The Phillies came into the sixth inning of yesterday’s game with the Brewers down 3-0 and having failed to score in 17 straight innings. Things got better from there, though. Polanco delivered an enormous swing of the bat, a three-run homer off of Chris Narveson, and Victorino added a solo shot in the eighth. The bullpen held and the Phils salvaged a game in the three-game set with a 4-3 win.
The offense is still a big cause of concern. The Phils have managed to go 5-4 in their last nine games, but haven’t scored more than four runs in any of them. They’ve managed to plate just 27 runs over their last nine games — that’s not going to be enough, no matter who you’ve got pitching.
The Phillies are 11-6 on the year after beating the Milwaukee Brewers 4-3 yesterday.
Lee started the game for the Phils and went six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and a walk. Only two of the runs were earned. Two of the hits went for extra-bases, a double and a home run. He struck out one.
His quality start gave the Phils eight in their last ten games.
He got Rickie Weeks on a fly ball to center to start the game. Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun followed with back-to-back singles, putting men on first and third for Prince Fielder. Fielder hit a ball back up the middle that Valdez gloved to keep in the infield, but that was it. Fielder had an infield single, Gomez scored from third to put Milwaukee up 1-0 and Braun moved to second. Casey McGehee lined to first for the second out and Yuniesky Betancourt popped to Howard in foul territory for the third.
Lee set the Brewers down in order in the second, getting Erick Almonte on a ground ball to second, Jonathan Lucroy on a popup to Howard in foul territory and pitcher Chris Narveson on a ground ball to second.
Lee got the first two to start the third inning before Braun hit a ball to Valdez that Valdez didn’t handle for an error. Fielder followed that with a double to center that scored Braun and extended the Brewer lead to 2-0. McGehee was next and singled into right, but Francisco charged and his throw home was cut by Howard. McGehee was caught in between first and second and tagged out for the third out.
Second time in two games that McGehee gives up an out on the bases as the get-caught-between-first-and-second-so-Fielder-can-score thing apparently works better when someone other than Fielder is running. Howard made a heads up play for the first out. Weeks hit a soft ground ball that looked like it was going to roll foul. Weeks didn’t run, but Howard waited just in front of the bag, picked it up just fair and tagged the base for the first out.
Lee again got the first two to start the fourth, but Lucroy was next and hit a 1-1 pitch out to left. 3-0. Narveson lined a single to left before Weeks struck out looking 0-2 to end the frame.
Fielder singled to center with one out in the fifth, but Lee got McGehee to fly to center to leave him at first.
He got the first two outs in the sixth before walking Lucroy on four pitches. Narveson grounded softly to third for the third out.
Francisco made a nice play in right, battling the sun to retire Almonte for the second out.
Kendrick pitched the seventh with the score tied at 3-3 and set the Brewers down in order on three fly balls.
Madson started the eighth with the game still tied and walked the leadoff batter fielder on a 3-2 pitch. Madson got McGehee to pop to Howard for the first out, but Betancourt followed that with a single to left that moved Fielder to second. Almonte struck out swinging 1-2 and Lucroy looking 1-2.
Contreras started the ninth with a 4-3 lead. He struck Kotsay out on three pitches to start the inning, but Weeks lined a single into left and it brought Gomez to the plate as the go-ahead run. Gomez looped a 3-1 pitch that looked like it was going to drop in shallow right field, but Valdez made a running over-the-shoulder catch for the second out. Braun was next and struck out swinging 3-2 to end the game.
The Valdez play saves the day. Contreras keeps putting up zeros.
Three scoreless innings for the pen and the Phils win by a run. Madson threw 21 pitches in the game, Contreras 15 and Kendrick nine.
The Phillies lineup against lefty Chris Narveson went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Rollins (4) Howard (5) Francisco (6) Mayberry (7) Ruiz (8) Valdez. Francisco back in right after Mayberry started there in game two. Ibanez gets the day off against the lefty with Mayberry in left. Ruiz starts the day game after a night game cause the night game was a blowout that featured a lot of Brian Schneider catching for the Phils. Four righties in a row for the Phils five through eight in the order.
Down 1-0, the Phils went in order in the bottom of the first.
Howard, Francisco and Mayberry all grounded out in the second.
The Phils were down 2-0 when they went in order in the third.
Down 3-0, Victorino walked to start the fourth. Polanco was next and hit a ball to third. McGehee made a fantastic play to start a double-play that cleared the bases. Rollins flew to center for the third out.
Howard and Francisco went down to start the fifth before Mayberry doubled into the left field corner. Ruiz lined to a jumping Weeks to leave Mayberry at second.
Valdez walked on five pitches to start the sixth. Martinez was the only non-lefty available on the bench to pinch-hit for Lee, and the switch-hitter did. Lee had thrown 94 pitches in the game. Martinez flew to left for the first out. It brought Victorino up and he hit a dribbler that somehow made it into right for a single, sending Valdez to third. Polanco hit a 1-2 pitch just out to left for a three-run homer that tied the game at 3-3. Rollins flew to center for the second out.
Huge swing for Polanco. Victorino’s hit was ridiculous, but it got the Phils a run. I think you should hit for Lee there. Martinez shouldn’t be the best option you have on your bench to hit against a lefty.
Righty Brandon Kintzler started the seventh for Milwaukee. He struck out Ruiz and Valdez to start the inning. Ibanez hit for Kendrick and struck out looking 0-2.
Kintzler was back to start the eighth and Victorino led off with a home run to right center that put the Phils up 4-3. Polanco and Rollins both grounded out behind him and lefty Mitch Stetter came in to pitch to Howard. Howard lofted a ball that fell just barely fair in left for a double. Righty Kameron Loe came in to pitch to Francisco and got him on a grounder to third to end the inning.
First extra-base hit for Howard since April 12 against the Nats. He didn’t exactly smoke the ball.
Victorino was 2-for-3 with a walk and a home run in the game. 4-for-13 with a double and a home run in the series. He’s hitting 324/370/515 for the year, which is a lot for a team that has a three-hitter with one RBI through the first 17 games.
Polanco went 1-for-4 with an enormous three-run homer yesterday. 3-for-12 with the homer and two walks in the series. 352/403/493 for the year (which is also a lot for a team that has a three-hitter with one RBI through 17 games).
Rollins was 0-for-4 yesterday and 1-for-12 with a walk in the series. 261/320/319 for the year. 200/234/289 over his last 47 plate appearances. 248/305/401 in 1,194 plate appearances since the end of 2008.
Howard was 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. 3-for-11 with a double and two walks in the series. 158/261/289 over his last 46 plate appearances. 286/351/508 for the year.
Francisco was 1-for-4 in the game. 1-for-11 in the series. 242/309/371 for the year. I still think he’ll be fine over enough at-bats. He’s not fine now, though, 5-for-his-last-34 with five singles. 184/259/265 since going 6-for-13 against Houston the first series of the year.
Mayberry was 1-for-3 with a double in the game and 1-for-6 with a walk in the series. 333/412/400 for the season (5-for-15 with a double and two walks). Ibanez went 0-for-1 yesterday and was 1-for-9 with a walk in the set to drop his line for the year to 219/286/297. 171/209/195 over his last 43 plate appearances. He has struck out more often that Howard this season — 18 strikeouts in 70 plate appearances for Ibanez and 15 in 70 plate appearances for Howard.
Ruiz was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. 0-for-8 with a walk in the series. 1-for-his-last-15 and hitting 269/339/442 for the season.
Valdez was 0-for-2 with a walk yesterday, an error and a huge defensive play in the ninth. 1-for-9 with a walk in the series. 286/340/347 for the year. He’s 5-for-his-last-25.
Oswalt (2-0, 2.50) faces righty Mat Latos (0-2, 5.84) late tonight in San Diego. Latos has made two starts on the year and was hit hard by the Astros his last time out, allowing five runs in 6 1/3 innings. He’s given up three home runs in 12 1/3 innings on the season. Oswalt has been solid in each of his three starts on the year. He left his most recent start with a back problem in the seventh inning.