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September 19 2007

The return of Cole Hamels was supposed to be the story last night in St Louis, but it wasn't.  After an almost comical performance on Monday, the Phillies' bullpen atoned in a big way.  Hamels left after just three innings and the relief corps combined to hold the Cardinals to a run on six hits over eleven strong innings.  It helped the Phils get a win on a night they managed just eight hits in a fourteen-inning game.

A weak Cardinals' lineup helped a lot.  Albert Pujols was a late scratch to a St Louis lineup that lacked Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen.  The Cards pulled their starting shortstop after Tony La Russa didn't like his at-bat in the first inning.  Miguel Cairo isn't a prototypical three-hitter.  But just a day after the bats had to pick up a miserable Phils pen, the bullpen carried the load last night while the offense struggled to put runs on the board.

And all of the sudden there are people out there who think the Phillies are alive in the hunt for the NL East.

The Phillies beat the St Louis Cardinals last night, winning 7-4 in fourteen innings.  With their sixth-straight win the Phils improve to 82-69 on the year and are 13 games over .500 for the first time on the season.  They are within 1 1/2 of the first-place Mets in the NL East.  In the Wild Card chase they continue to trail the Padres by 1 1/2 games.  San Diego is one game behind Arizona in the NL West, but the Padres have played two fewer games than the Diamondbacks.  I still think the Padres make the playoffs and there's one spot available for Arizona or the Phils.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went three innings in his first action in over a month.  He allowed three runs on five hits and a walk.  One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double.  He struck out two and threw 54 pitches.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 first.  Brendan Ryan swung at a 3-0 pitch and flew to center for the second out.  La Russa took him out of the game in the top of the second.

Scott Spiezio started the second with a single and Rick Ankiel followed with a double that moved him to third.  Yadier Molina hit a ground ball to second and both runners moved up, tying the game at 1-1.  Skip Schumaker was next and he hit a ground ball to second.  Ankiel scored to make it 2-1.  Hamels struck out the pitcher Todd Wellemeyer to end the inning.

Brian Barden started the third with a walk.  So Taguchi was next and he hit a ball that hit Barden.  Barden was out with Taguchi safe at first.  Aaron Miles followed with a single to left that sent Taguchi to second.  Miguel Cairo was next and he hit another single to left.  Taguchi scored and Miles went to second.  3-1.  Spiezio flew to left and Ankiel struck out to leave the runners stranded.

JD Durbin came in to pitch the fourth and set the Cards down 1-2-3.

Durbin walked Miles with two outs in the fifth.  Cairo dribbled one to third and Dobbs had no chance.  Miles went to second with Cairo safe at first.  Spiezio popped to Howard in foul territory for the third out.

Geary pitched the sixth.  He gave up a two out single to Schumaker before Ryan Ludwick flew to center for the third out.

With one out in the seventh, pitcher Adam Wainwright hit for Randy Flores and singled.  Just for giggles, La Russa had pitcher Anthony Reyes run for Wainwright.  Geary got the next two.

JC Romero threw a 1-2-3 eighth.

Gordon came in to pitch the ninth with the score still tied at 3-3.  Ludwick singled with one out and and was caught stealing.  Barden struck out for the third out.

The Phils went ahead 4-3 in the top of the tenth and Myers came in to try to save the game in the bottom of the tenth.  Miles singled with one out and Cairo followed with a single that moved him to third.  Spiezio hit a fly ball to right and Miles tagged and scored from third to tie the game at 4-4.  Ankiel flew to right for the third out.

Myers returned to strike out two in a 1-2-3 eleventh.

Mesa threw a 1-2-3 twelfth.

He came back to pitch the thirteenth and walked Albert Pujols, who hit for pitcher Brian Falkenborg, with one out.  Pujols had been a late scratch to the starting lineup with a strained calf.  Joel Pineiro ran for Pujols at first, but Mesa struck out Ankiel and Kelly Stinnett to end the inning.

The Phils went up 7-4 in the top of the fourteenth.  Clay Condrey came in to get three ground balls in a 1-2-3 frame, earning his first career save.

The Phils' pen didn't allow a hit in the last four innings of the game.  Durbin, Geary, Romero, Gordon, Mesa and Condrey combined to throw nine scoreless innings in which they allowed four hits and two walks. 

The Phillies lineup against righty Todd Wellemeyer went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Ruiz.  Dobbs at third against the righty.  Werth stays in right and Ruiz behind the plate.

Utley doubled with one out in the first and Burrell moved him to third with a ground out to second.  Rowand and Howard both walked, loading the bases for Dobbs.  Dobbs walked and Utley scored to put the Phils up 1-0.  Werth struck out on three pitches to leave the bases loaded.

The Phillies went 1-2-3 in the second and again in the third.

In the fourth, Werth walked with two outs and stole second.  Ruiz walked and Laforest hit for Hamels.  Laforest hit a dribbler out in front of the plate to set the Phils down.

Burrell walked with two outs in the fifth.  Howard grounded to second to end the frame.

Dobbs walked with one out in the sixth.  Werth was next and he smoked a ball off the wall in center.  It hit off the wall and bounced back past Ankiel.  Werth had a triple.  Dobbs scored to cut the St Louis lead to 3-2.  Ruiz was next and he hit a ball not very deep to right for the second out.  Werth tagged and came home, but Ludwick's throw was up the line and Werth scored to tie the game at 3-3.  Stinnett didn't catch the ball, but it didn't matter because the throw was bad.  Aggressive base running by Werth, who has much better speed than I thought coming into the season.  Victorino hit for Durbin and grounded out to second to end the frame.  I was a little surprised at the time to see Durbin go just two innings, but it worked out for the Phils.

Utley walked with one out in the seventh, but Burrell and Howard struck out behind him.

Ryan Franklin threw a 1-2-3 eighth and a 1-2-3 ninth.  The former Phil lowered his ERA to 2.49 on the year.

Burrell singled with one out in the tenth and Bourn ran for him.  Bourn went to second on a passed ball and Howard was walked intentionally, putting men on first and second with one out.  Rowand walked to load the bases.  Dobbs hit a ground ball to second.  Miles came home but Stinnett couldn't hold the ball.  Bourn was safe on an error charged to Miles and the Phils led 4-3 with the bases still loaded and one out.  Werth struck out and Ruiz hit it well but flew to right.   Not a good time for Werth's strikeout.

With one out in the eleventh, Rollins singled and stole second.  Utley grounded to second and Bourn flew to center.

The Phils went 1-2-3 in the twelfth. 

Ruiz singled with one out in the thirteenth.  Roberson ran for him and stole second.  Nunez struck out and Rollins struck out.  Not a fan of taking any regular out for a pinch-runner in front of Nunez, but don't mind that one.  Ruiz may have had enough after 12 innings behind the plate.

Utley started the fourteenth with a single and Bourn bunted him to second.  Howard struck out for the third time on the night and Rowand was walking intentionally.  With men on first and second and two down, Barajas hit for Mesa and singled into center.  Utley scored and Rowand went to third with the Phils up 5-4.  Werth tripled down the line in right and two more runs scored.  7-4.  Coste flew to left for the third out.  Clutch two out hits from Barajas and Werth.  Werth's comes after the tenth-inning strikeout with the bases loaded and one down.

The Phils had eight hits and eleven walks in the game.

Rollins was 1-for-7 and struck out three times. 

Utley was 2-for-6 with a double and a walk. 

Burrell was 1-for-4 with a walk and two strikeouts.  He's 2-for-his-last-17 with two singles and six strikeouts. 

Howard was 0-for-5 with two walks and three strikeouts.  He's 2-for-his-last-13 with six strikeouts and two home runs. 

Rowand was 0-for-4 with three walks.  Three-four-five combine to go 1-for-13. 

Dobbs was 0-for-3 and walked twice.

Werth was 2-for-6 with two triples, a walk and three RBI.  Strange night for Werth with the two huge triples.  He also struck out twice with the bases loaded and left six men on base.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.

Barajas had a huge hit in just his fifth at-bat of the month.  His line for the season is 230/352/393 compared to 257/332/399 for Ruiz. 

Jamie Moyer (13-11, 5.12) faces righty Adam Wainwright (13-11, 3.71) tonight.  Moyer was great on Friday against the Mets, holding New York to two runs on just four hits over seven innings.  He's really struggled in the second half of the season, though, he's 6-4 with a 6.26 ERA since the All-Star break.  He has made one start against the Cards this season, throwing six shutout innings on June 22.  Wainwright has allowed just 12 home runs in 182 innings this season.  Over his last nine starts he's allowed more than two earned runs twice.  He allowed three on August 5 against the Nationals.  He's 6-4 with a 2.49 ERA in 12 starts since the All-Star break.  He faced the Phillies on June 23 and July 15 (Wainwright threw seven shutout innings that game as the Phils lost for the ten thousandth time in team history).

The guys at BleacherBloggers.com mentioned Philliesflow in yesterday's show.  You can check it out here.

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