down. Rowand flew to Chavez in shallow right-center and the runners had to hold. Werth grounded to third to end the inning.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh. Iguchi hit for Geary with two outs and grounded to short.
Rollins started the eighth with a home run to left, cutting the Mets' lead to 2-1. Utley grounded to second for the first out. With Howard on deck, the lefty Feliciano stayed in to pitch to Burrell. Burrell walked on four pitches and Victorino ran for him at first. Howard swung at the first pitch and flew to Alou in left, just in front of the warning track. Righty Aaron Heilman came in to pitch to Rowand. Victorino stole second and went to third when Lo Duca's throw went through Castillo's legs and into center. Rowand hit a dribbler out down the third base line that looked like it was going to roll foul but never did. It stopped about half way to third and Victorino scored tie the game at 2-2. Werth was next and he reached on an infield single between short and third. He always turns out to be faster than I think he should be. Dobbs hit for Helms against the righty and walked on four pitches. It brought up Coste with the bases loaded and two down. Coming off the four-pitch walk, Coste swung at the first pitch and dribbled it back to the mound to end the inning. Phils don't score without Victorino running for Burrell. I'm not sure the Phils have another player on their team who could have gone to third after Lo Duca's throw dribbled into center. Rollins, maybe, but it would have been close. It was pretty close at third with Victorino running.
Nunez , who had entered the in the top of the inning at third after Dobbs pinch-hit in the eighth, led off the ninth and grounded back to the pitcher. Rollins fouled out to Wright on a nice play near the Mets' dugout. Utley flew to left for the third out.
Victorino started the tenth and blooped a single into center field. Mota got ahead of Howard 1-2 before Howard hit a long home run to left that gave the Phils a 4-2 win.
The Phils only had two extra-bases hits on the night, the home runs by Rollins and Howard. Both came after the seventh inning.
Rollins was 2-for-5 with his 23rd home run.
Utley was 1-for-5.
Burrell was 0-for-3 with a walk.
Howard was 3-for-5 and won the game with his 35th home run of the year.
Rowand was 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Helms 2-for-3 with his first hits since August 17.
Coste was 0-for-4 and left six men on base for the third straight game. Disappointing at-bat in the eighth with the bases loaded after Dobbs walked on four pitches.
Jamie Moyer (11-10, 5.16) faces lefty Oliver Perez (12-8, 3.34) tonight. In his last two starts, Moyer has allowed 16 runs in 8 2/3 innings. He's made two starts against the Mets this season, going 0-1 with a 3.46 ERA. He faced New York on April 12 and on June 5. If you haven't started to worry about Moyer yet you may be too late. It's hard to see him losing his spot in the rotation, but he's been shelled his last two times out and the Phils may have to consider it if he doesn't turn things around soon given that they will have six starters when Hamels returns. Perez threw seven shutout innings against the Dodgers on Friday, holding Los Angeles to three hits. Opponents are hitting just .224 against him, but he's walked 59 in 142 2/3 innings, including eight in his last 12 2/3 innings. He started against the Phils on April 11 and went just 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on just one hit but seven walks.
When they activated Adam Eaton from the DL, the Phillies designated John Ennis for assignment.