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September 24 2007

The Phillies saw their ten-game road trip and the remarkable run by their bullpen both come to an end at about the same time yesterday afternoon.  The Phils took a 2-1 lead into the sixth but fell as their pen gave up four runs in three innings. 

It can't all be blamed on the bullpen.  The Phils' hitters didn't give them much offense.  They scored just three runs on seven singles and one extra-base hit, a ninth-inning double.  Nats' starter Joel Hanrahan struck out seven in 4 2/3 innings while holding the Phils to a single run.  He lowered his ERA on the year to 6.02.

The Phils went 8-2 on the ten-game stretch.  During the ten games the Phils' pen allowed 15 runs in 40 1/3 innings.  Eight of the 15 runs they allowed came on September 17 in St Louis.  Two of the runs they allowed on the trip were unearned, so they allowed 13 earned runs in 40 1/3 innings (2.90 ERA).

Over the last ten games the offense scored five or fewer runs five times.  The bullpen, especially Romero, Gordon and Myers, deserves much of the credit for putting the Phils where they are, which is right in the middle of the chase for the Wild Card. 

The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals yesterday afternoon, falling 5-3 to drop to 85-71 on the year.   The Mets won yesterday, so they extend their lead in the NL East to 2 1/2 games.  The Phillies remain a half game behind the Padres for the Wild Card.  San Diego trails Arizona by 2 1/2 games in the West.

Cole Hamels got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing a run on two hits.  Both of the hits were singles.  He walked two and struck out six.  He left after throwing 76 pitches.

D'Angelo Jimenez started the first with a single and Ronnie Belliard followed with a walk.  Ryan Zimmerman hit into a double-play and Jimenez went to third.  Austin Kearns followed with a single to center and Jimenez scored to put Washington up 1-0.  Tony Batista popped to Dobbs in foul territory for the third out.

Hamels threw a 1-2-3 second.

Jimenez walked with one out in the third.  Hamels picked Jimenez off first as Jimenez broke for second, but Howard's throw to Rollins at second was high and Jimenez was safe.  Hamels struck out Belliard and got Zimmerman on a line drive to first. 

Hamels got two strikeouts in a 1-2-3 fourth and two more in a 1-2-3 fifth.

The Phils hit for Hamels in the top of the sixth and Alfonseca started the sixth with a 2-1 lead.  Jimenez led off with a double down the line in right.  The ball got away from Werth, who was charged with an error on the play, and Jimenez went to third.  Alfonseca walked Belliard to put men on first and third before Zimmerman popped to short for the first out.  Kearns singled up the middle and Jimenez scored to tie the game at 2-2, Belliard went to second.  Batista walked to load the bases and Manuel finally pulled Alfonseca.  Geary came in to pitch to the righty Flores and hit him to force in a run, putting the Nats ahead 3-2.  Lefty Ryan Church hit for righty Justin Maxwell and hit a ball hard to second.  Utley made a sliding play to his right, made a strong throw to Rollins at second and Rollins relayed to first to complete the inning-ending double-play.  Great play by Utley at a big time in the game.

Kyle Lohse pitched a 1-2-3 seventh.  For Lohse it was his first relief appearance of the season.

Kane Davis started the eighth with the Phils down 3-2.  With one out, Zimmerman and Kearns singled back-to-back, putting men on first and second.  Lefty Robert Fick hit for Batista and hit a hard ground ball back up the middle.  Utley dove and the ball went off the tip of his glove for a single.  Zimmerman scored to make it 4-2 and Kearns went to third.  Brian Schneider was next and hit the ball well to right for the second out.  Kearns tagged and scored easily.  5-2.  Wily Mo Pena hit for pitcher Jon Rauch and singled, sending Fick to second.  Condrey relieved Davis and got Logan on a ground ball to short for the third out.

Manuel finally has no choice but to go to the other guys in the pen and they can't get it done.  I don't think there's a whole lot to complain about when it comes to how Manuel handled the pitching yesterday.  He may have left Alfonseca in too long.  If he was going to pitch Lohse anyway I don't know why he wouldn't have done it in the sixth.  I don't think he took Hamels, who was pitching for just the second time in a month, out too early.

The Phillies' lineup against righty Joel Hanrahan went (1) Rollins (2) Utley (3) Burrell (4) Howard (5) Rowand (6) Dobbs (7) Werth (8) Ruiz.  Dobbs at third against the righty.

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

In the third, Hamels and Rollins singled back-to-back with two outs.  It put men on first and second with two down for Utley, but Utley struck out to set the Phillies down.

With two outs in the fourth, Rowand walked and Dobbs moved him to second with a single.  Werth struck out for the third out.

Hamels walked with one out in the fifth.  Rollins popped to short for the second out before Utley walked.  It put men on first and second for Burrell, who singled to left.  Hamels scored to tie the game at 1-1 with the help of a weak throw from left from Maxwell.  Howard walked to load the bases, but Rowand grounded to short for the third out.

Dobbs walked to start the sixth.  Werth struck out, but Flores made a snap throw to first that went into right field, where it got away from Kearns.  Dobbs went to third and Flores and Kearns were both charged with errors.  Ruiz blooped a single to right and Dobbs scored to put the Phillies up 2-1.  Laforest hit for Hamels and popped to Zimmerman in foul territory for the second out.  Rollins grounded to second to set down the Phils.

With one out in the seventh, Burrell and Howard walked back-to-back.  After Howard walked and put Burrell on second with the Phils down 3-2, Bourn ran for Burrell at second.  Rowand flew to center for the second out.  Iguchi hit for Geary and flew to center for the third out.  The Phils took Burrell out of a game they were losing by a run in the seventh and it hurt them in the ninth, cause he's a better hitter than Michael Bourn. 

Nunez singled with two outs in the eighth, but Rollins flew to right for the third out.

With the Phils down 5-2, Utley started the ninth with a ground-rule double.  Burrell's spot was next but Burrell wasn't in it because Bourn ran for him in the seventh inning.  Victorino hit for Bourn and struck out.  Howard walked to put men on first and second.  Rowand singled to left and Utley scored to make it 5-3 as Howard went to second.  As the go-ahead run, Helms hit for Condrey and struck out.  Werth struck out to end the game.

The Phillies had one extra-base hit in the game, Utley's ninth inning double.

Rollins was 1-for-5 yesterday and 6-for-20 with two doubles and a home run in the series.  He's on-basing .319 in September.  No walks in his last 32 at-bats.  He's at 293/343/526 on the season.

Utley was 1-for-4 with a walk and a double.  7-for-18 in the series with a double, a triple and a home run.  335/414/571.

Burrell was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI.  3-for-14 with a home run in the series.  261/404/507.

Howard was 0-for-2 with three walks.  6-for-13 with a double and two home runs in the set.  264/388/563.  With his strikeout in the fourth inning of yesterday's game, Howard tied the major league record for strikeouts in a season with 195.

Rowand was 1-for-4 with a walk and an RBI.  He left five men on base.  5-for-18 with a double in the series.  313/380/520.

Dobbs was 1-for-2 with a walk.  2-for-11 in the series.  277/334/463.  Helms was 0-for-1 today with a strikeout in his only at-bat in the series.  249/300/372.  Nunez was 1-for-1 today and 2-for-2 in the series.  240/322/289.

Werth was 0-for-5, struck out four times left five men on base and made an error.  2-for-14 with a big home run in the series.  303/410/455.  He's 5-for-his-last-34.  Victorino was 0-for-1 today and 2-for-6 with a double in the series.  283/350/424.

Ruiz was 1-for-4 yesterday and 2-for-10 in the series.  258/336/396.  Coste was 0-for-8 in the series and is hitting 281/308/422.  Coste is 5-for-his-last-33.

No game today.  Braves tomorrow.

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