It has been a magical season for the Phillies so far in 2011. But not for everyone. Several key players have struggled overall despite the amazing success of the team. Last night two of the guys who have struggled made enormous contributions as the Phils topped the Braves 3-2 on a walkoff single by Gload to complete a three-game sweep.
Oswalt threw seven strong innings in the game for the Phils, throwing in the low 90′s coming off of two worrisome starts in a row. Coming into the outing, Oswalt had thrown to a 4.79 ERA over his last seven outings. He looked great last night, though, especially early as he started the game tossing five shutout innings in which he struck out six.
The Phils hit in the bottom of the ninth with the game knotted at 2-2. With one man out and men on first and second, Manuel called on Gload to hit against righty Peter Moylan and Gload delivered in a big way, ripping a ball down the right field line for a game-winner. It was a huge hit for Gload in a season where he has been slowed by a hip injury — he came into last night’s game just 5-for-his-last-39.
The Phillies are 91-48 after beating the Atlanta Braves 3-2 last night. With the win the Phils complete the three-game sweep of Atlanta and extend their lead over the Braves in the NL East to 10 1/2 games. They are 43 games above .500 for the first time in the history of the organization.
Oswalt got the start for the Phillies and went seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits and four walks. One of the hits went for extra-bases, a double. He struck out seven. Two of his last four starts have been very good.
Oswalt got Michael Bourn on a ground ball to second for the first out of the game. Martin Prado was next and hit a ball to short that Martinez muffed for an error. It put a man on first for Chipper Jones, but Chipper hit a ball back to the mound and Oswalt went to second as the Phils turned two.
Oswalt walked Brian McCann on a 3-2 pitch to start the second. He struck Dan Uggla out swinging for the first out and got Eric Hinske to fly to left for the second. Jason Heyward walked 3-2, though, and the Braves had runners on first and second for Alex Gonzalez. Oswalt struck him out on three pitches, getting him swinging to leave both runners stranded.
Oswalt started the third with a 1-0 lead. He struck out the pitcher Brandon Beachy for the first out and Michael Bourn for the second. Prado grounded to short to end the frame.
Oswalt struck Uggla and McCann both out swinging in a 1-2-3 fourth.
He walked Heyward with one out in the fifth. Gonzalez flew to right for the second out. Beachy hit a ground ball to short. Martinez fielded and looked to flip to Utley for the force, but Utley was already headed for the dugout. Martinez beat Heyward to second for the force to end the frame.
Bourn doubled to center to start the sixth. Prado tried to bunt him to third, but popped it up to Oswalt for the first out. Chipper was next and he singled into center, scoring Bourn to tie the game at 1-1. Oswalt struck McCann out for the second out before walking Uggla. Hinske popped out to Polanco in foul territory to leave both runners stranded.
Heyward started the seventh with a single to center and Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Freeman was next and he singled into center, scoring Heyward to put Atlanta up 2-1. Bourn and Prado both flew to right to leave Freeman at first.
Bastardo started the eighth and Chipper singled to center to start the inning. McCann walked behind Jones, putting men on first and second for Uggla. Uggla hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded, stepped on third and threw to second to complete a double-play that left the Braves with two down and a man on first. Righty Matt Diaz hit for the pitcher Eric O’Flaherty and flew to right on a ball that Pence took in foul territory for the third out.
Bastardo keeps the Braves off the board with the help of the big double-play by Polanco, but doesn’t look fantastic. This comes off of his most recent outing on Saturday in which he walked the only two hitters he faced, so four of the last six batters he has faced in his last two outings have reached on three walks and a single. On the plus side, he does have a 1.66 ERA for the year and opponents are hitting .114 against him.
Madson pitched the ninth with the game tied at 2-2. Heyward led off with an infield single and Gonzalez bunted him to second with the first out. Freeman popped to short for the second and Bourn grounded to short to end the frame.
Madson has thrown 7 1/3 shutout innings over his last eight appearances. He was pitching for the second straight day and threw 11 pitches in the game. Bastardo threw 16 pitches.
The Phillies lineup against righty Brandon Beachy went (1) Victorino (2) Polanco (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Pence (6) Ibanez (7) Ruiz (8) Martinez. Martinez at short with Rollins sidelined.
The Phils went in order in the first.
Howard and Pence both struck out to start the second, but Ibanez was next and he hit a 3-2 pitch out to right-center, putting the Phils up 1-0. Ruiz flew to right for the third out.
Martinez and Victorino struck out as the Phils went in order in the third.
Beachy set them down 1-2-3 again in the fourth.
Pence struck out for the first out as the Phils went in order again in the fifth.
The game was tied at 1-1 when the Phillies hit in the sixth. Victorino walked on four pitches with two outs and moved to third when Polanco followed with a single to right. Lefty Eric O’Flaherty took over for Beachy and hit Utley on the helmet with a pitch, loading the bases. Howard struck out swinging at a 2-2 pitch to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
The original ruling was that Heyward had caught Polanco’s sinking line drive to right, but that was overruled and Fredi Gonzalez was ejected arguing. Looked like the ball was trapped by Heyward.
Down 2-1, the Phils went in order in the seventh.
With lefty Jonny Venters on the mound for the Braves, Mayberry hit for Martinez to start the eighth and singled to right. Valdez hit for Bastardo and bunted Mayberry to second with the first out. Victorino struck out swinging for the second out, but Polanco lined a single to right. Mayberry raced around third and came in to score as Heyward’s throw was way up the third base line, tying the game at 2-2. Francisco hit for Utley, who had been hit in the head with a pitch in the sixth, and drew a walk. Howard struck out swinging to leave the runners at first and second.
Big strikeout for Victorino after Mayberry gets bunted to second, but Polanco picks him up with the RBI-single.
Ibanez walked with one out in the ninth and moved to second when Ruiz followed with a single. With righty Peter Moylan on the mound for the Braves, Gload hit for Madson. He got behind 0-2, but hit a 1-2 pitch past Freeman and down the right field line. Would have been a double, but Ibanez scored to give the Phils a 3-2 win.
Victorino was 0-for-3 with a walk and three strikeouts. 2-for-11 with three walks in the three-game series. 300/379/523 for the year. 196/305/314 over his last 59 plate appearances. He’s high on the list of Phillies who look to me like they could use some rest.
Polanco 2-for-4 with a huge RBI. 5-for-12 in the series and twice hit by a pitch. 278/333/336 on the year. 236/293/270 in 329 plate appearances since the end of April.
Utley 0-for-2 and hit by a pitch. This says that Utley will not fly to Milwaukee. 3-for-12 with a triple and a home run in the series. 262/344/441 for the year. 206/264/363 over his last 110 plate appearances.
Howard was 0-for-4, struck out three times and left five men on base. 3-for-10 with three walks and a home run in the series. 262/368/570 over his last 125 plate appearances with ten home runs. He’s hitting 252/345/491 for the season.
Pence 0-for-4 and struck out twice. 4-for-11 with a walk and two doubles in the series. 308/363/484 for the year. 308/383/523 in 149 plate appearances with the Phillies. He’s now hit to the same .308 average with the Astros and the Phillies, but gotten on base more and hit with more power while with the Phils.
Ibanez 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run, which was the only extra-base hit of the game for the Phils (Gload was denied a double by winning the thing). 4-for-7 with a double, a walk, a home run and four RBI in the series after sitting against a righty in game one. He’s at 247/293/426 for the year. He’s walking in about 6.2% of his plate appearances this season, which is his worst rate since 1998.
Ruiz 1-for-4. 2-for-8 with a walk and two RBI in the series. 280/373/382 for the year. He’s hitting .250 at home and .309 on the road. He’s on-based .377 over his last 1,214 plate appearances.
Martinez 0-for-2 with a strikeout and an error. 0-for-7 with two walks in the series. 209/259/308 for the year.
Cole Hamels (13-7, 2.63) faces lefty Chris Narveson (10-6, 4.26) tonight in Milwaukee. Narveson has pitched well over his last seven outings, throwing to a 2.70 ERA. He hasn’t gone more than 5 1/3 innings in any of his last three starts. Hamels hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his last seven starts. His home runs are up a little of late — he allowed two in his last start and has given up four over his past 33 innings. He only allowed eight in 152 innings to start the season.