If we can just get ugly on our side once and for all I think everything should be fine.
It took more than one player to get the Phils into their mini-skid. It wasn’t particularly pretty, but yesterday it took more than one to pull them out of it.
Jimmy Rollins, moved down in the order with Victorino hitting leadoff, delivered the big blow of the game, a three-run homer off of Ryan Dempster in the sixth. Blanton again pitched well early but struggled late. The Cubs tied the game in the top of the eighth before Ibanez untied it in the bottom of the inning with a big RBI-single off a lefty. Jose Contreras was the final Phil who got a chance to shine. He entered the ninth with a one-run lead and nailed down his second save. Not without some drama, though. The Cubs put men on first and third with nobody out, but Contreras powered through, striking out the next two hitters before getting a popup to end the game.
The Phillies are 25-15 on the year after beating the Cubs 5-4 yesterday afternoon.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out three.
He set the first nine Cubs down in order, striking out Geovany Soto and pitcher Ryan Dempster to end the third.
He struck out Kosuke Fukudome to start the fourth, pitching with 1-0 lead. Ryan Theriot was next and he hit the ball hard, but Polanco fielded and threw to first for the second out. Derrek Lee hit a ball to third, too. Polanco had a lot of time, but his throw to first was high. Howard went up to get it, but lost the ball trying to tag Lee. The drop allowed Lee to take second and Polanco was charged with an error. Blanton got Marlon Byrd on a ground ball to third to end the frame and leave Lee stranded.
Alfonso Soriano led off the fifth. He hit a foul ball down the first base line. Howard looked like he had it lined up, then looked down to check his feet and lost it in the sun. The ball dropped and Soriano was still alive. He hit a double to left for the first hit of the game for Chicago. Mike Fontenot was next and he moved Soriano to third with a ground out. Starlin Castro was next and he lined a single to right, scoring Soriano to tie the score at 1-1. Koylie Hill hit into a double-play behind Castro to set Chicago down.
That would have been a nice out to have on the foul ball.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 sixth.
He started the seventh with a 4-1 lead and gave up leadoff homer to Lee. 4-2. He got Byrd to ground out for the second out before Soriano walked on four pitches. Fontenot and Castro singled back-to-back and the bases were loaded. Lefty Tyler Colvin hit for Koylie Hill. Blanton stayed in to pitch to him and Colvin hit a fly ball to center deep enough to score Soriano and move Fontenot to third with the score 4-3. Righty Xavier Nady hit for the pitcher Dempster and Blanton got him on a pop to short for the third out.
That’s a lot Blanton. Manuel kept him in to pitch to the lefty in the seventh with the bases loaded after the home run to Lee, after the four-pitch walk to Soriano and after the back-to-back singles. Castro didn’t hit the ball well, just a well-placed infield single. Still, that’s too long and the Phillies were lucky to get out of the inning with the lead.
Just to prove my point, Bastardo started the eighth inning and gave up a homer to the lefty Fukudome, tying the game at 4-4. Baez came in and got the next three hitters to finish the frame.
Contreras was on in the ninth to protect a 5-4 lead. Soriano led off and, with the count 3-2, Contreras hit him in the eleventh pitch of his at-bat. Fontenot was next and he worked the count full as well before he sent Soriano to third with a single. Contreras struck Castro out for the first out. Righty Aramis Ramirez hit for the pitcher John Grabow and Contreras struck him out swinging 3-2 as Fontenot stole second. Soto popped to Howard to end the game.
Quite a finish for Contreras, setting down three in a row and keeping the Cubs off the board after Chicago puts men on first and third with nobody out.
Contreras threw 31 pitches in the game. Baez 11 and Bastardo four.
Baez has allowed one run on eight hits and two walks over nine innings in his last nine appearances. It’s dropped his ERA on the year from 9.00 to 5.00.
The Phillies lineup against righty Ryan Dempster went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Rollins (6) Ibanez (7) Gload (8) Hoover. Werth on the bench against the tough righty with Gload in right. Hoover catches the day game after a night game. Rollins hits fifth in the lineup this time, with Victorino and Polanco still at the top of the order.
With two outs in the first, Utley homered to right on an 0-1 pitch to put the Phils up 1-0. Howard walked behind him but Rollins struck out to end the inning.
Ibanez started the second with a single. Gload flew to left and Hoover hit into a double-play.
Polanco reached on an infield single with two outs in the third, but Utley flew to center behind him.
Howard, Rollins and Ibanez went down on three fly balls in the fourth.
The Phils went in order in the fifth with the score tied at 1-1.
Polanco doubled to left with one out in the sixth and Utley walked behind him. Howard hit a fly ball to center deep enough for the runners to both move up a base. It put men on second and third with two outs for Rollins. Rollins got ahead 3-0 and blasted a pitch out to right for a three-run homer that put the Phillies on top 4-1. Ibanez struck out swinging to end the inning.
Score one for hitting Rollins down in the order. If you want to read more articles than you can imagine about Rollins getting a 3-0 green light, they’re out there waiting for you.
With lefty James Russell on the mound for the Cubs and the lead cut to 4-3, Francisco hit for Gload to start the seventh and singled to left. Hoover flew to right for the first out and Werth hit for Blanton. Righty Jeff Stevens came in to pitch to him and got Werth and Victorino on fly balls to leave Francisco stranded.
The game was tied at 4-4 when the Phils hit in the eighth. Polanco grounded to short for the first out. Lefty John Grabow came in to deal with Utley and Howard. He walked Utley and got Howard on a fly ball to left. Rollins drew a walk and it put men on first and second with two down for Ibanez. Ibanez singled to right and Utley slid in just ahead of the throw to put the Phils up 5-4. The Cubs might have had Utley at the plate with a great throw from Fukudome, but his throw came in on the first base side of the plate. With men on first and third, Castro hit for Baez and grounded to short.
Big hit for Ibanez against the lefty. He ended the day hitting 220/289/366 against lefties for the season. In 2009, he hit 285/359/639 against left-handed pitching.
Victorino was 0-for-4. He’s 1-for-his-last-12 and his on-base percentage is down to .308 for the year.
Polanco was 2-for-4 with a double. He’s 3-for-his-last-8 and slugging .506 in May.
Utley was 1-for-2 with his tenth home run and two walks. He’s 2-for-5 with three walks and a home run since missing the games with the flu.
Howard 0-for-3 with a walk and is hitting 342/400/479 in May but with just three home runs. He’s on pace to hit 28 home runs and walk 45 times.
Rollins 1-for-3 with a walk and a three-run homer. He’s hitting 342/458/658 in 38 at-bats for the year and is 4-for-15 with a double and a home run since coming off the DL.
Ibanez 2-for-4 with a big single and an RBI.
Gload 0-for-2. Francisco was 1-for-1 with a single, his first hit in May.
Cole Hamels (4-2, 4.29) faces righty John Lackey (4-2, 4.86) tonight in Philadelphia as the Phils play the first of three with Boston. Lackey has allowed 11 earned runs in 13 innings over his last two starts. He has walked 21 batters in 50 innings for the season. Hamels has been very good in two of his last three starts. Righties are still pounding him on the year, though. They are hitting 327/376/536 against him overall.