You shouldn’t count on winning when you score three runs, especially when you have just about the worst bullpen in the National League, but the Phillies figured out how to get it done last night and beat the Dodgers 3-2 behind a strong effort from Joe Blanton.
Home runs from Rollins and Howard helped the Phils to an early 3-0 lead. Blanton mowed LA down through the first five innings before the Dodgers got a run in the sixth and another in the seventh. Blanton came back to throw a 1-2-3 eighth and Papelbon kept LA off the board in the ninth.
Third straight win for the Phillies. They have now gotten a quality start in five straight games and the starters have thrown to a 2.60 ERA in those games. Prior to this stretch they had not gotten more than two quality starts in a row since May 18.
The game featured the first home run of the year for Ryan Howard, who’s still just 3-for-20 on the season. Shane Victorino, miserable at the plate this year, delivered with the bat for the third straight day, going 3-for-4 with another triple. He’s 6-for-12 over the last three games and he and Rollins are providing suddenly providing a spark at the top of the lineup for a Phillies team desperate for wins.
The Phillies are 40-51 on the year after beating the LA Dodgers 3-2 last night. They have won three in a row and remain in last place in the NL East, 13 games behind the first place Nationals.
Blanton got the start for the Phillies and went eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits, five singles and a double. He didn’t walk a batter and struck out seven. Three of his last four starts have been pretty good.
He threw a 1-2-3 first.
Up 1-0, he set the Dodgers down in order in the second.
The Phillies were up 2-0 when he started the third. Blanton got Luis Cruz on a ground ball to short for the first out before AJ Ellis singled to left on a ball deflected by Rollins. The pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was next and tried to bunt, but struck out looking at a 1-2 pitch for the second out. Jerry Hairston lined to first to end the inning.
The Phils led 3-0 when Blanton started the fourth. Mark Ellis led off and singled into center. Matt Kemp flew to center for the first out before Andre Ethier moved Ellis up to third with a single to right. Juan Rivera was next and he hit a ground ball to third. Polanco fielded and threw home where Ruiz tagged out Ellis for the second out. With men on first and second and two down, Blanton struck James Loney out looking 2-2 to end the inning.
Blanton keeps LA off the board after they put runners on the corners with one out. Strikes out the lefty Loney with two men on to end the inning.
Blanton set the Dodgers down in order. Righty Juan Uribe hit for the pitcher Eovaldi and flew to center for the third out.
Hairston doubled to center to start the sixth. Ellis was next and hit a ball to Utley. Utley fielded and threw to first, but Howard didn’t handle the throw for an error that left LA with runners on first and third and nobody out. Kemp was next and he grounded into a double-play. Hairston scored from third to cut the lead to 3-1. Blanton got Ethier on a fly ball to right to set LA down.
Very strange error on Howard. The ball was chopped in-between first and second. Utley moved right to get the ball and threw to first in the air, but Howard just didn’t catch it. The ball seemed to hang between his glove and wrist for a split second and fell to the ground.
Rivera and Loney singled back-to-back to start the seventh, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Cruz hit a ball handled by Blanton and Blanton threw to second to force Loney for the first out. With runners on first and third, Blanton struck Ellis out swinging 1-2 for the second out. Lefty Bobby Abreu hit for the pitcher Tolleson and Blanton’s first pitch to Abreu was in the first and through Ruiz’s legs. Rivera scored from third, cutting the lead to 3-2, and Cruz took second. Blanton flew to center to leave Cruz at second.
Second defensive misplay for the Phils in two innings. Howard doesn’t catch the throw from Utley in the sixth and the ball goes through Ruiz with a runner on third. Both runs were earned, but Blanton did a nice job working around both of the miscues.
Blanton threw a 1-2-3 eighth with a one-run lead.
He threw 110 pitches in the game, including 15 in the bottom of the eighth. The bottom of the eighth ended with Blanton striking Kemp out swinging 1-2. If you see Blanton facing Matt Kemp in a one-run game in the eighth inning when he’s already thrown 105 pitches in the game it’s probably a good sign there’s not a whole lot of faith in the bullpen.
Papelbon started the ninth. Rivera singled with one out and Tony Gwynn ran for him at first. Loney grounded to second for the second out with Gwynn moving up to second. The lefty Adam Kennedy hit for the righty Cruz and Gwynn stole third. Kennedy got ahead in the count, but popped a 2-0 pitch up to Utley to end the game.
Third appearance in a row for Papelbon in which he has not been charged with a run coming off a string where he allowed runs in four of five outings. He was also coming off of an outing on Saturday where he went 1 2/3 innings. He threw 18 pitches last night.
The Phillies lineup against righty Nathan Eovaldi went (1) Rollins (2) Victorino (3) Utley (4) Howard (5) Ruiz (6) Pence (7) Pierre (8) Polanco. Pierre hits seventh against the righty with Victorino hitting second despite miserable numbers against righties. Polanco at third against the righty with the lefty Fontenot on the bench.
Victorino reached on an error by the shortstop Cruz with one out in the top of the first, but Utley hit into a double-play behind him.
Ruiz doubled to left with one out in the second. Pence struck out for the second out before Pierre singled to right center, scoring Ruiz to put the Phils up 1-0. Polanco grounded to short for the third out.
With one out in the second, Rollins hit a 3-2 pitch out to right. 2-0. Victorino followed with a single and moved up to second when Utley grounded out for the second out. Eovaldi delivered a 2-2 pitch to Howard, which was taken for ball three, but Ellis threw to second where Victorino was way off base between second and third and tagged out to set the Phillies down.
Howard hit the first pitch of the fourth inning out to left, putting the Phils up 3-0. Ruiz and Pence walked back-to-back, putting two men on for Pierre. Pierre flew to Ethier at the wall in right and Polanco hit into a double-play behind him.
Good demo of why you don’t want to get picked off of second base with Howard at the plate. Phils didn’t have a lot of runs to give away in this one.
Victorino tripled to left with two outs in the fifth, but Utley lined out to first behind him.
Third triple for Victorino in three games. He will lead the league in triples if he continues at this pace. Tied for sixth right now. Dexter Fowler leads the NL with nine.
Righty Shawn Tolleson set the Phillies down in order in the sixth. The lead was cut to 3-1 when Tolleson set the Phils down in order in the seventh.
It was 3-2 when lefty Scott Elbert walked Rollins to start the eighth. Victorino moved Rollins up to second with a single. Utley popped to short for the first out and Howard hit into a double-play behind him.
Nothing for the Phils after putting men on first and second with nobody out.
Righty Ronald Belisario struck out Ruiz, Pence and Mayberry in order in the ninth.
Mayberry is hitting 205/265/270 in 132 plate appearances against righties for the year.
Rollins was 1-for-3 with a walk and a home run. 10-for-his-last-30 with four walks and six extra-base hits. 304/357/585 over his last 185 plate appearances, which started on May 29. Coming into the game on May 29, he was hitting 230/286/286 on the year over his first 215 plate appearances.
Victorino 3-for-4 with a triple. 6-for-12 with a walk, a double and three triples over the last three games.
Utley was 0-for-4 and left five men on base. He’s 6-for-his-last-33 (.182) with no walks.
Howard 1-for-4 with a home run and an error. 3-for-20 on the year.
Ruiz 1-for-3 with a walk and a double. 8-for-his-last-19 with three doubles and a home run. He’s on-basing .413 for the year, but his walk rate is way down. Coming into the season he had walked in about 11.1% of his plate appearances for his career. This season he has walked in about 5.6% of them. If he’s going to keep slugging .600 (okay, .596) I think it’s a fine plan.
Pence was 0-for-3 with a walk and struck out three times. He’s 1-for-his-last-18 with nine strikeouts.
Pierre 1-for-3 with an RBI. He also hit a ball to the wall in right in the fourth. He’s 4-for-his-last-6.
Polanco 0-for-3 and left three men on base. He’s 3-for-his-last-32 (.094) with a walk and three singles.
Halladay (4-5, 3.98) returns tonight against a Dodger pitcher TBD. Halladay threw to a 1.95 ERA over his five April starts, then went 1-3 with a 6.11 ERA in May as opponents hit .312 against him. Righty John Ely (NR) is a popular guess for the LA pitcher. Ely made five appearances for the Dodgers in 2011, including one start. 8-6 with a 3.22 ERA and a 1.18 ratio in the PCL in 18 starts in 2012.