A lot of things have gone wrong for the Phillies early in the 2009 season. A lot of them have to do with pitching and exactly none of them have to do with the team’s biggest acquisition of the off-season. Raul Ibanez has been better than even the most optimistic of fans could have hoped for, in the field, on the bases and at the plate. Yesterday afternoon he hit his fifth home run of the 11-game-old season, this one was a walkoff shot in the bottom of the ninth to make the scuffling Phillies winners for the first time in four games.
The Phillies beat the San Diego Padres yesterday afternoon, winning 5-4 to improve to 5-6 on the season.
Chan Ho Park got the start for the Phillies and went five innings, allowing four runs on eight hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a triple and a home run. He struck out three.
He set Jody Gerut, Edgar Gonzalez and Brian Giles down in order in the first. Victorino made a nice sliding catch in right-center field for the second out.
Adrian Gonzalez led off the top of the second with a single into center. Chase Headley flew to left for the first out. Kevin Kouzmanoff was next and singled into left, moving Gonzalez to second. Nick Hundley followed and he lined a ball to third that was caught by Feliz. Feliz threw to second where Gonzalez was doubled-off easily to end the frame.
Evereth Cabrera started the third with a bunt out in front of the plate and beat Coste’s throw to first for a single. The pitcher Josh Geer bunted Cabrera to second for the first out. Gerut was next and lined a single over Utley’s glove. Cabrera scored and San Diego led 1-0. Edgar Gonzalez was next and he lined a triple to left that scored Gerut and made it 2-0. Ibanez should have caught the line drive by Gonzalez on a slide, but didn’t. Giles grounded out to second for the second out, but Gonzalez came in to score and it was 3-0. Adrian Gonzalez grounded to first for the third out.
Park got the first two to start the fourth before Hundley and Cabrera singled back-to-back. It put men on first and second with two down for the pitcher Geer. Park walked Geer on five pitches to load the bases. Gerut got ahead 3-1, but grounded to second to leave the bases loaded.
You should try pretty hard not to walk the pitcher. Oddly it was the only walk of the day for Park.
Park looked great to start the fifth, setting the first two hitters down quickly. But. Adrian Gonzalez was next and he hammered an 0-1 pitch way out to right to make it 4-0. Giels flew to center for the third out.
Happ started the sixth and gave up a leadoff single to Kouzmanoff. Hundley was next and he singled to right-center, moving Kouzmanoff to second. Cabrera was next and hit a ground ball between first and second, but Howard made a great diving play to field the ball. Howard flipped to Happ to nip the speedy Cabrera for the first out with the runners moving to second and third. Happ struck the pitcher Geer out for the second out and got Gerut looking 0-2 to set the Padres down.
Great play from Howard helped keep San Diego off the board.
Edgar Gonzalez started the seventh with a foul ball down the right-field line. Howard chased it down and retired him on another over-the-shoulder basket catch for the first out. Happ got the next two to end the frame.
Second great defensive play for Howard in two innings.
Happ returned for the eighth. Kouzmanoff singled to left with one out and Hundley followed with a walk. Rodriguez was next and he lined a ball to right that Stairs took after a run. Kouzmanoff was way off of second and was easily doubled-off for the third out.
Condrey pitched the ninth with the Phils down 4-3. David Eckstein pinch-hit for the pitcher to start the inning and singled to right. Gerut grounded into a double-play behind him and Edgar Gonzalez flew to right.
Great game for the pen, keeping the game close enough for the Phillies to win it in the ninth. They went four scoreless innings, allowing four hits and a walk. Happ clearly cannot pitch today after throwing 50 pitches in the game. Condrey threw just eight.
The Phillies lineup against righty Josh Geer went (1) Victorino (2) Bruntlett (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ibanez (6) Stairs (7) Feliz (8) Coste. Rollins on the bench with Bruntlett playing shortstop and Victorino moving up to the leadoff spot. Stairs plays right field with Werth on the bench. Still no start for Dobbs against the righty, in this case perhaps because Manuel wants to save a lefty to pinch-hit. Coste catches. I like the idea of a day off for Rollins, but not the idea of putting Bruntlett in against a team that’s going to throw right-handers all day long.
Victorino led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, but the Phillies went in order behind him.
Ibanez started the second and doubled off the wall in right. Stairs was next and hit a hard ground ball to first. Gonzalez fielded moving towards second and made a strong throw to third where Ibanez was tagged out for the first out of the inning. Very nice play by Gonzalez. Feliz was next and flew to shallow center. Coste grounded slowly to short for the third out.
Down 3-0, the Phillies went in order in the third.
Utley grounded out to start the fourth, but Howard was next and he bombed a ball off the wall in center that rolled towards right field long enough for Howard to wind up on third base. Ibanez was next and he grounded back to the pitcher for the second out with Howard forced to hold. Stairs struck out looking 0-2 to end the inning.
No run for the Phillies after putting a runner on third with nobody out.
Feliz led off the bottom of the fifth with the Phils down 4-0 and hit a ball hard off the top of the wall in left. He hit it so hard it went right to Headley, who was able to hold Feliz to a single. Coste was next he hit a ball hard, too, but into a double-play. He smashed the ball to short, where Cabrera back-handed it for his life, flipped to second where Gonzalez relayed to first. Pretty double-play for the Padres, but that’s just bad luck twice in a row for the Phils. Cairo hit for Park and grounded to third.
A little bit of an early exit for Park, who had thrown just 88 pitches, given how horrible the bullpen has been of late.
Victorino grounded out to start the sixth. Bruntlett was next and hit a ground ball to short, where Luis Rodriguez, just into the game, fielded it but made a bad throw to first for an error. Utley was next and he hit a towering shot out to right, cutting the San Diego lead in half at 4-2. Howard followed with a single up the middle. Ibanez was next and chopped a ground ball to first. Gonzalez fielded, stepped on the bag and threw to second to complete the double-play and set the Phillies down.
The Phils went 1-2-3 in the seventh.
Rollins hit for Happ to start the eighth. He hit a 3-2 pitch out to right, cutting the San Diego lead to 4-3. Victorino struck out for the first out . Dobbs hit for Bruntlett and popped to short for the second out. Utley flew to Giles in deep right.
Edwin Moreno came on to protect the one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth. Howard led off with a single into center that fell just in front of Gerut. Ibanez got ahead 2-0 and hit a ball out to right to give the Phillies a 5-4 win.
Utley 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI.
Howard 3-for-4 with a triple. He played great defense in the game and had a big hit in front of Ibanez in the ninth.
Ibanez 2-for-4 with a double and a walkoff homer.
Feliz 1-for-3 with a single blasted high off the wall.
Jamie Moyer (1-1, 6.55) faces righty Kevin Correia (0-1, 4.09) tonight in the final game of the four-game series. Moyer has allowed four runs in each of his starts, going five innings against the Braves in his first start and six innings against the Nats in his second. He’s allowed 16 hits in 11 innings. Opponents are hitting .340 against him. Correia has also thrown 11 innings in his two starts, but has given up just five runs. He didn’t face the Phillies in 2008, but was terrible last year. He threw to a 6.05 ERA with a 1.71 ratio in 110 innings.