The Phils didn’t get a whole lot of offense last night, but they don’t need much to win these days. Cole Hamels gave the team its third fantastic start in a row as the Phils won for the sixth time in seven games.
Hamels struck out 13 while holding the Fish to a run over 6 2/3 innings and throwing 127 pitches. Since the start of August, the Phillies have gone 26-7 in the games started by their top four starters (Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels and Blanton). In those 33 games the four have combined to throw to a 2.42 ERA and 1.05 ratio while striking out 217 in 226 2/3 innings.
The back of the pen is faring rather well itself. Madson and Lidge combined to throw two more scoreless innings last night. Since the start of August they have combined to appear in 45 games, allowing three earned runs in 44 1/3 innings (0.61 ERA).
The little offense the Phils did get in the game came with a big assist from Shane Victorino, who continues to impress at the top of the order. Last night he went 2-for-4 with a double and a walk and scored both of the runs the Phils plated in the game. He led off the game with a single in the first and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double. He started the fifth with a double of his own and came in to score on a Jayson Werth ground out four batters later.
The Phillies are 85-61 on the season after beating the Florida Marlins 2-1 last night. They have extended their lead in the NL East to two games over the Braves. Atlanta is a game and a half ahead of the Giants for the Wild Card.
Hamels got the start for the Phils and went 6 2/3 innings, allowing a run on five hits and two walks. All five of the hits were singles and he struck out 13. Thirteen strikeouts is his high for the season. He also struck out 13 Florida batters on June 11, 2008.
He started the bottom of the first up 1-0. Emilio Bonifacio led off with a single. Logan Morrison was next and hit a ground ball to first with Howard throwing to Valdez to force Bonifacio at second for the first out. Hanley Ramirez singled into right and Bonifacio moved to third. Dan Uggla was next and he hit a ball in-between first and second that rolled slowly until Utley got to it on the grass in shallow right field. Morrison scored to tie the game at 1-1 and Ramirez took second. Gaby Sanchez flew to right for the second out and Mike Stanton struck out looking to end the inning.
Hamels allowed three singles in the inning. The ones hit by Uggla and Bonifacio were softly hit. Over the next 5 2/3 innings he would allow two singles and two walks while striking out 12.
The pitcher Adalberto Mendez singled with two outs in the second. Hamels got Bonifacio on a ground ball to second for the third out.
Uggla walked with two outs in the third and Hamels hit Morrison behind him. He struck Stanton out swinging 1-2 to leave both men stranded.
He struck out Wes Helms, Brad Davis and the pitcher Mendez in the fourth.
The Phils led 2-1 when he pitched the fifth. Morrison singled with one out, but Hamels got Ramirez on a pop to second and Uggla on a fly ball to center to leave him there.
He struck out Sanchez and Stanton to start the sixth before hitting Helms with a pitch. Davis struck out swinging to leave Helms at first.
He struck out pinch-hitter Hector Luna and Bonifacio to start the seventh before Morrison drew a walk. With the Phils still up 2-1 and Hamels having thrown 127 pitches, the Phils brought Durbin in to pitch to the right Ramirez. Durbin got Ramirez to line to short for the third out.
That’s four appearances in a row for Durbin in which he hasn’t been charged with a run, but he’s thrown just 1 2/3 innings in those appearances and faced just seven batters.
Madson started the eighth and Uggla led off with a single. Madson set Sanchez down on a pop up to second and struck Stanton out. It left Uggla on first with two down for lefty Chad Tracy, who pinch-hit for the righty Helms. Tracy drew a walk, but Madson got Davis on a ground ball to Utley to leave both men stranded.
Since July 9, Madson has appeared in 37 games for the Phils. In those games he’s thrown 36 1/3 innings with a 1.24 ERA and an 0.80 ratio and struck out 44. He has faced 141 batters and they have hit 171/230/225 against him.
Lidge was on in the ninth to protect a one-run lead. Lefty Scott Cousins hit for the pitcher and grounded back to the mound for the first out. Bonifacio fouled out to Ruiz and Morrison flew to center to end the game.
Lidge was pitching for the first time since September 6. He has allowed one earned run in 17 1/3 innings over his last 18 games (0.52 ERA) while striking out 18. Through July 31 he had faced 97 batters and allowed five home runs. Since July 31 he has not allowed a home run to the 64 batters that he has faced.
The Phillies lineup against righty Adalberto Mendez went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Werth (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. No changes there with Rollins sidelined, Valdez at short and Victorino hitting leadoff.
Victorino started the game with a single and came around to score when Polanco followed with a double to the gap in left-center. 1-0. Utley flew to center before Howard hit a ball that Uggla fielded in short right field. Uggla made a great play, nipping Howard to take away a hit as Polanco went to third. Werth drew a walk to put men on first and third, but Ibanez grounded to short to leave both men stranded.
Hamels singled to center with two outs in the second and the score tied at 1-1. Victorino flew to center to leave him there.
Utley and Howard walked back-to-back with one out in the third. Werth flew to right for the second out with Utley tagging and moving up to third. Ibanez flew to right to leave two more runners stranded.
Ruiz was hit by a pitch to start the fourth, but Valdez hit into a double-play behind him. Hamels grounded to second for the third out.
Victorino started the fifth with a double to right. Polanco walked behind him before Utley flew to right for the first out. Victorino and Polanco pulled off a double steal, but Howard walked anyway and the bases were loaded. Werth was next and chopped a ball to third. Helms fielded and went to first for the second out with everyone else moving up a base and Victorino scoring to put the Phils up 2-1. Righty Burke Badenhop walked Ibanez intentionally to load the bases and then struck Ruiz out to end the frame.
Valdez started the sixth with a single and Hamels bunted him to second with the first out. Victorino walked before Polanco flew to right for the second out. Utley grounded back to the pitcher to leave both men stranded.
Howard, Werth and Ibanez went in order in the seventh.
Valdez walked with one out in the eighth. Gload hit for Durbin and hit into a double-play.
Valdez 14, Moyer three in the walk competition. Moyer is going to have to get hot to Valdez is on-basing .360 over his last 25 plate appearances.
Utley walked with two outs in the ninth. He stole second and Howard was walked intentionally, allowing righty Clay Hensley to face the righty Werth. Hensley struck Werth out swinging for the third out.
Victorino was 2-for-4 with a walk and a double in the game. He scored both of the Phillie runs. 432/488/595 over his last eight games.
Polanco was 1-for-4 with a double and an RBI. He’s 5-for-his-last-27.
Utley was 0-for-3, walked twice and left five men on base.
Howard 0-for-2 with three walks. He had a hit and an RBI stolen from him in the first. He’s 3-for-14 since homering three days in a row.
Werth was 0-for-4 with a walk and an RBI. He’s 2-for-his-last-16 with a walk.
Ibanez 0-for-3 with a walk and four men left on base.
Valdez was 1-for-3 with a walk. Rollins left the game on September 8 and Valdez took over at short. Since then he has gone 7-for-23 with two doubles and a walk (304/360/391).
Roy Halladay (18-10, 2.44) faces righty Jorge Sosa (2-2, 5.82) tonight. Halladay has gone at least seven innings in ten straight starts and the Phils are 8-2 in those games. He has waked 28 batters in 228 2/3 innings on the season. Sosa will be making his first start since 2007. Lefties have hit 286/372/571 against him for the season.
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