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September 8 2006

It might not be Sammy Hager's thing, but Ryan Howard didn't have any problem driving 55.  Or 56.  Howard was stuck on home run number 55 for about a half an hour before he slammed number 56 out to right field.  He knocked in all three runs tonight as he led the Phillies to a win in Florida.

The Phillies beat the Marlins tonight, winning 3-2 to improve to 72-69 on the year.

The ancient mariner himself, Jamie Moyer, got the start for the Phillies and was fabulous.  He went eight innings, allowing one run on five hits.  Two of the five hits went for extra-bases, a double and a triple.  He struck out four and didn't walk a batter. 

Moyer gave up a one-out double to Dan Uggla in the first, but retired Cabrera and Willingham to end the inning.

Wes Helms led off the second with a single before Joe Borchard flew to right for the first out of the inning.  Miguel Olivo was next and he tripled, scoring Helms to put the Marlins up 1-0.  The Phillies brought the infield in and Alfredo Amezaga hit a ground ball to short  -- Rollins threw Olivo out at home for the second out of the inning.  Scott Olsen grounded out to end the inning. 

In the third, Moyer hit Cabrera with a pitch with two outs but got Willingham to ground to third to end the inning.

Wes Helms led off the fourth with a single, but Borchard followed with a ground ball to third that Hernandez and Utley did a nice job on to turn into a double-play.  Olivo popped to short to end the inning. 

Moyer threw a 1-2-3 fifth and a 1-2-3 sixth.  He took a 2-1 lead into the bottom of the seventh, and got the first two before Olivo singled.  Amezaga flew to Victorino to end the inning.

Moyer started the eighth with a 3-1 lead and Geary and Rhodes warming in the pen.  Apparently what it takes to keep Rhodes from starting the eighth is not divine intervention but eight innings from the Phillies starting pitcher.  Moyer set the Fish down 1-2-3. 

Gordon came on to pitch the ninth, appearing in his first close game since his return.  Cabrera led off with a slow ground ball between third and short, which went under the glove of Hernandez and rolled into left field.  Cabrera was safe at second.  Willingham followed with a check-swing ground ball to first.  Howard took it for the out while Cabrera went to third.  Pinch-hitter Mike Jacobs hit a high fly ball to center and Cabrera tagged and scored to make the score 3-2.  Victorino made a great throw, nearly getting Cabrera to end the game.  Flash took care of that, though, striking out Joe Borchard to record his 28th save on the year and first since August 4. 

The Phillies lineup against lefty Scott Olsen went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Conine (6) Burrell (7) Coste (8) Hernandez.  Hernandez starts against the lefty in place of Olsen, which is a great move by Manuel.  Conine moves to the five-hole after hitting a three-run home run after the Marlins intentionally walked Howard to pitch to Conine last night.  I like that move less, especially against a lefty.  Burrell is a much better hitter (287/442/617) against lefties than Conine (262/341/418) this season. 

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the first.  In the second they got a one-out single from Conine, but Burrell followed with a strike out for the second out of the inning.  Coste was next and he walked, but Jose Hernandez struck out to end the inning.

Down 1-0 in the third, the Phils went 1-2-3.  In the fourth, with one out Howard hit a high fly ball to center, which was badly misplayed by Amezaga into a double.  Howard was stranded when Conine flew out and Burrell grounded to second.  Both Conine and Burrell swung into an out on the first pitch of their at-bat.

In the fifth, Hernandez drew a one-out walk, but Moyer and Rollins struck out to end the inning.

The Phillies went into the sixth down 1-0.  Victorino led off with a single but Utley went down swinging for the first out of the inning.   Ryan Howard followed with a two-run homer, number 55 on the year.  Conine followed with a single, but Burrell and Coste went down to end the inning.

Up 2-1 in the seventh, Rollins hit a two-out triple but was left on third when Victorino grounded to third to end the inning.

In the eighth, Ryan Howard hit a solo home run to right with one out to put the Phils up 3-1.  Conine followed and flew to center, but Burrell doubled to left with two down.  Coste struck out to end the inning.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the top of the ninth.

Rollins was 1-for-5 with a triple.

Victorino was 1-for-4.

Utley was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Howard was 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI.

Conine was 2-for-4 with two singles. 

Burrell was 1-for-4.

Coste and Hernandez were both 0-for-3 with a walk.

Brett Myers faces Brian Moehler tomorrow at 6:05 (really!).

September 8 2006


FLA 70-69 656 4.72 263 331 433 96 52
PHI 70-69 739 5.32 266 343 444 82 21
FLA 1227.0 653 4.70 1235 524 920 4.31 1.43
PHI 1250.2 719 5.17 1352 443 966 4.75 1.44

One question.  Be honest.  When the Phillies were up 10-4 in the seventh last night you thought it was over, didn't you?  Maybe you showed enough restraint not to say it out loud, but deep, deep down inside you put that one in the win column for the fightin' Phils even before Rick White took the hill to throw his first miserable pitch.  Sucker.  I did, too.  I just can't help myself.

With this Phillies pen these days, it's not over till Arthur Rhodes comes on for his high wire act in the eighth and whoever comes on to muddle through the ninth.  Just when you thought it was safe to call the six-run lead in the seventh insurmountable and head for bed, the Phillies stop batting and are forced, by rule, to pitch again.

The Phillies bats roared back to life last night in Florida, and it was enough to overcome their pitching.  They beat the Marlins 14-8 to improve to 71-69 on the year.  They move ahead of the Fish and are alone in second place in the NL East, 16 1/2 games behind the Mets.  They trail the Padres by 2 1/2 games in the Wild Card. 

Jon Lieber got the start for the Phillies and picked things up after putting the Phils in a 3-0 hole after the first inning.  Lieber went 5 1/3 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits.  Three of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and two home runs.  All of the extra-base hits came in the first inning.  He didn't walk a batter and struck out seven.  He pitched okay but put an end to a stretch by Phillies starters where they had gone nine straight games without allowing more than three runs in a start.

Lieber got the first two men he faced in the top of the first.  Miguel Cabrera was next and he homered.  Josh Willingham doubled and Mike Jacobs followed with another home run, putting the Marlins up 3-0.  Joe Borchard was next and singled, but Lieber got Miguel Olivo to ground to third to end the inning.

In the second, Lieber gave up a leadoff single to Alfredo Amezaga but set the next three down in order to end the inning.

Lieber didn't allow a base runner in the third, fourth or fifth.  He started the bottom of the sixth with a 5-3 lead.   Cabrera led off with a single, but Lieber struck out Willingham for the first out of the inning.  Jacobs singled, sending Cabrera to second.  With Borchard at the plate, Manuel called on Geoff Geary, who struck out Borchard for the second out of the inning.  Olivo followed and singled to center, cutting the Phillies lead to 5-4, before Geary got Amezaga to end the inning.

I keep expecting Geary to blow up, but it hasn't happened yet.  He did allow an inherited runner to score last night, but has pitched very well.  It's coming, though.  Too many innings and too many appearances.  At the end of last night's game, after seven days in September he had appeared in five games.

Rick White came in to pitch the seventh inning with a 10-4 lead.  He was coming off of consecutive outings where he was very good, allowing just one hit over three innings over the two appearances combined.  Single, walk, pop up to second, made it first and second with one out.  Cabrera was next and he singled, scoring the runner from second to make it 10-5 and sending Hanley Ramirez to second with one down.  Josh Willingham followed with a three-run homer that made the score 10-8 and that was it for White.  With the lefty Jacobs at the plate, Manuel brought in Matt Smith who struck out Jacobs and Borchard to end the inning.

Smith has been tremendous.  After starting the season with the Yankees and throwing 12 scoreless innings he came to the Phillies in the Abreu deal and has been nearly flawless, throwing 3 2/3 scoreless frames in some tight games.  For the year he has now thrown 15 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just five hits.

It's really been enough with the Rick White.  Here's some guys on the Phillies active roster that basically never pitch:  Eude Brito, Clay Condrey, Brian Sanches.  Fabio Castro apparently had his chance to get into a game but now it's over.  We can't try one of those guys in a 10-4 game?

Arthur Rhodes came in to pitch the eighth inning with an 11-8 lead.  Oh my.  What do you suppose it would take for Manuel to pitch someone else in the eighth when Rhodes is available?  Divine intervention?  An Act of Congress?  Who do we appeal to?  Olivo led off and hit a ground ball to short so hard I was impressed the Rollins managed to survive, much less record an out.  The next two outs were less dramatic as Rhodes set the Marlins down in order.

Tom Gordon came in to pitch the ninth with a 14-8 lead.  He was appearing in his first game since August 12 and did not inspire a lot of confidence.  He walked Ramirez to lead off the inning.  Dan Uggla was next, and he ripped a ball into the gap in right-center.  Michael Bourn was in right, the Phillies called him back up yesterday, and he made a tremendous running catch in the gap to record the out.  The Phillies defensive outfield in the ninth was Roberson, Victorino and Bourn -- that may be as much speed as any team in either league has had in their outfield all season long.  Cabrera followed Uggla's drive with a single that sent Ramirez to second, but Flash got Willingham and Jacobs to go down and end the inning.

The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Johnson went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Conine (6) Dellucci (7) Coste (8) Nunez.  Notably absent from the lineup was the Phillies best corner outfielder, Burrell.  The Phils have made it clear that they don't want Burrell around -- I think he's got the message.  What they shouldn't do is make their team worse in a playoff hunt to send it again.  Manuel has seemed to have a tendency to give Burrell a day off against a righty when the Phils will be facing a lefty the next day.  Lefty Scott Olsen goes for the Marlins tonight.

In the first, the Phillies got a two-out single from Utley, but Howard lined to right to end the inning. 

The Phils found themselves in a 3-0 hole going into the top of the second and came back strong.  Conine led off with a triple and Dellucci followed with a walk.  Coste was next and he hit a double that scored both of them, getting the Phillies within one a 3-2.  Nunez and Lieber both grounded out, with Coste going to third on the ball Nunez hit to short.  With two outs and Coste on third, Rollins doubled, tying the game at 3-3.  Victorino popped to second to end the inning.

With one out in the third, Ryan Howard hit his 54th home run of the season to put the Phillies up 4-3.  Dellucci singled with two down, but Coste flew out to left to end the inning.

Nunez led off the fourth with a strikeout, but Lieber followed and singled.  Rollins grounded out for the second out of the inning with Lieber forced at second.  Rollins stole second, his 34th on the year, he's been caught just four times.  In 2005 and 2006 combined he's stolen 75 bases and been caught ten times.  Victorino walked, putting runners at first and second with two down for Utley, who grounded to first to end the inning.

The Phillies loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth on singles by Howard and Conine and a walk to Dellucci.  Coste lined out softly to second for the first out.  Nunez was next, and after grounding into an inning-ending double-play with the bases loaded and one out on Wednesday, he hit a ground ball to second that looked like two.  It was a little too slowly hit, however, he beat the throw to first and a run scored, putting the Phils up 5-3.  Lieber followed with a walk that loaded the bases again, but Rollins grounded out to end the inning.  Not a good inning.  After loading the bases with nobody out the Phillies came away with one.  And just barely.  It looked as if Dellucci may have been injured going into second on the non double-play ball hit by Nunez.  He came up limping, but stayed in the game until Manuel pinch hit Danny Sandoval for him in the seventh against lefty Renyel Pinto. 

The Phils got a two-out walk from Howard in the sixth, but Conine struck out to end the inning.

The Phils broke it open with five runs in a seventh inning that they opened with a 5-4 lead.  Sandoval led off with a single and Coste followed with a two-run homer.  7-4.  Nunez walked and pinch-hitter Burrell popped to short for the first out.  Rollins lined to right for the second out.  Victorino followed with a single and Chase Utley hit a three-run homer, putting the Phillies up 10-4.  Howard struck out to end the inning.

Chris Roberson reached on an error by Uggla with one out in the eighth inning.  Coste flew out to center for the second out and Roberson stole second.  Nunez walked, putting runners on first and second with two down and the Phils called on pinch-hitter Randall Simon.  Simon singled to right, scoring Roberson with Nunez out at third as the Phillies extended their lead to 11-4.  Simon is now 3-for-6 with two RBI with the Phillies.

Victorino tripled with one out in the ninth.  Utley flew out to center for the second out, and the Marlins walked Ryan Howard to pitch to Conine with the Phillies up 11-8.  Conine made the Fish pay for the walk of Howard, smashing a three-run homer way out to left to put the Phillies up 14-8.  Roberson followed with a triple, but Coste struck out to end the inning.

Rollins was 1-for-6 with a two-out RBI-double in the second.  He left five men on base. 

Victorino was 2-for-5 with a walk.  He's been awesome since Rowand left, playing well both offensively and defensively.  He's 19-for-his-last-49 (.388).

Utley had a big home run.  He was 2-for-6 with three RBI and his 26th homer.

Howard was 2-for-4 with his 54th home run and two walks.  He's 12-for-his-last-25 and already has five home runs in September after hitting 14 in August.  His line for the year is 308/403/665.

Conine was 3-for-6 with a home run, a triple and three RBI.  

Dellucci was 1-for-1 with two walks. 

Coste was 2-for-6 with a home run and four RBI.  He left six men on base.

Nunez was 0-for-3 with two walks as his average drops to .191.

Jamie Moyer faces Scott Olson tonight. 

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