It was bound to happen sooner or later and the Phillies finally had a starting pitcher give them a quality start for the first time this season last night. Joe Blanton gave up a three-run homer to Adam Dunn in the bottom of the first inning, but was very good after that. It didn’t matter much, though, because the bullpen exploded late and the offense didn’t do much of anything. The pen started the seventh down 3-2 and the Nats scored five runs off of Chad Durbin and Jack Taschner before the end of the eighth.
On the good news front, the game featured the ’09 debut of Lou Marson. He was impressive, going 2-for-3 with a double and some nice work behind the plate.
Rollins and Victorino continue to struggle atop the Phillies batting order. They combined to go 0-for-7 last night and are 11-for-68 (.162) on the season.
The Phillies lost to the Washington Nationals last night, falling 8-2 to drop to 4-4 on the season. The teams split the two games in the series, with the middle game rained out. The Phillies still haven’t won a game this season when they’ve scored less than seven runs.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a three-run homer by Adam Dunn. He struck out five. It was the first quality start of the year for the Phils, but Myers was arguably better against the Rockies on Saturday as he allowed four runs on four hits over seven.
The Phils didn’t score in the top of the first. Blanton got Anderson Hernandez on a ground ball to second for the first out. Nick Johnson was next and he singled into left. Ryan Zimmerman was next and he singled to left too. The throw into the infield got away from Feliz for an error on the third baseman, allowing the runners to move to second and third. Didn’t matter, though, cause Adam Dunn was next and pounded a 2-2 pitch out to right to put Washington up 3-0. Blanton got Elijah Dukes and Austin Kearns on fly balls to end the inning.
Blanton struck out Jesus Flores to start the second before Alberto Gonzalez singled to right. The pitcher Shairon Martis was next and he tried to bunt, but quickly got behind 0-2 and bunted the third pitch foul for the second out. Hernandez flew to left for the third out.
Johnson singled to right to start the third, but Blanton got the next three behind him.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth.
Hernandez and Johnson singled back-to-back with one out in the fifth. It put men on first and second for Zimmerman, and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play to third to end the inning.
With the Phils down 3-2, Blanton struck Dunn out looking at a 3-2 pitch on the inside part of the plate to start the sixth. Dukes was next and flew to center for the second out before Kearns hit a 1-2 pitch into the left field corner for a double. Flores followed with a walk to put two men on for Gonzalez, who flew to right to for the third out.
Durbin entered to pitch the seventh with the Phils still down a run. Josh Willingham pinch-hit for the pitcher Michael Hinckley to start the inning and Willingham hit a 3-2 pitch just out to left to make it 4-2. Hernandez was next and walked on five pitches. Johnson got ahead 2-0, but Durbin got him on a line drive to Rollins at short on the next pitch for the first out. Durbin got ahead of Zimmerman and delivered an 0-2 pitch that was way outside and bounced in the dirt. Hernandez took off for second, but Marson picked it cleanly and threw to second where he get Hernandez, who started late, easily. Still a very nice play by Marson to pick the ball and make a strong throw to second. Durbin’s next three pitches to Zimmerman were balls, putting him on first base with a walk. The lefty Dunn was next, and Manuel called on Taschner to pitch to him. Taschner was well-rested, having made just two appearances on the year the last of which was April 7. Taschner struck out Dunn swinging 1-2 to set the Nats down.
Not a good outing for Durbin, who allowed the home run and walked two, while getting two outs that came on a line drive and a caught stealing.
I was surprised to see Taschner and not Eyre come in to face Dunn with everyone presumably available. Presumably this is because the Phils were at the top of their order and unlikely to hit for their pitcher in the top of the eighth and Manuel wanted Taschner to go another inning.
Taschner did return for the eighth. Dukes led off an hit a 3-0 pitch out to left to make it 5-2. First hit or walk allowed on the season by Taschner. Kearns was next and hit a high popup that Utley took just behind the mound for the first out. Taschner got Flores looking 2-2 for the second out. Gonzalez was swinging first pitch and hit a ball just out down the line in left. 6-2. Gonzalez had 15 career home runs in 2,040 minor league at-bats. Roger Bernadina, who had entered defensively to play left, was next and Taschner walked him. Bernadina stole second as the count went 2-1 on Hernandez before Hernandez singled into right and Bernadina scored to make it 7-2. Johnson walked to put men on first and second. Zimmerman singled into center and Hernandez scored. 8-2 with men on first and second. That was mercifully it for Taschner, and Manuel brought Happ in to pitch. Ronnie Belliard hit for the pitcher Joe Beimel and popped up to Happ to end the inning.
Five runs allowed in two innings for the pen on five hits and four walks. Durbin had a rough outing, Taschner got hammered and Happ got the only man he faced. Taschner is surely unavailable today after throwing 38 pitches. Durbin threw 20 and Happ three.
The Phillies lineup against righty Shairon Martis went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Feliz (8) Marson. Marson makes his first start of the year with Ruiz on the DL. Still no start for Dobbs with a righty on the mound.
Utley walked with two outs in the first, but Howard struck out behind him.
Down 3-0, they went in order in the second.
Marson led off the third with a single into center. Blanton bunted Marson to second with the first out, but Rollins and Victorino both went down to leave him stranded.
Utley started the fourth with a single to center and moved to second on a ground out by Howard. Werth fouled out to the catcher, but Ibanez delivered a single into center to score Utley and cut the Washington lead to 3-1. Feliz grounded out to set the Phils down.
Marson led off the fifth and doubled into right. Blanton again got the bunt down, moving him to third for the first out. Rollins flew to right deep enough to bring Marson home and make it 3-2. Victorino flew to right for the third out.
Second time in the game that Marson got aboard and second time that Blanton bunted him along. This time they scored and everything.
Howard walked with one out in the sixth with the Phils still down a run. Werth popped to the shortstop Gonzalez in short left field for the second out. Ibanez lined a single into left, moving Howard to second. Feliz swung at the first pitch and hit a soft ground ball back to the pitcher to set the Phillies down.
Marson started the seventh and got ahead 2-0, but swung at the next pitch and popped to second. Dobbs was announced as the pinch-hitter for Blanton, and the Nats brought in lefty Mike Hinckley to pitch to him. Bruntlett hit for Dobbs and grounded to second for the second out. Rollins flew to Kearns in right-center for the third out.
Dobbs pinch-hits against a righty, the other team brings in a lefty and Bruntlett hits for Dobbs is happening more than appeals. Bruntlett is a poor best right-handed hitter on your bench against a lefty.
Lefty Joe Beimel started the eighth for the Nats with the Phils down 4-2. Victorino led off and swung at a 3-2 pitch that was out of the strike zone high and flew to left for the first out. Utley struck out and Howard flew to center.
Down 8-2, the Phils went in order in the top of the ninth.
Rollins was 0-for-3 with an RBI. He’s hitting .111.
Victorino 0-for-4 to drop his average to .219. Sorry to see him go out of the strike zone to start the eighth, but it’s a little less important if you’re going to lose by six.
Utley was 1-for-3 with a walk.
Howard 0-for-3 with a walk.
Ibanez 2-for-4 with an RBI.
Marson played very well, going 2-for-3 with a double, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phillies. Made a very nice play in the seventh to throw out Hernandez.
Cole Hamels (0-1, 17.18) faces righty Chris Young (2-0, 1.38) tonight as the Phils start a four-game set with the Padres. Hamels got blasted in his only start of the year, allowing seven runs on 11 hits over 3 2/3 innings against the Rockies on Friday. Adrian Gonzalez is 5-for-12 against Hamels in his career with a home run. Young has made two starts for the Padres and comes off an outing on Sunday against the Giants when he allowed just four hits and didn’t walk a batter over seven innings. He allowed one run in that start, but it was unearned. Feliz is 1-for-14 against him for his career. Utley is the only Phillie to have hit a home run against Young, he’s 3-for-8 with a homer.
There will be tributes to Harry Kalas at Citizens Bank Park today and tomorrow.