There wasn’t much about yesterday’s game that was pretty except that the Phillies found a way to win. The Phils are suddenly hot. They came into their four-game set with the Rockies having lost six of eight and come out having won five in a row.
Joe Blanton pitched pretty well yesterday and got a welcome early hook. The Phils scratched out five runs in the game, scoring three times in a second inning that saw the Rockies make two errors and misplay a ball hit in the gap in left-center in a three-batter span. The game was most memorable, though, for the scare Brad Lidge gave us all in the ninth. He entered with a 5-2 lead and allowed a two-run homer that had the Rockies within a run. The next three Colorado hitters all reached to load the bases before he got Ryan Spilborghs on a ground ball back to the mound to end the game.
Lidge was pitching for the second straight day after throwing 30 pitches the day before. It’s been a rough stretch for him, though. Opponents are on-basing .471 against him over his last seven appearances, which is going to make it tough to be successful.
The Phils are 53-46 on the season after being the Colorado Rockies 5-4 yesterday afternoon, completing a sweep of a four-game series. The Phillies have won five in a row.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits and three walks. All six of the hits were singles and he struck out two. His ERA is at 5.85 — under six for the first time since the end of May.
He walked Jonathan Herrera with one out in the first and Carlos Gonzalez moved Herrera to second with a single. Jason Giambi was next and he lined a single into center. Herrera scored to make it 1-0 with one down and men on first and second. Ryan Spilborghs followed that with a single to left. Gonzalez scored from second (2-0) and Giambi went to second. Blanton got Ian Stewart to ground into a double-play to end the frame.
Miguel Olivo singled to start the second for Colorado, but Blanton got the next three hitters behind him.
Blanton started the third with a 3-2 lead. Gonzalez singled with one out and stole second. Giambi followed that with a walk, putting men on first and second with one down. Spilborghs was next and hit a ground ball to short. Rollins handled that, going to second to force Giambi for the second out. Stewart lined to short to leave the runners stranded on first and third.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 fourth, getting a nice play by Polanco on a ball hit hard by Clint Barmes for the second out.
He got two ground balls and struck out pitcher Jason Hammel in a 1-2-3 fifth.
Blanton walked Giambi on four pitches to start the sixth. Spilborghs followed that with a single into center and the Rocks had men on first and second with nobody out. Stewart was next and Blanton got him to hit into a double-play again before Olivo flew to center to set Colorado down.
Second time in the game that Blanton had gotten Stewart to hit into a rally-thwarting double-play.
Durbin started the seventh with the Phils up 5-2 and Werth in right. He got the first two before Seth Smith doubled to left. Durbin got Herrera to fly to left to leave him stranded.
Romero pitched the eighth with Valdez at second and Polanco moved to third. He walked Spilborghs with two outs. Stewart grounded to second for the third out.
And then came Lidge, pitching on back-to-back days. Miguel Olivo led off with a double to right. Righty Melvin Mora hit for righty Clint Barmes. Mora grounded to third for the first out with Olivo holding first. Lefty Brad Hawpe hit for the pitcher and fouled out to Polanco for the second out. Sure looked like the game was over, but the lefty Smith hit an 0-1 pitch out to right, cutting the lead to 5-4. Lidge walked Herrera and Gonzalez moved him to second with another single. With the lefty Giambi at the plate, a wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third. Lidge put Giambi on intentionally to pitch to the righty Spilborghs with the bases loaded. Spilborghs hit a 1-1 pitch to the left of the mound. Lidge fielded and made a strong throw to first to end the game.
Lidge, Durbin and Romero were all pitching for the second straight day. Lidge threw 34 pitches after throwing 30 in game three, Durbin 21 and Romero 13.
The Phillies lineup against righty Jason Hammel went (1) Rollins (2) Polanco (3) Ibanez (4) Howard (5) Gload (6) Victorino (7) Dobbs (8) Schneider. Gload in right with Werth on the bench. Gload was 3-for-3 with a double, a homer and a walk in the first three games of the series. Polanco plays second for the third straight game with Dobbs getting his turn at third against the righty and Ransom on the bench. Schneider catches. Great to see Polanco at second base with Dobbs and Ransom at third rather than Valdez at second.
The Phillies were down 2-0 when they hit in the bottom of the first. Ibanez walked with two outs, but Howard struck out swinging behind him.
Gload singled to right to start the second. Victorino struck out behind him, but Dobbs sent him to third with a double. Schneider was next and he hit a ball to left center. Gonzalez and Smith went all Keystone Cops on it — Gonzalez tried to backhand the ball after it dropped but missed and ran into Smith, falling down and allowing Schneider to go to third with a two-run triple that tied the game at 2-2. Blanton was next and hit a ball that was fielded by the pitcher Hammel, but Giambi didn’t handle the throw from Hammel and Blanton was safe with Schneider holding third. Rollins was next and hit a ball to Giambi and Giambi threw it away trying to get Blanton at second for his second error in two plays. Schneider scored to make it 3-2 with men on first and second with one out. Polanco popped to the shortstop for the second out and Ibanez struck out to leave the runners stranded.
Rollins fouled a ball off the top of his foot in his at-bat, but stayed in the game.
Not that impressive an inning defensively for the Rockies.
Victorino singled to center with two outs in the third. He stole second before Dobbs struck out swinging to end the inning.
Blanton and Rollins struck out as the Phils went in order in the fourth.
Polanco started the fifth with a single. Ibanez flew to left for the first out before Polanco took second on a wild pitch. Howard went on to walk, putting men on first and second, before Gload struck out looking 0-2. Victorino flew to left for the third out.
Dobbs singled to start the sixth and Schneider walked behind him. With the righty Hammel still pitching for Colorado, Ransom hit for Blanton and bunted the runners to second and third with the first out. Rollins popped out to Barmes for the second out, by Polanco picked him up with a single to right. Dobbs scored (4-2) and Schneider took third. Lefty Randy Flores came in to pitch to Ibanez, but Ibanez singled to left and Schneider came in to make it 5-2. Howard struck out for the third out.
Different approach with Blanton this time, pulled for a pinch-hitter after throwing six innings and 85 pitches. Dobbs and Schneider get the rally started at the bottom of the order. Big no-RBI for Rollins, but Polanco and Ibanez pick him up with two-out hits. Ransom comes through in a chance off the bench against a righty.
The Phils went in order in the seventh.
With righty Taylor Buchholz on the mound for Colorado and one out in the eighth, Francisco hit for Romero and walked. Rollins and Polanco went down behind him.
Rollins was 0-for-5 with an RBI in the game. 7-for-18 with a double, a triple and a walk in the series. He’s hitting 244/335/393 for the season.
Polanco 2-for-5 with an RBI. 5-for-18 with a double and a walk. 317/348/435 on the year.
Ibanez was 1-for-3 with a walk and an RBI. 6-for-13 in the series with two doubles, a home run and two walks. 257/340/410 on the season. He has hit 315/383/466 in July.
Howard was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. 3-for-14 with a triple, three walks and six strikeouts in the series. He’s at 300/361/538 on the year.
Gload 1-for-3 with a strikeout. 4-for-7 with a walk, a double and a home run in the series. 278/313/478 for the season. Werth was 0-for-1 in the game and 5-for-10 with two doubles and four walks in the series. 285/378/505.
Victorino 1-for-4 with a strikeout yesterday. 1-for-12 with a walk in the series. 248/309/438 on the year. He has walked twice in July and is hitting .234 and on-basing .250 for the month.
Dobbs 2-for-4 with a double. 3-for-7 with a double and a walk in the series. 216/278/362 for the year, but it’s better than it sounds. Dobbs came into July hitting 153/228/236 for the season and has posted a 318/362/568 line in 44 at-bats in July. Ransom was 0-for-3 in the series and is 5-for-28 with the Phils this year.
Schneider was 1-for-3 with a walk and a triple. 1-for-6 with two walks in the series. 235/330/400 for the season. Ruiz was 1-for-7 with a walk in the series and is hitting 267/384/364 for the year. He’s 15-for-70 (.214) since the end of May.
Cole Hamels (7-7, 3.40) faces righty Rodrigo Lopez (5-9, 4.58) tonight as the Phils play the first of three with Arizona in Philly. Hamels has allowed one run in his last three starts, allowing 15 hits and six walks in 22 1/3 innings (0.40 ERA and an 0.94 ratio). The former Phil Lopez has allowed 24 home runs in 129 2/3 innings this season. Lefties are hitting 284/333/498 against him.